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The industrial uses of the mixing kettle

April 18, 2013

The word ‘kettle’ immediately brings to my mind the image of the standard, almost caricature teapot, found in the pages of the storybooks I read as a child. Even if we ignore the melodrama that I usually tend to attach to every object, it is true that not very many uses of kettles are known to the lay person, other than the preparation of tea, or the boiling of certain liquids. In any case the kettle is usually delegated in our minds as a part of the kitchen, or the occasional laboratory of an eccentric scientist at best (again, the melodrama is to be ignored).

However, while we were busy turning away from children’s fairy tales and focusing on the more important things in life, the kettle was also busy making its way up the utility chart to excel in kitchens of a much larger scale than the houses we grew up in, to finally end up today as a formidable component of industrial machinery.

Mixing kettles find widespread application in the food processing industry today, or in similar industries that involve processing the raw material. These specially designed kettles are made of stainless steel and have a hemispherical bottom to take care of the mixing process. Requirements may vary, and the kettles are accordingly available in a variety of sizes and configurations, jacket styles and pressure ranges. They are also customizable in case the requirements are not met by any of the readymade varieties that are always in stock.

Some of these kettles meant for industrial use come encased in a ‘jacket’ of sorts that creates a space around the main container that allows both steam heating and cooling by means of cold water. In others, the heating coil is wound round the body of the kettle. Designs have been tried out and implemented that aim for ease of operations, be it loading, pouring or churning of material. Most of the models have a safety latch that prevents any accidental outpour of heated liquid. Other variations target surface insulation, degree of manual effort required to tilt the kettle, sanitation standards, temperature sensing and regulation capacity, method of covering (say vacuum or pressure operated), and so on. The available capacities vary for each model designed based on any permutation or combination of the parameters just mentioned. In general, the capacity of the industrial mixing kettle ranges from anything between five to hundred thousand litres.

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