We are often met with skepticism when informing prospective customers that Lancaster Products’ high shear “mixers” can actually pelletize materials more efficiently than the “pelletizers” they either currently use or are considering for use in their materials processing applications. It’s always interesting to see the expressions on people’s faces not only when we demonstrate the pelletizing capabilities of our mixers, but also the improved yields and reduced processing times of our mixers vs. standard pelletizers. In fact, because our mixers are so commonly used to pelletize, some customers refer to Lancaster Mixers as “Pellixers”. So, what are the difference between mixers and pelletizers and how can a Lancaster Mixer actually work better than a pelletizer?
It’s important to point out that, true to their name, our high shear mixers can and are used very successfully in mixing-only applications. In fact, for applications where strict homogeneous mixtures are specified, there is no better solution on the market than a high shear mixer from Lancaster Products. Extrusion-type pelletizers, on the other hand cannot be used to mix products. Disc or pan-type mixers transform raw materials into pellets by imparting a snowball effect where pellets are ‘layered’ rather than ‘mixed’ together. This action does not necessarily satisfy strict specifications for homogeneity.
Our high shear mixers are ideal in processes that require both mixing and pelletizing because both actions are satisfied in one process inside one machine. When using extrusion or pan type pelletizers, ancillary equipment such as mixers and conveyors must also be purchased to accommodate the mixing and transportation of materials into the pelletizer. This not only adds cost to the equipment purchase price, but often increases the footprint and requires more man-hours to maintain, service, and operate the equipment.
Two of the primary requirements in almost all pelletizing processes are to generate pellets that are homogeneous in both size and material composition. The counter-current mixing action of our high shear mixers imparts direct energy into the mixing process, where an equilibrium of force is maintained across every particle in the mixture being agitated.
Lastly, our high shear mixers use independently driven tooling, which allows for changing of speeds of each component and interchangeable tooling. This affords customers greater versatility in satisfying capabilities such as types of materials processed, yield types (mixtures, pellets, conglomerates, etc), and overall control of the process. For companies that process a diversity of materials, the cost of purchasing one high shear mixing machine to handle multiple materials and processes is more easily justified.
Contact us today to discuss how our high shear mixers can better solve your pelletizing needs.