What is a Ribbon Blender?
A ribbon blender gets its name because the blades are angled in different ways from a central shaft so that it looks like ribbons of metal. The varied direction of the blades allows the blender to move parts of a mixture in different directions at the same time. The mixer often has a closed container, often in the shape of a trough. The shaft and blades are located inside the container. A ribbon blender can be either horizontal or vertical.
Uses for a Ribbon Blender
Ribbon blenders are often used for food and medicine manufacturing as those industries often must mix substances with a lot of particles. Because it is critical that the particles be mixed evenly, a ribbon blender provides the best opportunity to achieve that result. Ribbon blenders are also used in heavy industry.
Types of Ribbon Blenders
There are different types of ribbon blenders available. A ribbon blender with a u-shaped shell is the most traditional version. These have a full, open top with a flanges, filtered cover. Cylindrical shell ribbon blenders are used where vacuum, pressure or heating and cooling is required. Access is limited to small doors on top or on the sides of the blender. Semi-cylindrical shells are often used for cooking and cooling application where high levels of heat transfer are required. A double ribbon blender provides a more thorough mixing as it has an inner and outer ribbon that provides counter-directional flow so that the product remains in constant motion. A paddle-ribbon combination blender has inner ribbons with an outer paddle that works well with fragile, heat-sensitive materials.
A ribbon blender is the perfect choice for manufacturers that need rapid blending of materials. With a variety of styles to choose from, manufacturers are able to select the one that works best for their needs.
Why do You Need a Ribbon Blender and Mixer?
Well, if you are into blending business, then definitely you need to acquire this machine as opposed to other machines.
Efficient and top quality ribbon blenders have securely controlled clearances between surfaces and agitator tips.
In addition to that, they are quick, effective and capable of systematic mixing of powders.
Below are special features of Ribbon blender and mixer that no other mixer boasts of.
I. Varying Applications and Very Few Crushes
Unlike other machines, the ribbon mixer has a double ribbon agitator that makes the machine multipurpose and suitable for mixing:
- Powder- powder
- Powder- liquid,
- Paste and highly viscous material such as putty etc.
The radial speed of the ribbon is also flexible to ensure little or no material destructiveness.
Other than that, this blender doesn’t easily break down, unlike others.
II. It Possesses a Triple Ace Mixing Capability
This triple action is the key to unlocking the high speed and efficient blending ability.
The double helical agitators of the machine rotate thereby tumbling on the material inside the blender.
As a result, the pitch of the exterior ribbon transfers the material towards the discharge door.
However, the interior ribbon which possesses an opposing pitch moves the material further from the discharge door.
III. Superior Loading Rate and Enhanced Sealing
The mixing cylinders are inclined at an angle ranging from 180˚ – 300˚ and it comes with the largest loading capacity of about 70%.
Apart from that, a variety of sealing methods are incorporated for you to choose from and select a suitable one for your product.
For superfine powder product, pneumatic together with packing seal is used while for materials with relatively good fluidity mechanical seals are used.
IV. Produces a Super Uniformity and Homogeneous Blend and Mixture
Unlike other blenders, the Ribbon mixer has got a double ribbon agitator.
They move in a counter current motion displacing the materials from one end through the center to the other opposite end of the mixer.
Thus resulting in the production of a homogeneous mixture.
V. It Avails Thorough, Gentle and Super Blends within a Very Short Time
The ribbons of the machine, rotate at a super fast speed approximately, 70 – 100 meters per minute
In the process, they move the material both radially and laterally within short cycle duration.
Usually, it takes just about 15 – 20 minutes for complete blending.
VI. Available in Different Working Capacities
These machines come in different sizes and capacities ranging from 5litres to 25000 liters blenders.
Remember, the minimum working capacity for ribbon blender is approximately 30 – 40% of the overall capacity.
VII. Suitable for Use in a Limited Overhead Space
Is your working space limited?
Do you have a limited overhead space?
Then it is time to upgrade.
This is a user-friendly machine and can fully fit in a limited overhead space.
Applications of Ribbon Bin Blenders
This blender is trusted by many due to its ability to mix powders.
Section of Ribbon Mixer
Below are the main applications of the ribbon blender and mixer:
- Blending of a largenumber of dry solids.
- Drying of powdered materials suitable for wet phase mixing.
- Mixing of drugs, cosmetics, and various chemicals.
- Dry blending of capsule ingredients.
- Lubrications of dry granules and pellets in large quantity.
- Coating of solid particles with liquids to produce a suitable formulation.
In Pharmacology, ribbon blenders are used in the manufacturing of polymer blends, pharmaceutical powders, and composite fillers.
In Food and beverage processing industries, ribbon blenders are used to produce infant food, flavorings, seasonings, dried food products, breakfast cereals, cake mixes, dietary supplements, instant drink blends etc.
Some other industrial materials usually blended in the Ribbon mixer include the following:
- Animal Feeds
- Pet feeds
- Bird seeds
- Pesticides and herbicides
- Plastic powders
- Laundry detergents
- Plastic powders
- Fire retardants
- Cleaning compounds
Apart from that, did you know that these mixers are multipurpose?
