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An introduction to the vacuum emulsifying mixer

March 31, 2013

The technology of mixing by means of emulsification has been a godsend in the fields that heavily rely on impeccably mixed products. For instance, basic items of everyday use that we tend to take for granted, such as ointments, creams and cosmetics, would simply not have existed in the state that they are currently packaged in, had it not been for the development of the process that allows them to be so.

There are several components of a vacuum emulsifying mixer such as a vacuum emulsifier, a pot for the homogenization process, scraping mixers, provision for heating by means of steam or electricity, the electrical controls cabinet, and so on. The setup is fairly complex visually and programmatically, but can be understood as one that is analogous to the standard industrial brewing equipment, in which a pair of tanks is mounted on an accessible platform, with the electrical panel and controls forming the vertical face of the platform.

Unlike the brewing process however, the vacuum emulsifying system requires much more caution when it comes to controlling the atmosphere the process is to be conducted in. Since the products manufactured by this process are usually catering to the medical and cosmetic industries, any level of impurity is intolerable in the final mix. For this purpose, the entire process is carried out in a closed insulated space, and care is taken to ensure that dust and even microbes are kept at bay. A specially designed inspection window with its own illuminant is used to observe the mix during the different stages of emulsification, thus preventing the need for physical checks and the possible entry of pollutants. The containers are made of stainless steel with an outer coating of aluminium silicate which prevents a very high rise in temperature of the outer surface, and is thus essential for the safety of the operators of the machine.

The final product obtained at the end of the emulsifying process is technically known as an ‘emulsion’, that is, particles of oil and a water base suspended together to form one entity, which would not have been possible by any other means as they are mutually insoluble. The resultant is a smooth and shiny fluid, which gives it great potential when it comes to medical uses (being easy to apply on and be absorbed by the skin), and cosmetic making (due to its aesthetic value as well as its ease of application).

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