Choosing high shear mixing machine can be overwhelming without the right information.
You can only get the full benefits of high shear mixing equipment by investing in high quality, reliable, safe, energy efficient equipment.
In this guide, you are going to learn the fundamental
Chapter 1: What is High Shear Mixer?
High shear mixer is an electro-mechanical equipment that uses rotary motion and actions to mix fluids and solid material.
Under normal circumstances, such materials are usually immiscible.
The machine basically mixes and granulates the material before it is homogenized and humidified. The materials are of different types and are mixed until you achieve the required solid or solution end product.
The pharmaceutical end products include granules and emulsions together with suspensions and dispersions.
At times, you may refer to these machines as:
- High shear reactors
- High shear homogenizers
Chapter 2: Functions of High Shear Mixing Machine
The high shear mixers uses are anchored on:
- Grinding, and
Of course, all these are material processing techniques.
In short, with this machine, you can blend many product grades. The product you get after high shear mixing can be a final or used for other processes.
At the same time, the machine’s efficiency depends on:
- Material properties
- Machine specifications such as high shear blade, high shear rpm, machine configuration, etc.
Although the machine plays a fundamental role most industries, it is worth noting:
- Possibility of material degradation – this is critical when processing thermolabilebile or fragile powder. Therefore, a proper understanding of material properties and machine configuration will guarantee safe mixing.
- Operation range in high shear mixing equipment tends to be narrow. Consequently, it limits the material processing options.
- When producing granules, be careful of over wetting. This may produce less compressible granules.
Chapter 3: Benefits of High Shear Mixing Equipment
Here are some reasons why you should consider investing in this machine:
· Resistant To Rust and Corrosion
The construction of the high shear mixer is majorly composed of high grade stainless steel. This is from the motor to all other contact parts like the drive and the mix head.
It ensures the durability of the mixer.
· Easy To Install
The Mixer is not as complex as the name would suggest. In fact, you can actually carry out the entire installation on your own.
Their retrofit design ensures they can easily be fitted anywhere fittingly. It also uses up very minimal space since it has a compact design.
· Energy Efficient
The mixer gives excellent products while consuming minimal energy. The shear energy it produces is usually very high despite the little electricity required.
This is unlike any standard homogenizer or mixers which use rotor-stator mills.
The machine can handle many material processing such as homogenizing, emulsification, granulation and size reduction.
By example, you can use it to mill drug suspensions.
You can also use it in ophthalmic products by using it to add submicron emulsions. This is in addition to processing formulations for derma-care and antibiotics.
· Varying Capacity Production
They come in varying production capacities – small scale, high capacity, continuous to batch high shear mixing and granulation.
Time is very crucial in processing and it will be reduced significantly.
This eliminates the time you would spend halting the process to fill up new material content.
· Reduced Particle Size
The process energy generated by the mixer is extremely high. This has the effect of finely grinding the material content into a refined homogenous product.
As a bonus, your processing time is also massively reduced. Your products can be ready in minimum processing time.
· Low Operational Costs
The sole purpose of your venture is to maximize profits by lowering costs. There are many ways these material processing machine can cut cost.
A single cycle can easily give you your desired particle size rapidly in the least process time.
At the end of it all, your output per process cycle increases. The operational costs are thus lowered.
· Easy Maintenance
Applications of the mixer are pretty much optimized based on their design. This means that the usual servicing is basically what you will require to do if all systems run efficiently.
The fact that it is automated makes trouble shooting much easier. Automation also greatly reduces the chances of mechanical breakdowns.
· Sanitary and Safety Standards
Processing Pharmaceuticals requires strict adherence to sanitary and safety standards to avoid contamination. It is advisable to find a reliable manufacture who conforms with all regulations.
The High Shear Mixer complies with all safety standards as the 3-A Standardization. It is also ISO Certified and has an ASTM E2500 Standard.
Chapter 4: High Shear Mixing Machine Parts
We want to take a dive at each individual component and its operation mechanism to fully understand the machine.
This is where all the product mixing occurs. It has a very large volume of around 600 liters with its operational rpm reaching 900.
Silicon rubber ensures that you can hermetically seal the lid during processing. The lid contains an exhaust airport, spray nozzle port and a port for the funnel used in manual feeding.
