One of our engineers, Stephen Benbrook, was recently published in Chemical Engineering. Contributing to the Facts at your Fingertips column, he discussed the pros and cons of three different blending approaches.
There are several factors that must be considered when deciding which blending approach to use. Below is a quick comparison of manual batch blending, automated batch blending and continuous inline blending.
- Manual Blending: The most flexible approach is manual batch blending, which also provides the lowest capital cost. Stephen notes another advantage is you can use a single tank for a large number of mixes and reactions through manual addition. However, it is the slowest and most labor intensive. Human error and variability are also downsides with this approach.
- Automated Blending: To help alleviate human error and variability, automated batch blending is a good choice. While an automated approach also means an increase in capital cost, cycle times are significantly reduced along with manpower requirements. Increases in throughput and reduced operating expenses are typical with automated blending.
- Continuous Inline Blending: While continuous inline blending has some major advantages over manual and automated batch blending, it is also the least flexible. It is difficult to easily change the mixture recipes without “a clear vision” and advanced planning. One significant advantage is that this process reduces working capital and plant footprint, while requiring less in-process inventory. You can also quickly expand the number of flavors, fragrances and products coming off a single line.
Check out the full article for Stephen’s detailed comparison chart. The article does a great job at explaining the pros and cons of each method, as well as offering a few questions for you to consider when trying to decide on which way to lean. If you want more information on batch, blending or inline blending applications, contact EPIC or speak to one of our engineers today: 314-845-0077.