Well, they also serve the following purposes apart from blending:
- Vacuum drying.
- Coating of solid particles with a little liquid component or a very fine and smooth powder.
Having discussed that, it’s time we concentrate on parts of the equipment.
Parts of a Ribbon Blender
Just like other technical machines, a ribbon blender is a versatile machine that has several.
These parts work together to ensure a smooth working mechanism and production of a uniform blend.
It parts, therefore include:
- Mixing vessel
- Flat top cover
- Discharge valve
- Rotating shaft
- Agitator element
- Control systems
- Drive mechanism
I will guide you through the parts, one at a time:
a) Mixing Vessel
This is the chamber of the Ribbon mixer where the mingling and blending of the materials take place.
This chamber is usually designed in a U- shaped manner.
It is this chamber that mixing takes place.
Depending on the nature of your application, you can mix:
- Solid or powdered materials
- Liquids with liquids
- Mixture of liquids, powders and granules
U-shaped mixing vessel
The mixing vessels occupy the largest space of the machine.
It is in this part that the main shaft agitator is located.
The inner and outer ribbons do their famous countercurrent motion from here.
b) Strong Top Flat Cover
Depending on the size of the trough, a tight-fitting top flat cover is available to optionally cover the container during operation.
The top cover is an entirely opened lid that gives you room for easy cleaning and loading of the raw material.
Lid or cover
The cover is usually made of strong stainless steel and doesn’t bend from little strain.
c) Superb Discharge Division
The discharging division is professionally fitted with efficient valves that promptly control the discharge.
Normally, the valves provide a fine seal to eradicate material wastage through spillage.
Also, they uphold a tidier and safer working surrounding for the operator.
The drive mechanisms of the valves could be:
- Pneumatic – this kind of operation ensures more precise control of the discharge process.
The good news?
You are able to select the valves from a variety.
Depending on the type of the raw material you can pick:
- Spherical valves – suitable for sensitive products that require no dead spots once discharged.
- Knife gate valves – they are usually dusted tight and ideal for powders and other dry materials.
- Rotatory ball valves – these are liquid tight valves appropriate for wet materials.
- Butterfly valves
- Plum- blossom dislocation valves
From the discharge vent, the product flows out and you can collect it in the stuffing boxes.
Thereafter, it could be packed according to your preference.
d) Rotating Shaft
This is the horizontal tunnel that rotates at an immensely high velocity to ensure the efficient and rapid movement of the agitator.
The agitator rotation subsequently makes the material to be tumbled upon and radially carried inside the blender.
In most cases, the pace of the shaft varies.
It depends on the circumference of the outer ribbon.
The optimal speed of the shaft is about 80 – 100 meters per minute.
This high speed is essential in offering exhaustive and uniform blends within a short duration.
e) Agitator Element
This could be two helical agitators just like the ABSTER Ribbon Blender with inner and outer ribbons.
This is ideal for both dry and wet applications including slurry, thickened or diluted slurry can be mixed and blended sufficiently.
f) Control System
The interesting part is that the blender comes with a per-loaded and wired control panel.
Do you have a fixed budget or schedule?
A preinstalled program is important because it:
- Saves you the task and expenses of seeking services from a local installer.
- Makes the machine automatically ready for use immediately after setup.
The control panel is essential to the overall operations of the mixer.
It comprises of:
- Main power switch.
- Safety limit switches.
- Fuse especially for the motors.
- Emergency stop button.
All these parts shall be completely tested and guaranteed during the purchase to certify their working conditions and suitability.
g) Drive Mechanism
This part is responsible for ensuring the smooth operational basis for the machine.
However, the driver unit, the power consumption and the output speed can be altered in accordance with:
- The kind of material to be blended.
- Starting method.
The drive unit comprises of motors from which you have a wide range of options to pick from.
They may include general motors, variable frequency motors, high efficiency and energy saving motor, explosion resistant motors.
The motor connections are diverse and may include the following kinds of connection:
- Direct connection
- Pulley connection
- Hydraulic coupler connection
The regularly used reducers are K, R, and F – series gearbox, cycloidal reducer; cycloidal reducer, planetary gear reducer and universal gear reducer.
Ribbon Blender Design and Construction
The blender comprises of:
- U – Shaped horizontal container
- Agitator comprising of two helical ribbon agitators i.e. inner and outer ribbons that rotate.
The agitator’s vessel is positioned within the center of the container.
As you’ll see from the images below, the agitator construction provides a three-way mixing action that ensures prompt and efficient blending.
Technical drawing of ribbon mixer
The ribbon blender is carefully designed, constructed and fabricated to ensure rapid, efficient and exhaustive mixing of powdered materials.
Both the dimensions and configurations of the machines are precisely designed and balanced.
It is to enhance smooth movement of materials within the container.
Of course, this ensures dead spots are avoided and to avail speedy product discharge.