This is majorly used producing fine particles after breaking down the batch material. Their motion is exceedingly ranging between 1500 to 3000 rpm.
This is in order to completely disintegrate the material into the desired fine particles. Such speeds are only possible if a motor propels the chopper blades.
This Z-shaped component is located inside the processing vessel.
For instance, a 3 blade agitator will produce denser granules.
Remember, the high shear rpm plays an integral role in quality material processing.
In as much as a 2-blade agitator is slower, the rate at which the material is mixed is still quite significant. Agitators are usually motor-driven coupled with a gear at right angle to the motor.
It is an important component in wet granulation. Of course, it works alongside the high shear mixer pump.
It uses a peristaltic pump to inject a binder liquid to mix with material inside the mixing container. You will find most of the spray nozzles positioned just above the material requiring granulation. This ensures the spraying is efficient.
Contrariwise, different mixers may have spray nozzle position varying. It depends on high shear mixing equipment design.
Rotor and Stator (High Shear Mixer Head)
The systems help to create a motion (on impeller) that helps to breakdown and mix products. Its efficacy determines quality of the final mixture.
Connected to this is the drive shaft. It help in rotating the work head that mixes material. The work head is available in many configurations depending on the specific application. For instance, you may have:
- General purpose disintegrating head
- Slotted disintegrating head
- Square hole high shear screen, just to mention a few.
Most mixers have fully automated systems with interactive HMI. This also integrated with the PLC which help in the automation system.
Chassis, Column or Support
The form that basic structure that hold other components in the high shear mixing machine. The design varies depending on the machine design.
Final products leave the system through this section. It functions by using valves and a discharge cylinder powered by compressed air.
You will find the location of the discharge valve just below the mixing container.
Materials for Component/ Parts Construction
If you require a mixer of the highest quality, then a stainless-steel material is the best. The steel must also have complied with all the cMGP regulations.
The main advantage of stainless steel is its strength-to-weight ratio. This allows it to be light but still remain strong and turgid.
Furthermore, due to its resistance to corrosion, acidic materials have little or no effect on it. Rotors can be made of many materials such as iron or stainless steel.
But if you’re aiming at reduced maintenance and corrosion-free equipment, your best bet should be stainless steel rotors/stator. Its operational advantages greatly outweigh iron.
Additionally, you may have wear protective coatings and paddings added on open parts. This is to enhance corrosion resistance and protect the operator from injuries.
The parts listed above are just come critical components that help in the normal corking or high shear mixer.
Chapter 5: High Shear Mixer Principle of Operation
The working principle of high shear mixer depends on the machine configuration. For instance, you should expect different working sequence in:
- High shear mixer granulator
- Inline high shear mixer
- Batch high shear mixing machine, etc.
Let’s have a quick overview about the high shear mixing equipment principle of operation:
High shear mixing machine can handle both solid material and liquid. The underlying principle still remains the same. That is, the mixing machine must overcome the internal forces allowing for free flow of molecules or particles.
Ideally, the driving principle is the machine’s ability to overcome shear stress.
Under normal circumstances, is the mixer head rotates in the same direction it reaches a non-slip condition. That is, the fluids will continue to move in the same direction without mixing. This is because there is no sufficient force to deform the liquid.
For liquids, shear stress analysis goes hand in hand with viscosity. That is, the friction between the fluid molecules.
Usually, the high shear mixing machine tend to introduce turbulent flow. The turbulent flow disrupts linear velocity profile in the fluid. During the high shear mixer working principle, the turbulence causes mass transfer – thereby mixing the fluid molecules.
In Solids/ Powder
Again, the working principle depends on the machine’s ability to breakdown solid or powder particles into small pieces. At the same time, mixing the powder to form homogenous mixture.
After feeding your material into the product vessel, it mixes with other soft and mild material. Usually, the action of rotating impeller blades will crush powder particles.
As the impeller rotates, the granules will lose some moisture causing to start drying. Usually, this forms a critical process in high shear granulator working principle.
When processing solid material, you will need granulating fluid. The fluid also helps in the densification process.
Shear is created by the granulating fluid since its speed at the rotor diameter is higher compared to the middle. The powdered particles are then densified due to the high chopper speed.
The high revolving shear then provides the force that discharges the unit mass from the mixer.
