Lab Mixers Buying Guide for First time Buyer

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Lab Mixers Buying Guide for First time Buyer

Lab Mixers Buying Guide for First time Buyer

Laboratory mixers are the counterparts or small-scale versions of industrial mixers that mixes just a portion of bulk materials. A lab mixer serves as a pilot that navigates direction towards which you can decide what mixer to choose. 

Basically, it functions to emulsify, homogenize, disintegrate, dissolve and mix materials through a scaled impeller and shaft similar to large-scale mixers. Lab mixers/overhead mixers produces small volumes ranging from 1 to 50 gallons in one batch.

Since laboratory mixers are miniature versions of large industrial blenders and operates similarly, these machines are ideal for small-scale productions. You can use them in research and development, QA purposes, sampling and trial runs and testing facilities in absolutely any industry.

There are two main reasons why you would need to know about lab mixers. Either you need:

  • to purchase one for your facility or,
  • to be in-the-know about it as you are considering testing your materials in the manufacturer’s facility. 

Either way, if you do not know much about Lab mixers, or what others refer to as overhead mixers, our company shares in this article all you need to know about it. We are also open to guide you on how you can choose a lab mixer for your business. 

Ginhong is an industrial mixer manufacturer that you can find the best in China. We offer lab scale mixers which gives excellent reproducibility and accurate projections of test results upon scaling up industrial mixers. 

Ginhong has supported a number of companies globally. We continue to strive to give you the best professional support, patience and good relationship for the success of your manufacturing process. Our company is dedicated to helping you out from the planning stage, to the model and customization process, to the commissioning stage.

The Importance of Testing with Lab Mixers Prior to Selecting an Industrial Mixer 

In order to know which type of mixer is most suitable for your produce, you will have to test your materials in the manufacturers testing facility. Under mixer simulation, you and the manufacturer can be able to investigate if the mixer adapts to your materials’ requirements. Furthermore, both sides can be able to determine the proper specifications of the mixer; Does it need two or three agitators? Does it need hydraulics? Is vacuum needed?

Considerations

When you consider buying laboratory mixers, you need to think about its features. These include the mixer capacity, fluid viscosity, horsepower and speed/RPM. At one hand, you also need to consider the area of your laboratory or where the mixer would be placed. 

How can the volume of sample determine the type of lab mixer to be used?

Volume is a strong indicator as to which mixer size you ought to have. This is a fundamental consideration before you even do anything. Start asking yourself, “What is the volume I need to produce for a single batch?”

Confirming the capacity of your mixer ultimately leads to the appropriate selection of important parameters such as rotor speed and impeller shaft dimensions. Thus, selecting the most suitable mixer parameters can predict the successful performance of your overhead stirrers. In short, when you know how much your capacity is, adjunct with mixer parameters (specifically, rotor speed and shaft size), your lab mixer can perform at an optimum degree.

Can temperature affect the type of mixer you would choose?

Different materials exhibit different properties. Most of the time, it is required that you know the allowable temperature limits of the product to relay it to the manufacturer. Some materials may fail and would be regarded as waste with just the wrong input temperature during processing. Others may be reclaimed through a reprocessing equipment, but this would mean additional expense for material transport, turnover and electricity.

For samples that needs special heat treatment during the mixing operation, you can consider a mixer with a steam heating jacket. You can monitor temperatures through the sensor attached to the mixer. Ginhong has a line of lab mixers which can simulate the heating and cooling operation for you to take note of the optimal temperature for your product.

Will liquid or material flow behavior affect the mixer that should be used?

Fluid behavior is an important factor to consider when it comes to selecting the type of mixer. Different liquids perform differently when you mix it and this is the reason why they are classified into many categories. Some fluids thickens as it is mixed, while others remain its properties. You can better know this by taking a look at each materials’ viscosities before and after being mixed. 

For one, paints, latex, gels, slurries and clays increase in viscosity as you increase the shearing effect. These may fall into a pseudoplastic liquid or dilatant liquid. If a material’s viscosity remains the same as mixing is increased like in mineral oils and water, it is a newtonian fluid. Finally, when the liquid’s viscosity decreases as you mix it like a peanut butter mixture, it is thixotropic fluid.

Will material samples having different processing times and agitation behavior affect the type of mixer I would choose?

