Chemical Processing 101: Blending


What Is Blending?

Blending and mixing are steps that are frequently necessary for a wide variety of industrial processes. Because both involve combining materials, the words are often used interchangeably, however, the chemical processes of blending and mixing are technically not the exact same.

While mixing is the physical combination of dissimilar materials to create one homogenous product that can ultimately be separated into their original components, blending, on the other hand, usually combines multiple components and produces a product that has its own set of properties—usually set to remain blended permanently.

Food For Thought

A simpler way to think about the difference between the two is thinking of the two processes in terms of salads and smoothies. A tossed salad can be separated back into its individual ingredients: lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, etc. This is a mixture. A smoothie, on the other hand, takes raw ingredients like fruits and vegetables and turns them into a juice. This is blending.

What Is The Purpose of Blending?

Industrial blending is used in a multitude of industries, and for a wide variety of reasons. Blending and mixing can be used to improve the quality of products, evenly coat particle materials, disperse liquids, or fuse materials. You may need to blend to achieve certain characteristics in an end product such as adjusting consistency or smoothing texture.

The food industry uses blending to transform raw ingredients into foods people can eat. Blending and mixing are important for food manufacturers so they are able to ensure that their products are exactly the same every time—consistency is key! After all, great recipes are only as good as their execution. If a recipe is not blended or mixed properly, taste, texture, color, and appearance of the final product can all be affected.

In the chemical process, blending can be used for combining organic and inorganic chemicals, adjusting pH levels and viscosity of substances, homogenization, multi-component or liquid-powder blending, and liquid compounding. Just like in the food industry, chemical manufacturers must make sure formulas are accurate and the blends are controlled to avoid unwanted chemical reactions and variation.

Blending can occur numerous times in the manufacturing process when new substances need to be added to the product in the making. Once blended, the end product can be packaged or processed further.

What Tools Are Used For Blending?

While blending is one of the most basic operations in the manufacturing process, it is important that it is done correctly. Formulations will contain multiple ingredients, and blending technology must take into consideration the properties of the components that will be mixed together. Some blenders are better for dry ingredients, whereas others are better suited for gentle blending. This takes special technical knowledge, so it’s important for the processing plant to be fully educated on the best tools to use and is well-equipped to handle the job. The following list includes a handful of blenders used in chemical processing plants. 

  • Ribbon Blender
  • Cone Blender
  • Hydraulic Blender
  • Paddle Blender
  • Vertical Blender
  • Tumble Blender

How Can Howard Industries Fulfill Your Blending Needs?

While Howard Industries does not work in food manufacturing, we can help with all of your other chemical blending needs. We are capable of blending up to 1,000 gallon and 10,000-pound batches! Blending is our specialty, and we have a wide variety of speed blenders and equipment to accommodate any specifications you may have. We are a one-stop shop, and after your blending needs are taken care of, we can also help you with the next steps, from packaging to warehousing. Contact us today to learn more!