By the end of these processes, you will have homogenous mixture of liquid or powder.
Remember, the particle size or material mixture will depending on your specific requirements. With that information, you should expect the following four scenarios:
|High Shear Mixing Options||Process Specifications|
|Emulsification homogenization||· Aims to create fluid with one phase – all fluid particles are broken down to uniform size. In most cases, it forms a continuous phase|
· For emulsification, the high shear mixer helps to separate the continuous phase and dispersed phase
· Varying viscosities in fluid may also prolong the mixing time
|Suspension homogenization||· A phenomenon when mixing suspended solids in liquids|
· High shear homogenizer will breakdown the solid particles to form a solution
· At times hydrophobic particles may prove difficult to mix.
|Reducing size of particles||· Reducing particle sizes is another critical function of high shear mixing machine|
· The particle sizes will depend on the machine milling blade and configuration.
· The solids can have high or low moisture.
|Granulation||· It helps to form round granules|
· The mixer makes granules by combining powder and binding solution
· Usually, the granules are high density
Modes Of Operation
The High Shear Mixer can be operated in three different modes. Let’s take an in-depth look at them.
· Manual Mode
In this mode, the mixer is under total control of the operator. You can easily vary the process parameters on the go as you deem fit.
· Automatic Mode
This allows you to pre-set the process parameters. Once you’re done, starting the mixer means it will run autonomously until you prompt an end to the process.
· Maintenance Mode
This mode of operation allows you to troubleshoot and repair the mixer. It should be noted that access is restricted due to the interlock feature in the event of a breakdown.
Chapter 6: Types of High Shear Mixer
The available machines come in different designs and configurations which form their basis of classification.
Let us go through each type:
High Shear Mixer Granulators
This machine plays two important roles:
- Mixing and crush material into fine powder
- Granulation using binder solution, you will process powder to form granules
It is an important pharmaceutical machine since it efficiently granulates materials that are dense and cohesive.
The agitator is what drives the impeller used in blending the material. By adding binder solution, you can make high density granules.
Batch High Shear Mixers
The mixing happens in large volume. However, the loading process is in batches.
Your work can be simplified by configuring your batch high shear mixer to contain just a single head. This can enable you to mix several vessels one after the other.
Powder Induction High Shear Mixers
Unlike other mixer machines, it uses vacuum system to suck material from the hopper. Usually, this is possible through the action of rotor and stator.
This mixer is portable and easily handle many mixing containers having different sizes. Additionally, it is easy to handle since all your operations will occur at ground level.
In-Line High Shear Mixers
Usually, the working principle depends on centrifugal forces. The compartment has both an inlet and outlet.
This force is what propels the mixture through the compartment, making the mixer some sort of pump. To avoid any form of contamination, the compartment is usually closed.
Ultra-High Shear Mixers
The action in these machine produce ultra-fine powder. This is possible since it operates at very high speeds creating a well homogenized product.
To achieve these extraordinary working conditions, the rotor has a contoured design. These contours also assist in realizing a high shear intensity.
Industrial High Shear Mixer
As the name suggest, these are large high shear mixing equipment characterized by high production capacities. They are mostly automated and can handle a range of material grades.
Heated High Shear Mixer
The heating process may be through:
- Hot water
Of course, these are specialize high shear mixing machines for specific material processing requirements
Lab Scale High Shear Mixer
The machines are suitable for R&D or small sample testing.
Unlike the industrial grade high shear mixing machines, lab scale high shearer mixing machine have low output.
The machine is nearly similar to:
- Hand held high shear mixer
- Small high shear mixer
Chapter 7: Comparing High Shear Mixing to Material Processing Equipment
Of course, there are other machine you can use in various material processing operations. What matters is – the quality of material and material processing requirements.
Let’s compare some common options:
High Shear Mixing Compared To Low Shear Mixing
The properties of the products you are mixing together with other ingredients matter when mixing them. To achieve a homogenous product, you have to settle for either a High Shear or Low Shear rotating mixers.
A good example it the low shear blending
Low Shear Mixing is highly recommended when you are dealing with miscible materials. They flow easily in the mixing tank with enough turbulence generated by the impellers.