Different materials possess different traits or behavior while being mixed. In addition, since each exhibit different viscosities, you can assume that they do have varying temperature requirements. With laboratory mixers, you can be able to know the scope and limitation of your mix. 

Magnetic mixers and overhead stirrers are now equipped with programmable systems that carries out simulation of stirring patterns that would depend on the requirements of the batch.

Testing Materials with Your Manufacturer

 

Aside from being bought for small-scale productions, lab mixers are ultimately used for testing materials in the manufacturer’s test facility before purchasing its large counterpart. Testing involves inputting your materials in each type of favorable overhead stirrer and evaluating results. 

1. Ensure that the mixer manufacturer has the appropriate tools and facility for testing.

 

Given that each test should be evaluated quantitatively, you need to make sure that the test takes place in a contained and favorable facility with complete tools and necessary equipment. This is to ensure that you can get accurate results and eliminate possible mistakes of buying the wrong mixer. If you need a heating and cooling and vacuum simulations, you should ask the manufacturer if they have one. 

2. Make sure to bring your own ingredients with you.

 

For your part as a buyer, you should bring your own ingredients so that as much as possible, you would control much of the variables.

3. Be a critical observer and carefully evaluate results.

 

The best advice we can give when it comes to testing your materials is to execute the sample testing with the manufacturer. While in some cases the customers have the manufacturer test the samples and just send back the results, it is not a sound advice no matter how reputable a manufacturer is. There is a chance that this can lead to purchasing the wrong mixer when you do not sit out and evaluate the results.

Also make sure that the lab mixer equipment is on-spec and represents well the industrial-grade mixer.

4. Do not simply rely on intuition

 

Do not solely rely on the intuition of a mixing expert or an engineer. While they may present you the most logical suggestion on which type of mixer to use, it is worth knowing through testing what really is the most ideal option.

Interpreting Lab Results and Specifying the Right Industrial Mixer 

To know which type of multi-shaft mixer is the best for your application, you should be able to answer the following first.

 

1. What are the inherent properties of your product?

You should be able to determine the properties of your materials as the type of mixing operation and lab mixer type will also depend on it. Some products are liquid, semi-solid or solid and some are immiscible upon mixture or exhibit certain behaviors while being processed.

2. Are there special considerations?

There are instances where you need a customized mixer to suit your needs. Ginhong has been dealing with multiple made-to-order mixers for customers for a long time. As such, you can let us do the customization for you. 

3. Are you prepared for the upfront investment?

Laboratory mixers are anywhere between 2-4 or 5 figures internationally speaking. When you deal with a China manufacturer, you can expect a lower upfront investment without sacrificing the quality of the mixer. 

Lab Mixer Selection Guide

Materials

Ginhong lab mixers come with a stainless steel tank material and all the parts are compliant with cGMP regulations. We use stainless steel as it is contamination-free and has a high strength-to-weight ratio. It is also notable for being resistive to corrosion so highly acidic ingredients will not affect the properties of the metal.

Stainless steel lab mixers are recommended for any industry for clean operation. Other material options such as iron simply cannot compete with the overwhelming advantages of stainless steel. For highly abrasive ingredients, Ginhong adds a wear-protective coating on the tank and contact parts to further enhance its resistance.

Capacity

Ginhong laboratory mixers can handle capacities from 5 to 10,000 L. These are equipped with a motor with variable speed drive and digital display.

Construction

Typical construction of the lab mixer is as follows.

  • Stand – the main base where a vertical rod is built in. Base dimensions may vary together with the rod size.
  • Clamp – This joins the vertical and horizontal rod which forms a cantilevered configuration. 
  • Shaft – constructed of ground and polished stainless steel with diameters ranging from ¼” – ½”. 
  • Lab Stirrer – transmits the driven kinetic movement/energy to the material mixture.

Options

Custom-made lab mixer is available with the following options according to what your product needs. 

  • Options for top-entry or bottom-entry mixer configuration. 
  • Options for vacuum or hydraulic lift system or both.
  • Options for height-adjustment or larger vessel designs.
  • Options for heating and cooling system.
  • Addition of extra load cells.
  • Design for a specialized pressure vessel for varying steam pressures.
  • Options for explosion proof motors and electrics.

