Ribbon blenders mix free-flowing raw materials within a U-shaped agitator. Tightly controlled clearances between trough surfaces and agitator tips ensure fast mixing, easy clean-up, and low maintenance.
Getting the most out of your ribbon blender starts with selecting a model suited to your needs. Batch volume (not weight) determines sizing, while bulk density dictates whether standard or heavy-duty equipment is required.
Check the Motor and Electrical Components
Ribbon blenders are powerful machines that require a lot of power to operate and perform. Because of this, monitoring the engine and replacing worn-out parts is essential to ensure the device stays in good condition for years. One way to do this is to lubricate the gearbox and bearings. Greasing the machine can prolong its operational life and enhance performance.
While a ribbon mixer’s maximum and minimum batch capacity is often spelled out in weight, it is more important to consider the bulk density of the blended material. This determines whether a standard or heavy-duty blender is required and the horsepower needed to achieve proper mixing.
For the most efficient operation, consider a direct-drive design that eliminates the need for flexible belts and pulleys. This drive system reduces energy losses due to slippage and helps maintain consistent speed and torque. It also allows for easy motor and reducer bearings replacement without removing the agitator from the vessel.
Inspect the Valve
A ribbon blender is among the most versatile and scalable mixing devices for powders, granules, flakes, and other bulk solids. They are used in industries as diverse as pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, food processing, and chemicals.
These machines mix free-flowing raw materials within a U-shaped horizontal trough through a helical ribbon agitator with inner and outer ribbons that move material in opposite directions. Powered by a gearmotor drive, the agitator rotates up to 300 feet per minute at peripheral speeds.
Inspect the shaft seals regularly to keep your ribbon mixer operating at peak performance. Doing so helps to prevent contamination from the outside and extends the life of your blending machine’s bearings. It also helps to avoid material leakage that can cause mechanical failure.
Inspecting these specialized shaft seals will help you to prevent expensive repairs and downtime. Use the correct ribbon blender size for your batch volume and bulk density. Oversized equipment can overload the agitator and lead to more severe mechanical failure.
Clean the Agitator
The agitator is at the heart of the ribbon blender’s mixing magic. This design features a U-shaped trough with inner and outer helical ribbons that move materials axially and radially at peripheral speeds up to 300 feet per minute, promoting thorough blending.
To get the most out of your ribbon mixer, it must be sized appropriately for your material and its bulk density. Undersized blenders can overload the motor, strain ribbon agitator shafts and spokes excessively, and lead to mechanical failure.
The method and rate at which each minor ingredient is added to the batch also impact mixing efficiency. Liquid ingredients should be sprayed onto the agitator at a rate that minimizes cycle time and prevents wet clumps from forming.
Work with a supplier that can customize your ribbon blender to suit your process and ingredients’ unique needs. Consider options like bag dump stations, rotary CIP spray balls, pneumatically operated covers, and customized control panels.
Clean the Vessel
Ribbon blenders are highly versatile and can mix free-flowing powders, granules, and dry ingredients. They’re also ideal for batching baking premixes and powdered flavor blends.
A quality ribbon mixer features tightly controlled clearances between the trough walls and the agitator tips to ensure high mixing efficiency, quick clean-up, low maintenance costs, and long service life. It also uses a horizontal agitator shaft with spokes supporting outer and inner helical ribbons to move materials in radial and axial flow patterns.
Discharge is through a centrally-located valve on the bottom of the trough. This is one of the most important considerations when shopping for a new ribbon blender because the type of discharge valve directly impacts changeover speed and how quickly the product can be discharged.
For sensitive applications that require minimal “dead spots” in the trough for material to collect, consider using a sanitary spherical disc valve that offers more precise control.