What are the Different Types of Agitators Used in Industrial Applications?
Agitators are an essential element in a wide variety of industrial applications. While agitators are diverse in their design and size, they all work to stir or shake an object or substance in order to achieve homogeneity or promote some other goal that can only be achieved through motion. In this blog, we will discuss everything you need to know about agitators and their use in different industries.
A typical agitator consists of a rotating shaft and an impeller, which is a rotor that increases the pressure and flow of liquids and semisolids. The rotating shaft is connected to a motor with a gearbox that controls the system's speed. Impellers are typically stacked vertically, and the number may vary depending on the amount of media being mixed. Agitators also differ in the number of blades equipped on each impeller, with most having 2-6.
Paddle agitators implement 2-4 rectangular, slow-moving blades on the impeller unit. Due to the flatness of their blades, paddle agitators are only used in laminar flow fluids applications and semisolid substances as they are cooling. Paddle agitators are generally chosen for heavy-duty operations, as their energy demand is high and mixing time is relatively slow.
Anchor agitators are explicitly designed to mix fluids with high viscosity, such as adhesives and paint. Their blades are designed like a ship's anchor, extending down to the bottom of the mixing chamber while also hugging the walls. Maintaining a high heat transfer rate while sustaining contact with the media, these powerful agitators can be found in many chemical labs and pharmaceutical manufacturing plants. The major downside to this design is the high-power requirements of the gearbox and motor.
Using blades resembling a jet engine, propeller agitators can achieve high-speed mixing of low viscosity products. They are frequently made with a tough glass lining, making them corrosion-resistant and durable. While this robust design provides superior homogeneity and suspension, it also requires a high-speed motor for operation.
Turbine agitators combine centrifugal and rotational motion to effectively mix liquids over a wide range of viscosities. With excellent dispersion capabilities, turbine agitators are popular in the metal extraction and grease industries. Designed for use in all but the most viscous of media, turbine agitators have a reputation for operational flexibility and long lifespans.
Implementing a screw-like design for their blades, the rugged helical agitators are designed to withstand liquids with high viscosity. With their unique capabilities, helical agitators are popular in the food and cosmetic industry for creams, pastes, and lotions. However, these specialized agitators come at a premium, making them uneconomical for any other type of substance mixing.
Choosing the suitable agitator is mainly determined by the media being mixed. If it is a low-viscosity fluid that can easily be blended by a cheaper agitator, there is no reason to purchase a specialized system. Another factor worth considering is the potential for corrosion by the solution, and if it is high, it is crucial to purchase a system with safeguards such as glass linings.
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