Different Types of Lab Mixers Cater to Different Mixing Applications

Ginhong provides different lab mixers to provide you choices, depending upon the application and functionality.

RX Lab Vacuum Homogenizer Mixer

RX Lab Vacuum Homogenizer Mixer provides a complete vacuum mixer system for the laboratories, capable of creating test batches. This is Ginhong’s laboratory version of the RX vacuum homogenizer.

Key Features

Key features include:

  • External emulsifying and homogenizing by vertical type inline homogenizer with pipes;
  • Shorter batch time compared with RS series vacuum emulsifying mixer;
  • Cooling system for mechanic seal inside the homogenizer for longer homogenizing time;
  • The homogenizer also works as a transfer pump for discharging finished product;
  • Contra mixing system of fixed impellers with holes and wall scraper;
  • Outer anchor agitator has pipe design for enhanced mixing and good appearance;
  • Push buttons control panel for easy operation;
  • Vacuum system to take out the air bubbles during mixing and to transfer the ingredients;

Typical Applications

Rx Lab Vacuum Homogenizer is typically used in processing products with low to high viscosity products with single-phase or dual-phase blending such as:

  • Sterile Processing
  • Oils
  • Deodorants
  • Antiperspirants
  • Cosmeceuticals
  • Agrochemicals
  • Biofuels

RS Lab Vacuum Emulsifying Mixer

 

RS Lab Vacuum Homogenizer Mixer makes small to medium sized batch processing providing a complete vacuum mixer system for laboratories. This is Ginhong’s laboratory version of the RS vacuum homogenizer.

Key Features

Key features include:

  • External emulsifying and homogenizing by vertical type inline homogenizer with pipes;
  • Shorter batch time compared with RS series vacuum emulsifying mixer;
  • Cooling system for mechanic seal inside the homogenizer for longer homogenizing time;
  • The homogenizer also works as a transfer pump for discharging finished product;
  • Contra mixing system of fixed impellers with holes and wall scraper;
  • Outer anchor agitator has pipe design for enhanced mixing and good appearance;
  • Push buttons control panel for easy operation;
  • Vacuum system to take out the air bubbles during mixing and to transfer the ingredients;

Typical Application

Makes small batches of lotion, cream and smooth emulsions.

JX Batch Lab Homogenizer

The JX Batch Lab Homogenizer is a high shear mixer consisting primarily of rotor and stator with a portable stand. A portable tank or vessel is placed and bracketed beneath the rotor-stator assembly and then brought down by a pneumatic or hydraulic system. The rotor is then rotated at 3000 rpm by a motor, which causes the substances to be sucked into the rotor, and then completely high sheared, dispersed, emulsified and homogenized.

Key Features

  • Suitable for cream and emulsions of 20,000~80,000cps viscosity;
  • Interchangeable work heads and screens of slotted and holed designs;
  • Different pneumatic, hydraulic and electrical lifting devices for lifting the batch mixer for exchangeable tanks;

Typical Applications

Used for processing products in batches such as

  • Coatings
  • Inks
  • Dairy food products
  • Cream & Ointments
  • Meat and poultry processing
  • Antiperspirants

Lab Planetary Disperser Mixer

The PX Lab Planetary Disperser Mixer works using two planetary blades, which rotate on different axes while revolving in the tank. The blades move along the perimeter of the tank to transfer the surrounding materials and throwing it into the center of the vessel. In a single revolution, the planetary blades have passed the entire tank, After one revolution the blades have passed through the entire vessel, furthermore with 36 revolutions, the blades have made contact with the entire batch.

Key Features

  • All contact parts are made of SS304 and polished;
  • Vacuum and pressure design available;
  • Different power supply acceptable.

Typical Applications

Very high viscosity products that reaches up to 750,000 to 1,000,000 cps such as:

  • Adhesives
  • Sealants
  • Filler compounds
  • Coatings
  • Silicones
  • Dental compounds
  • Printing inks
  • Caulks
  • Hot melt adhesives
  • Magnetic media slurry
  • Viscous and concentrated creams and lotions
  • Toothpaste
  • Highly filled formulations such as soy-based adhesives
  • Cement pastes
  • Urethane sealants

FS High Speed Disperser

FS High Speed Disperser is a high shear dispersing unit for the production of viscous dispersions in the cosmetic, pharmaceutical, food and chemical industries. It is especially suitable for wet dispersing, mixing solids in liquids, and conjoining incompatible components.

