How well do you know high shear mixing? Here to talk more about it is Don Wolfe, Product Line Manager for EnSight Solutions. We talk why and how high shear mixing is used as well as how to get the most out of your mixer. We cap the episode off talking about what it means to be a trusted partner with EnSight Solutions.
Food Processing: Could you explain high shear mixing? What is it? How is it used?
Don Wolfe: Yeah, with working with customers you usually come up with an application that you want to maybe reduce particulate size of particles. And so you want to probably use a high shear type of mixer. And it's very beneficial to use our type of liquefier. We call it a liquefier; it's a high-speed blender. But you're probably going to be blending solids into liquids, semi solids, powders, into liquids. And you want to blend them at a rapid pace. You want to make multiple batches maybe per hour, and there's times when you might want to do an oil and water emulsion. And so you want to do a true emulsion where you're mixing in at a high speed, maybe with a gum or a stabilizer. And you want to blend that at not only the rapid pace, but you want to also be able to thoroughly get it mixed in to where you have a uniform product.
FP: If I were a processor, how could I get the most out of my mixer?
DW: Years ago, when they just had a high-speed blender, you would just make it into one speed, and you would just mix it at that high speed. Today's mixers use variable drives. We adjust the speeds for different shears. We adjust the speeds for different batch sizes. You want to make sure that your blender's versatile and you want to make sure that you have available for the customer. With variable impeller designs, the impeller can be used for high shear, high flow combinations, and so you want to have that capability. And then we have various models of tanks that go with our mixer that will help them blend maybe lower viscosities, higher viscosities, and then we even add jackets to the blenders to maybe cook or cool in them.
FP: Can explain what it means to be a trusted partner?
DW: To us, our relationship with the customer is everything. We learn as much from them as much as we learn from ourselves. We work with the customer probably more than any supplier. We go and actually work at looking at their application, solving their blending needs. We have a Kansas City, Missouri lab that we can run tests for them. We also have rental or demo units that they can rent and we can work with them in the field working on their application. So I think a trusted partner provides the service not only to provide the equipment, but also a way to make the product even better than anyone else.
We also have customer service that's very important to us. We have spare parts available, so maybe their downtime or their maintenance is reduced. And we can have the time needed to work with them on making sure that they're running each day and communicating with them on the blending results. Having access to our technicians and to be able to come up with a solution that is good for all.
FP: Don, you mixed in a lot of great information into this episode. I want to say thanks for joining us on today's episode of the Food for Thought podcast.
DW: Well, thank you very much. Appreciate you having us and I'd like to say that working with the customers, I think has been able to allow us to grow in the business. And we've been around since 1958 and so we started out just doing a stabilizer in ice cream and now today we're doing multiple applications, not only in food but in chemical and pharmaceutical too.