For small scale or bulk production Tailor Made Mixing Systems

Effective mixing is at the heart of every Personal Care and Home Care processing plant. Some applications need a batch approach, some need continuous mixing: all need GEA expertise.

For many years, GEA has been a market-leading provider of technically advanced mixing systems for the home and personal care (HPC) industries.

The Mixing Experts

Offering both batch and continuous processing solutions, from pilot plant skids to full-scale processing plants, as individual modules or as completely integrated systems, we have the experience, understanding, process knowledge and group know-how to incorporate and implement these best of breed technologies into world-class plants for our customers.

A critical issue in the production of personal care products is the ability to process a wide range of raw material formats, from liquids to solids to flakes. Our expertise includes high and low shear mixing, heating and cooling, homogenization, melting, dispersing and vacuum mixing, amongst others.

To ensure both product quality and consistency, all GEA technology is designed from the outset to contribute to rapid plant development, bring products to market quickly and create new marketing opportunities for manufacturers. 

GEA’s core competence in this area is our ability to assess and determine the best combination of product and process to meet your endpoint requirements. Working with our extensive network of partners, we can arrange to test and trial an application-specific solution using in-house equipment or machinery — integrated or standalone — sourced from a third-party supplier.

 

Tailor Made Batch Mixing Systems

The batch mixing process typically consists of three successive steps, which take place in mixing tanks. They are weighing and loading of the raw materials into the mixer, mixing and, finally, discharging the mixed product.

In a batch mixing plant, all the ingredients — including powders and liquids of varying viscosities — are processed until they are homogeneously distributed or blended.

Both bulk and smaller volume ingredients can be loaded into a mixing vessel under vacuum if necessary, ensuring the efficient use of expensive ingredients such as fragrances. 

Overall processing time is determined during customer trials, when the time required to achieve the required level of product homogeneity is established. 

Mixing cycle times can vary from a few seconds with high intensity applications to several hours if additional processes such as heating or cooling are involved. The resulting mix is then discharged from the mixing vessel. 

The total batch time is the time required to charge the material into the mixer, mix it and discharge the final product. For applications in which product contamination between successive batches must be avoided, the time required to clean the mixer should also be included. 

Batch mixing is the preferred method for applications when the following criteria are important

  • precise quality control, including premixing
  • batch traceability for improved visibility, compliance and risk reduction
  • cost-effective installation and operational costs for small-to-medium volumes
  • flexible production
  • controlled mixing times
  • easy and cost-effective cleaning for frequent product changeovers 
  • intuitive and user-friendly recipe management system 
  • NIR inline analysis of density, viscosity, pH, etc.

 

Single pass and continuous mixing technology for the Home & Personal Care industry

Generally requiring a bespoke design approach, continuous mixing technology for the home and personal care sector provides a reliable and repeatable process for large-volume products.

Because every application is different, GEA uses its comprehensive design and integration experience, as well as its in-depth product knowledge, to identify best-of-breed technologies and bring them together to develop individual plants that are perfectly fit for purpose.

Continuous mixing is the technology of choice for a wide range of applications, from low to high viscosity products, from simple dispersions to structured liquids and for both hot and cold processes. It is particularly suitable for processes in which the following criteria are critical:

  • a low complexity system is needed for high volume products 
  • mixing in the pipeline is required because of limited space 
  • low investment costs for mixing tanks
  • high mixing accuracy using a variety of accurate flow meters; the specific make or model will depend on the parameters and characteristics of the product to be processed
  • integration with an inline blending system for late additions, such as GEA’s DICON™
  • NIR inline analysis of density, viscosity, pH, etc.

Process Intensification

Continuous mixing involves process intensification, which means that more product can be processed with less equipment. As this requires a higher level of instrumentation and control, there is an associated cost. However, per unit weight, it is more cost-effective than batch mixing with a much shorter return on investment time. Further, because less equipment is required, there is a reduced requirement for space, maintenance and cleaning (such as Clean-in-Place).