High speed disperser is an important part of a multi-shaft mixer. It can be used either with its own liftable stand alone, or it can be installed on the tank with a slow stirrer.

Key Features

  • The specifications of the top entry batch mixer comply with cGMP regulations;
  • Suitable for cream and emulsions of 20,000~80,000cps viscosity;
  • Suitable for batch process with high efficiency;
  • Pneumatic or hydraulic lifting system for easy cleaning and maintenance;

Typical Applications

  • Foundation
  • Adhesives
  • Skin care formulations
  • Sealants
  • Color palettes
  • Fragrances
  • Filler compounds
  • Silicones
  • Dental compounds
  • Printing inks
  • Caulks
  • Hot melt adhesives
  • Magnetic media slurry
  • Viscous and concentrated creams and lotions
  • Toothpaste

Glossary of Common Lab Mixer Terms

AGGLOMERATE

The process of contact and adhesion whereby the particles of a dispersion form larger-size clusters

AGITATE

A process to place a substance to motion with either stirring or shaking

CENTRIFUGAL FORCE

The force that acts on a substance in a direction away from the center of rotation

DIGITAL DISPLAY

A device or screen used to automatically show necessary information such as actual temperature, pressure, etc.

DISPERSER

A disperser is a mixer utilized to dissolve and break down solid substances to blend into a liquid substance.

EMULSIFIER

An emulsifier is a substance that acts as a stabilizer to prevent non-miscible liquids from separating. 

HIGH SHEAR MIXER

A high-shear mixer uses a rotating impeller or high-speed rotor, or a series of such impellers or inline rotors, usually powered by an electric motor, to “work” the fluid

HOMOGENIZATION

Homogenization is a process used to make a mixture of insoluble liquids evenly blended together. 

HOMOGENIZER

A homogenizer is a laboratory or industrial machine used to homogenize various types of material and mixtures. 

HYDRAULIC SHEAR

Also called mechanical shear, is a phenomenon which takes place when ingredients are subjected to a high shear mixing effect where particle size reduction, emulsion, and homogenization occurs.

IMPELLER

An impeller is a rotating component of a centrifugal pump which transfers energy from the motor that drives the pump to the fluid being pumped by accelerating the fluid outwards from the center of rotation.

LAB SHAKER

A shaker is a piece of laboratory equipment used to mix, blend, or agitate substances in a tube or flask by shaking them.

MOTOR

A piece of equipment used to convert electricity into mechanical energy to generate force in the form of rotation.

OVERHEAD STIRRER

Another term for laboratory mixer.

PLANETARY MIXER

A type of industrial mixer that has the impeller rotate at a high speed while slowly revolving around the vessel. All parts of the mixing tank are reached by the impeller; used in processing high viscosity products such as gummy or sticky components. 

PUMP

a mechanical device used to displace fluids with the use of pressure

ROTOR

the rotating assembly in a mechanical device, such as motors, and turbines.

ROTOR – STATOR MIXERS

A high shear mixer and disperser device or equipment that carries fluid towards a mixing head and where the intense action of the rotor breaks down materials into pieces.

RPM 

Rotations per minute, or Revolutions per minute

SHAFT 

A long and narrow part of equipment which rotates and transmits power from a source. 

STATOR

the stationary portion of the motor.

VACUUM EMULSIFER HOMOGENIZER

a special vacuum-filled mixer equipped with an emulsifier and a homogenizer for manufacturing viscous emulsion, dispersion and suspension in either small-scale or large-scale cosmetic, pharmaceutical, food and chemical industries.

VORTEX

In fluid dynamics, a vortex is an area in a fluid that forms a twirling action around an axis and usually forms in fluids being stirred. 

VORTEX MIXER

An equipment usually used in laboratories to mix small volumes of liquid.

Conclusion

There are always better ways to scale down expenses such as investing in small-scale laboratory mixers. These type of mixers are solely used for processing small batches for test runs and for research and development purposes.

Ginhong can provide you with the latest technologies and trends on lab mixers. We strive to give customers the best they can get. Contact us through our website for more details! We hope this guide has given you a heads up on your next steps in buying lab mixer.

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