The answer, target market specific blending. Using globally available raw materials and blending these close to the target market where knowledge of the customers’ requirements an and area specific requirements can give the blender a competitive advantage.
The key in the local blending is value adding for your customers, supplying exactly the bulk blend they need.
Worldwide the industry is seeing an increase in the number of blending facilities. So, let’s take a closer look at what different types of blenders there are and what are the key choices to make when you are looking to invest in blending equipment.
Thorough understanding of your market’s needs and wants is important as this may define the rough requirements of a blending plant. What type of blends will you need to make?
For example, when blending fertilizers, what are the soil properties and plant requirements of your target market. Will you need to add micronutrients like Boron or Zinc to your blends?
Secondly, what are the required capacities your blending plant needs to run at. Not only knowing the capacities per year are important but also what are your minimum daily requirements in the peak season? Looking at future expansion can also be a reason to decide to purchase one specific type of machine.
There are various types of blenders but they can be separated in roughly two specific groups: the batch blenders and the continuous blenders.
Batch blenders consist of the types of blender which work in batches normally varying from 2 to 16 tons per batch. Each batch blender works in cycles, start with a filling moment, following a blending moment and then discharging, capacity normally ranges between 20 and 70 tons per hour.
The blending principle of this blender is absolutely unique. A conical screw inside the container blends raw materials in a wave motion, while always ensuring an accurate weighing of the product by never suspending any product. The bottom cone of the blender has a 60-degree angle to eliminate product build-up inside the container. A salem valve on the bottom of the blender, coupled with a sweep on the bottom of the auger ensures complete cleanout of the blender. The machine can reach a capacity of 60 ton/m3 per hour. The complete system is mounted on a digital weighing system.
Horizontal Rotating Blender
Various branches of the industry have these blenders in operation. The blending process is simple: the turning drum has internal flighting which blends the different raw materials in a folding action. The blend has excellent homogeneity, with little or no degradation or segregation.
The blending capacity varies from 2 ton with a blending capacity of 2 m3 till 10 ton with a capacity of 10m3. The weigh hopper has the same capacity as the blender and is mounted on a digital weighing system. The weighing and blending process are separated in this type of blender.
Different types of paddle batch blenders can be installed. The paddle blenders are well suited for blending granules but also for blending powdery material like water soluble fertilizers. The twin shaft high speed paddle mixer is ideal for this type of material. Both shafts run in opposite directions at high speeds and can mix the powdery material with ease. These types of blender usually reach 1 to 4 tons per batch.
Continues blenders on the other hand work continuously and can be filled and discharge at the same time. The material is blended by a Blending screw and capacities can go up to 250 tons per hour.
This blender operates with the most modern technologies. The computer commands and controls the entire continuously operating weighing blending process by means of a variable electro system. This guarantees an optimum quality.
The system works as follows: the operator fills the hoppers with raw materials by a wheel loader or forklift with bucket. Each hopper is mounted on a digital weighing system; the stainless-steel dosing conveyors in combination with the digital weighing systems ensure the proper dosing of raw materials. This system has a blending capacity of 20-250 ton/m3 per hour. The number of hoppers is unlimited. The complete blender is made of stainless steel with a hopper capacity of 4-15 ton/m3.
Adding micro nutrients, inhibitors or additives
Both types of blenders can be used to add micronutrients, inhibitors or additives to the blend. It is important to know which types of products you will need to add to the blend to make the product more valued by your customers. Depending on these you might consider adding a powder adding unit or a liquid adding unit to the blender.
Big Bag (FIBC) Filling unit
The stainless-steel bagging unit is designed to fill FIBC bags with a range of 250 to 1500 kgs. Possible height and capacity are important factors for the choice of the type of Bagging unit. Weighing above the bag requires more height but can reach higher capacities of 70 bags of 1000 kg per hour or 120 bags per hour of 500 kg per bag per line.
Weighing the product in the bag requires lower height but also decreases the filling speed, 40 bags of 1000 kg and ca 70 bags of 500 kg per hour.
Small Bag Filling Unit
This bagging line is a unit, which can process a maximum of 1000-1100 bags of 25-50 kg per bag per hour. These rates are achieved by using a double bagging unit. The single bagging unit has a capacity of 500-550 bags per hour. Both machines can be equipped with either an open mouth or ventil bag filling system. A combination of these systems is also available.