Hello. My name is Jayesh Tekchandaney, founder of Mixing Expert, and author of the chapter, “Mixers” for “Process Plant Equipment Operation, Reliability and Control”, a John Wiley & Sons publication. I am here to share my knowledge and experience on industrial mixing with process engineers, plant managers, research scientists and students, associated with the food, pharmaceutical, chemical, ceramics and other allied industries and to extend support for creating better products, at lower costs, through improvements is mixing system performance and efficiency.
By definition, “Mixing is the process of thoroughly combining different materials to produce a homogenous product”. The resultant mixture is most cases is a combination of dissimilar materials. In some cases, a chemically homogenous material may be mixed to produce a uniform blend of a desired weight/volume with consistent particles size distribution, color, texture, other required attributes.
Mixing is a critical process because the quality of the final product and its attributes are derived by the quality of the mix.
Improper mixing results in a non-homogenous product that lacks consistency with respect to desired attributes like chemical composition, color, texture, flavor, reactivity and particle size.
Most mixing problems occur due to reasons such as selection of incorrect mixing equipment, wrong scale-up techniques, lack of understanding of the raw material characteristics, inaccurate or inadequate definition of mixing objectives, limited knowledge of the mixer performance parameters and poor mixer design.
We’ve all had to deal with problems associated with improper mixing resulting in poor product quality, failed batches and above all, loss of high value product. A recently published handbook on industrial mixing estimates the cost of poor mixing to be as high as US $ 100 million per year
Our customers are constantly demanding better products. We are unable to increase our product value, because of less than desired product purity levels. The R&D has been able to achieve the required purity in the laboratory, but the challenge is to scale up the new process to the production scale, with minimal additional investment and more often than not, using the existing equipment.
Intense competition requires us to lower our product costs. At the same time, we have to deal with increasing costs of machines, materials, people and power costs.
Customers need faster deliveries. We’ve always wanted our mixing equipment to deliver the desired mixing quality with short batch cycle times. Instead, we have to constantly deal with equipment operational and maintenances issues that limit our production capacities.
Operational safety is of prime importance. We are also responsible for our environment. There are several other challenges and statutory obligations that we need to deal with.
There is constant need for new products and constant product turnovers. The time available from conception of new products to the execution is minimal. In such a scenario, the option of following the conventional route of conducting laboratory experiments, doing pilot scale trials and then scaling up to production capacities may not be available. Single equipment is expected to perform multiple functions and processes such as coating, granulation, heat transfer, drying and so on.
Being associated with the chemical process industry, food, pharmaceutical, bio-chemical, ceramic industries for almost 15 years, as a process design engineer, production engineer, industrial engineer, engineering consultant and equipment manufacturer, I have encountered similar challenges that you face in today’s competitive environment.
Mixing technology has made rapid advances in recent times. In addition to the laboratory and pilot scale trials, design engineers have access to tools such as Computational fluid mixing (CFM), Digital particle image velocimetry (DPIV), Laser doppler anemometry (LDA), Laser induced fluorescence (LIF), for better understanding of mixing systems. Mixing problems, such as low-velocity areas, circulation zones, staging and anomalies in the fluid flow and other potential problems can be identified using mixing simulation programs and quickly resolved, instead of adopting the conventional and time consuming trial and error process. Advances in mixing technology have enabled mixer manufacturers to develop and improvise agitator designs customized for end user applications. Moreover, the improvements and the technological advances in the mechanical, electrical, and electronic components, instrumentation and process control, have accelerated the development of mixing equipment that maximize mixing performance at lower energy consumption. Process engineers, plant personnel, scientists are all required to look beyond their day to day operational activities and constantly upgrade themselves with the advances in technology.
A mixer is no longer a generic production tool. It is a critical and decisive business tool. Profitability and competitive advantage are dependent upon improvements in product quality through gains in mixing performance and efficiency. Good mixing is imperative for minimizing investment and operating costs, providing high yields and enhancing profitability.
And though to some extent mixing can be regarded as art, much of today’s knowledge is backed by science and engineering and can be easily learned
Through our website, www.mixing-expert.com, we provide technical support and information on selection, design, operation and maintenance of mixing equipment.
We share our knowledge and expertise on processes and applications in liquid mixing, solid mixing and high-viscosity mixing, through our ebooks, instructional and training videos.
The website has constant updates and announcements on the advances in mixing technology and equipment.
In addition, we conduct short educational courses and seminars on practical aspects relevant to mixing. We offer custom designed courses for your industry. Your technical team is trained to solve mixing problems by themselves.
And if that’s not enough, we will be excited to offer our consultation services and be your in-house mixing expert.
I’d like to end this note with my favorite quote and our mantra at Mixing Expert,
“No matter how good you are, you can always get better. And that’s the exciting part”.
On behalf of Mixing Expert, I, Jayesh Tekchandaney, thank you for your time and attention. Please visit us at www.mixing-expert.com for constant updates on mixing technology. Good Bye and have a great day.
Jayesh Tekchandaney is the founder of Mixing Expert Solutions Provider LLP, Mumbai, India. He earned a BE in Chemical Engineering from Mumbai University, India and MS in Industrial Engineering from Pennsylvania State University, USA. He has more than 15 years experience in Process Engineering and Equipment Design. Jayesh Tekchandaney can be reached at 022-25801214,