You’ll realize that we have some pharmaceutical materials easily damaged by the by impellers at high speeds. This means that you will have to drive the mixer at low rpm even for large batches.
If you are processing pharmaceutical material that are difficult to blend, low shear mixing may not be the best option. You should choose high shear mixing machine.
Such liquids may contain solids that need to be vigorously disintegrated.
Their viscosities also differ making them hard to mix. A high speed process called dispersion is applied to ensure even mixing.
A dispersion blade breaks down the solids while creating a powerful turbulence. The effect is a random collision of particles that further breaks them down and dissolves them.
High Shear Mixing Vs Acoustic Mixing
You can employ Acoustic Mixing as a substitute for High Shear Mixing. This is mostly applied to immiscible mixtures when you want to dissolve, grind, homogenize or emulsify them.
The materials are thoroughly mixed using an acoustic field. The results achieved are tremendous especially if the materials processed are highly viscous.
Compared to High Shear Mixing that uses impellers and rotors, Acoustic Mixing uses periodic sound waves. They are imparted via the lid and base of the container used in mixing the material.
Usually, the sound waves will pass through the material at the sound’s speed. The effect will be an induced motion of the materials being mixed without applying any rotating force.
Continuous Operating Mode Over Batch In High Shear Mixing
You can continuously feed material into the inline continuous operating mode High Shear Mixer. You will achieve perfectly homogenized products and your output will be steady.
Other processes lie deagglomeration and emulsification can be done within the same pass. This will save you a lot of time and is also cost efficient.
Batch mixers are slower. Although your end-product will be the same, it will come at a much higher cost.
The energy consumed will be too much and the processing time will be extended. Furthermore, batch mixers may sometimes fail to fully homogenize the ingredients.
In as much as it is a very rapid process, it is energy efficient compared to High Shear Mixing. Besides having good repeatability, it can mix a combination of very many materials.
Shear Mixer vs. High Shear Granulator
There is no big difference between these two machines or processes. The only difference comes in the granulation process
It requires addition of binder solution.
The major difference that makes the granulator stand out from other mixers is the material. Unlike other mixers, the granulator strictly uses solid material in the mixing process.
Any fluid you use in the granulator will be for strictly aiding the granulation process. By the end of the granulation process, you must get rid of excess moisture.
High Shear Mixer Vs Homogenizer
High shear mixers can also work as homogenizer. However, with the advancement in technologies, there are specific machines dedicated for making homogenous mixture. The final product from these machine exhibit better mixing effect.
Even so, you will pay the highest prices when it comes to electricity cost besides, the high maintenance costs.
For example, a high pressure homogenizer uses high energy. So, there are very specific requirements, high shear mixer can still serve the purpose well.
Colloid Mill vs High Shear Mixer
Theoretically, colloid mill and high shear mixing machine perform many similar functions. As you have seen earlier in working principle of high shear mixing equipment, colloid mill can also reduce particle size.
Besides, colloid mill can:
- Grind material
- Reduce particle size
- Disperse particles
It also depends on the rotor-stator mechanism to process material. Besides, the working principle also depend on the shearing forces.
Chapter 8: High Shear Mixing Machine Safety Features
During material process, safety is a fundamental aspects. Let us sample some of them and their importance:
· Electrical Parts
Any electrical component in the mixer has to pass the IP55 Rating. This simply means that unless indicated otherwise, they are resistant to dust and are waterproof.
Any other electrical component in the mixer fall under the IP41 Rating. This is the minimum rating required in the non-process areas of the machine.
The mixer has movable parts that are rapid and build up static charges. Earthing helps in neutralizing them and prevents static electrocution to the operator.
In the event of a break down, the mixer alarm produces sound and the corresponding error message displays on the HMI. Some alarm triggers include an emergency stop button that is in the ON position when starting.
Defective pressure sensors also trigger an alarm response. Failure to complete an entire cycle process is also treated by the program as a malfunction.
· Heat Padding
When machines overheat, their lifespan depreciates and this affects the quality of a product. The mixer machine parts with the potential to heat beyond 55°C are well insulated.
This is majorly on the external stainless steel parts. Insulating using asbestos is strictly not advised due to its environmental and health impact.
· Emergency Stop Button
This is used in the event that you encounter an immediate hazard or failure in the system not addressable by the program. It is a manual push button that stops all the functions of the mixer temporarily.
