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Modular Process Systems & Skids

FAQ: Continuous Blending Systems

How can very large and very small flows be blended together accurately?

All that is required is that measuring instruments and dosing equipment be properly sized for each individual flow stream .in the continuous mixing system.

How do I know the product will be homogeneous?

Immediately after each ingredient addition point a static or high shear mixer is added as required. Agitation can also be provided in the finished product surge tank. Catch samples from the inline mix system can be taken to verify that finished product is indistinguishable from product made in a batch process.

Are all products made by batch processes candidates for inline blending?

No. Products that require considerable mixing energy or mixing that must occur over an extended time period may not lend themselves to inline blending.

Can reaction chemistry be done in a continuous blend system?

Many successful applications involving inline chemical reactions have been done. It depends on process kinetics, the amount of heat generated as a result an exothermic reaction, and other key factors.

What happens when continuous blending systems are started and stopped frequently?

Part of our proprietary technology is how we control mix system startup to ensure that formula percentage is held as the inline blending system comes up to full rate. Also, the finished product surge tank size is chosen to avoid blending system shutdown during brief filler stoppages. In addition, this tank provides an averaging effect for any slight perturbations that occur.

What if an ingredient runs out? Won’t we make off spec product without knowing it?

An alarm will sound well in advance of running out of any raw material, allowing the operator to replenish the raw material while running the process. Also, the mass flow of each ingredient is monitored continuously and any deviation from the set point will cause the continuous mixing system to automatically shutdown. Lastly, online instrumentation (density meter, refractometer, online analyzer, etc.) may be installed for continuous monitoring of process parameters in critical applications.

Is the continuous blending system complex to operate?

Absolutely not. Operation is intuitive, by design. Very little operator attention is required. Normally, operators are performing other tasks (replenishing raw materials, keeping the packing line running, etc.) unless an alarm occurs that warrants their attention.

Can you manufacture my inline blending skid?

Yes. Our engineers are well versed in the design, fabrication and assembly of in-line blending systems. Our on-site fabrication facility means the same engineers that design the system oversee its high quality construction in our controlled, production-style environment.

How much will it cost?

This is a loaded question, which is difficult to answer without a significant engineering effort. Some consider in-line blending to be a “cheap alternative” to batching systems, but these systems still require a fair share of engineering and design and are much more than just some pipes flowing together.

There are a lot of factors that go into the cost associated with a chemical blending skid such as; number of ingredients, number of recipes, accuracy and performance standards, degree of automation, and required integration with existing equipment. In general, inline blending systems are still less expensive than batching systems.

How accurate are inline blending skids?

Most chemical blending systems can achieve accuracy within 1% deviation of the prescribed formulation. This can vary, and often depends on how a system is run. Continuous inline blending systems that are constantly running and producing the same product often achieve deviation rates that are less than a 1% average. Batch inline mixing system that are regularly shut off and have many recipes changes tend to be less accurate.

Can you integrate this skid into an existing system?

Along with being a designer and manufacturer, we are also a systems integrator. Seamlessly integrating a new system into a preexisting manufacturing system is a regular task for us. We can either try to match the existing plant controls or upgrade older systems to work with the new system.

We provide plant controls upgrades where required. If the choice is made to use an updated control system with the new inline blend module, we will unify the new system with older control systems. This allows proper communication and ensures blending accuracy.

When is inline blending the best option for my process?

There are three important factors to evaluate when deciding to choose an inline blending. Does my process need to be flexible? Am I trying to reduce the amount of waste material? Do I have enough floor space for the large tanks associated with batch mixing systems? If you need to be able to quickly and easily change your recipe, want to reduce the amount of materials you waste, and do not have the floor space available, then inline blending may be your perfect solution.

Contact an engineer today to start discussing your system or learn more about in-line blending systems.

 

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