Alternatively, the paddle agitator can be incorporated.
These paddles are stationed to move the materials mixed in counter lateral and radial directions.
However, the paddle design is mostly used in the following cases:
- When friable materials are to be blended
- In circumstances when the batch capacity to be mixed in the blender is limited usually as little as 15% of the overall capacity.
Some common aspects of blender constructions and design are based upon the following:
The machine body is made of varied materials that are carefully chosen depending on if the parts are to be in contact with the raw material or not.
Again, the materials for other auxiliary machine parts such as the driving unit are different.
Quite a number of ribbon blender and mixer machines feature stainless steel (304 and 316L).
The steel is usually made to undergo suitable surface treatment modes such as;
- Mirror polishing
Thereafter the metals are riveted and used in the construction of different parts of the mixer.
Internal section of ribbon mixer
Wear and tear resistant liner sheets may also be used when abrasive products are involved.
Unlike the interior parts, all the exterior stainless surfaces are painted with automotive paints such as enamel paints.
The ribbon blender is riveted and welded into a single unit.
Bulky and stable gauge walls are also used.
The end panels are fully reinforced.
All these measures make the vessel extremely rigid and stable to keep in control of the agitator vibrations and movement.
The machine has got strong and firm stands that support it and keep it in position eliminating any chances of the blender collapsing.
The components and devices used together in the ribbon blender are internationally famous certified products with superior quality and highly durable.
All these parts are approved in accordance with the Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) models.
The entire construction of the blender is suited for coping up and withstanding the atmospheric pressure imbalance during the operation.
The mixing capacity of the machine is also sufficiently large covering approximately 70% to 80% of the general vessel volume. This provides:
- Adequate and optimal space for material flow on the sides of the agitator.
- Maximum contact between the agitator and the batch material. It ensures the product mixture produced is of top quality and homogeneous (no matter the quantity of the raw material).
- Strategically positioned spray system, making it easy to introduce liquid into the system. Adding liquid is important when you want to produce homogeneous powders against liquid dissemination.
This ribbon blender not only works alone, but it is driven by a combination of some mechanical parts such as motors, couplings, and gearbox.
The motors usually generate a power of about 10 HP to 15 HP for blending of one thousand kilogram product mass.
For a large number of masses, a versatile power may be used.
In addition, the mixer has got a centrally situated flush discharge valve at the bottom section of the machine.
The mixer also comes with a tight-fitting top cover.
The top cover size would entirely depend on the dimensions of the blender.
The following features may be customized depending on the customer’s needs and operational demands:
- A variety of discharging valves may be used as per the needs and preference of the customer. They include either manually or pneumatically operated valves such as slide gate, butterfly, diaphragm etc.
- Powerful choppers may also be fixed on the sides. The high-speed choppers help in breaking down the agglomerates or lumps in the process of mixing. Also, they help in blending raw materials that are prone to forming agglomerates.
- A sizeable window opening suitable for carrying out an inspection of the blender and cleaning the trough.
- Numerous discharge locations depending on the blender capacity.
- A specially designed jacket to assist in heating and cooling down the machine during operation.
- Non- explosive motors, speed varying drives together with the digital control panel.
Now, with all these, it is important to look into the working mechanism of the blender.
For more information, please look at the table below.
Technical specifications of ribbon mixer
Ribbon Blender Working Principle – Here’s the Secret to Achieving Homogeneous Mixture
Ribbon blenders are efficient at mixing powders with powders as well as powders with liquids.
During the blending operation, both the sets of inner and outer helical agitators play a major role.
The outer ribbon conveys the materials from one end to the midsection of the mixing vessel.
At the same time, the inner ribbon transmits the raw materials from the mid-section to the opposite ends.
Essentially, they operate in a counter direction.
You can see that in the video below:
The ribbons move in a rotational motion at a very high speed, thereby achieving a radial movement.
A combination of radial and counter current motion occur repeatedly to ensure highly homogeneous mixing and blending is achieved within a very little time.
These fast rotating and high impact ribbons also eradicate lumps hence availing blends free from lumps.
It usually takes about 15 – 20 minutes from the start up to attain a blend when working with the machine.
The quality of the resultant product obtained is approximately 90 to 95 percent standardized.
The size of the particles and the substance density of the raw materials have a direct impact on the resultant mixing capabilities of the ribbon blender.
These two elements subsequently affect the quality of the blend produced.
Therefore, it is only constituents with relatively related particle sizes and densities.
These would usually mix more rapidly as opposed to those constituents with variation in these properties.
Once the blending process is completed, the rotation of the ribbon agitator triggers the product discharge.
Of course, this occurs from the discharge valve situated at the bottom part of the trough.
As I had mentioned, the valves operate either manually or pneumatically.
The material could be discharged nearly entirely with no or little dead zones.
Technical Specification of Ribbon Blender and Mixer
The ultimate choice of ribbon blender and mixer completely depend on your set objectives and mission.
It is thus essential to set them right.