· Limit Switch
This is very important in controlling the material flowing in the mixer. It is located under the discharge unit as a monitoring device in the event of an overflow.
· Enclosed Drive Compartment
The drive compartment is fully enclosed to stop foreign objects and any other thing from meddling with the mixers transmission.
· Pressure Regulator
This is a switch that you can use to control the amount of pressure used in the mixer. This ensures that the pressure operates on an optimum level based on load.
· Loading/Unloading System
You can load and unload your material content in two different ways. One is by manually feeding the batch material into the mixer.
It can also be done automatically via add-on equipment such as IBC Bins. The transfer is usually through vacuum or by natural flow of gravity.
· Surveillance Panel
The whole process of the mixer can be monitored through this opening. For clarity on your observations, it is fitted with a lamp for illumination.
· Sampling Slot
You can assess the quality of your batch material by picking samples from this slot. It is designed in such a way that it does not interfere with the process operations.
· LED Display
This machine has a Human Machine Interface (HMI) display that you can prompt commands. The program uses PLC technology to run it.
In the event of batch material failure, all the mixer settings get interlocked. This stops the entire process and prevents wastages due to system errors.
· Operating Mode
Your mixer can either run in batch or continuous mode depending on some factors. Output capacities of less than ton require a batch mixer.
Regulatory requirements in pharma industries may oblige you to make regular ingredient reports. Batch Mixer is best suited in such circumstances.
If your incorporating your mixer in an existing process line, it should not interfere with any process. Settle for a mixer that comfortably handles any additional process steps when required.
Chapter 9: High Shear Mixer Price
There is a broad variation in high shear mixer prices:
- Portable high shear mixer – from 550 USD (you can get affordable options)
- Industrial high shear mixer – can cost from 10,999 USD (you can get affordable options)
But, what causes this variations?
- Type of machine – from chapter 7, you can see there are many machine variations. From lab, hand held, etc. so expect price variations.
- Machine features – expect to pay more for a machine with advanced features.
- Production capacity – low production machines will cost more high capacity machine
- Design and structure – as machine with advanced and robust structure will cost more
- Machine model and brand – every model has unique prices tag
In short, there is no fixed prices for high shear mixing machines. For accurate pricing, consult SaintyCo technicians.
Chapter 10: Applications Of Pharmaceutical High Shear Mixture
The machine is critical in processing various forms of essential drugs. We can take a deeper analysis of some of the critical roles it plays:
· Making Opthalmic Solutions
The granulation process produces ophthalmic solutions used in eye treatment.
· Production Of Tablets
Powder mixing and granulation play an important role in tablet manufacturing or pill press. You can The quality of the tablets is impeccable especially when wet granulation is applied.
· Making Ointments And Creams
These products are essential for treating various skin infections like rashes. Various products are mixed to come up with the final ointment or cream.
Some of these products include lubrications and waxes that are processed in oil. Others are emulsifiers that are processed in water and preservatives.
· Tablet Coatings
Tablet coatings are created by disintegrating tablets. The powder is then evenly mixed with liquids. Additional components can be added to form pharmaceutical suspensions.
Remember, other products you can make include granulators, emulsions, suspensions, Lyosols or dispersions.
But, it is not the pharmaceutical industries that have benefited from these machines. Others include:
- Cosmetic industry – you can mix lotions, creams, gels or ointments. It helps to get high quality cosmetic products with uniform content mixture.
- Pain manufacturing industry – another industry that has benefited from the high shear mixing is paint industry. Thinning and mixing paint can be a difficult task without the right machine – high shear mixing equipment offers ultimate solution.
- Petrochemical industry – whether you want to mix resins, improve viscosity or prepare material for sub sequent production, high shear mixing offers better solution.
- Ink manufacturing – the process involves mixing and grinding various material for better manufacturing.
Choosing the right high shear mixing machine requires a proper understanding of material properties and production needs.
For all your high shear mixing machines, contact us now.
High Shear Mixing Machine – Source: SaintyTec
High Shear Mixing Equipment – Source: IQS Directory
High Shear Mixing – Source: Wikipedia
High Shear Mixing – Source: SintyCo
High Shear Mixing Granulation – Source: SaintyTec