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Scale-up for Mixing of Solids Using EIRICH Technology

Scaling-up of mixers is a regular requirement when mixes which are developed and tested in the laboratory are needed in larger quantities or when production is to be started after completion of the development phase. A large range of criteria need to be taken into account. The need to transfer values from a laboratory system to a production system is a regular requirement in every industry.

When it comes to scaling-up, the volume of the process material increases to the third power but the wall surfaces of the unit only to the second power. In pushing mixers (e.g. ring-trough and planetary mixers) and mechanical mixers (e.g. ploughshare mixers), therefore, additional tool sets are required; the power density in the process material changes. In the case of ploughshare mixers there is the additional requirement for high-speed choppers to assist with the mixing process and disagglomerate very fine materials, the effect of which, according to the literature, is not scale-up-compatible. For developers in particular, it is desirable for the process to be capable of being trans­ferred to larger units straightforwardly as from a certain laboratory mixer. In such a case, it is an advantage if the laboratory mixer is a mixer with a mixing principle which permits upscaling.

Due to the design of EIRICH/DE mixers, only a single mixing tool is required for any mixer between 1–3000 l, namely the rotor. The rotating container transports the mix, while the tool has only to mix. It requires virtually no contact with the bottom, friction and wear are minimized. The tools can therefore run faster as well, if required. The energy input into the process material can be very precisely defined by means of the mixing tool type, the tool speed and the rotation direction. The parameters vary according to the specific application but, once defined, generally remain unchanged when it comes to upscaling. Within a single revolution of the container, 100 % of the mix is moved by the tool, the mixer therefore mixes without demixing. The system-immanent characteristics of EIRICH mixing technology therefore enable the process parameters to be easily transferred to production machines, production can usually be started without any further extensive adjustment work. The test centres at all EIRICH sites around the world have mixers available for trials starting in sizes of just 1 l. This enables the diverse possibilities available for mixing, granulating, coating, kneading, and dispersing to be demonstrated.

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