Home Blog 4 Conditions When Hybrid Agitators Shine in Your Mixer

4 Conditions When Hybrid Agitators Shine in Your Mixer

February 13, 2024

23-AMPG-0228_Creative_-_Hybrid_Agitators_V1_copy (1) (1)

When considering all the components that go into building your industrial mixer, the agitator you choose can either add unnecessary time and costs to your process or speed things up and help you make more money.

Generally speaking, you have four different types of agitators to choose from: paddle agitators, fluidizing paddle agitators, ribbon agitators or hybrid agitators. (Hybrid agitators combine design elements of both ribbon and paddle.)

Each agitator has advantages that can help save you money by speeding up mixing and making your production process more efficient.

But how do you know if you should choose a hybrid agitator over the other three options?

Mixing Pattern and Material Characteristics

Hybrid agitators combine the tumbling action of paddle agitators with the rolling pattern of ribbon mixers to create a double-reversing effect. This mixing method is beneficial for materials that have a tendency to mound in the center of the mixer.

The double-reversing effect of hybrid agitators creates a more even mix because energy is transferred more uniformly to the material, according to Bill Noonan, Senior Application Engineer at Marion Process Solutions.

“If you have material that has a lot of texture, body and bulk you might find it’s not getting mixed properly,” Noonan said. “You need paddles that can keep that product level flat, so you do not get material above the paddle – where it’s not going to get mixed.”

Works well with: Materials with a lot of texture, body and bulk that need more aggressive mixing, such as chewing tobacco, grout and plastics.

Doesn’t work well with: Fragile or extremely dry materials that require more delicate mixing, such as blends of coffee, tea, spice, dry soup, granola and protein powders. 

Batch Capacity and Trough Size

It’s important to understand that not all agitators can work with any size mixer.

While some paddle designs can be customized to fit a wide variety of horizontal mixer trough sizes, hybrid paddles are most applicable for mixers with a working capacity of 60 cu ft. and larger.

By comparison, ribbons and paddle agitators can be used in applications with working capacities from 1.5 to 600 cu ft.

Cleaning and Sanitation

The time and labor required to clean between mixing campaigns is another important factor to consider. Some paddles are more labor intensive than others.

One rule of thumb: the more complex the agitator design is, the more challenging it will be to properly clean.

Because they have a large surface area, hybrid paddle agitators can take longer to clean than other agitators. Ribbon agitators tend to be the most complicated and time-consuming. However, one distinct advantage of the hybrid paddle is its ability to be manufactured within extremely tight tolerances, said Bill Noonan.

“If you’ve got one-eighth or a quarter-inch of clearance between the trough wall and the paddle, that’s a significant amount of material that can be left in the bottom of the mixer,” Noonan said. “You’ll probably need someone to sweep the material out and throw it away. That’s money lost.

“Compared to ribbon agitators, the surface of the hybrid is a lot easier to clean. Plus, the tighter tolerance between the trough wall and paddle gives you a better cleanout, which helps you retain more product.”

Cost and Mixing Time

Compared to other agitators, hybrid paddles typically fall in the middle of the price range. This is because of their slightly more complex design and surface area.

Ribbon paddles (which feature a highly complex design) and fluidizing paddles (which require a higher horsepower motor), can be slightly more expensive than hybrids. Paddle agitators, which have a simple design and are the easiest to clean, are typically less expensive.

However, cost should not be the only consideration for selecting an agitator.

To get the most from your mixer, you’ll want to carefully evaluate how other improvements – like more consistent mixing, as well as faster mixing and clean out times – can help you speed up your payback period.

“For optimum cost savings, we’re looking at 4-6 minutes for dry and free-flowing material,” Noonan said. “But to really maximize payback, we recommend testing your process in a mixer before you buy. That way, you can see how other aspects of mixing, such as loading and cleaning, may need to be considered as well.”

Interested in testing your process in a Marion Mixer?

Visit Our Test Center Page

Learn more about different mixer agitators:

Choosing the Right Agitator for Your Application

5 Factors that Make Paddle Agitators a Smart Mixing Option

Fluidizing Paddle Agitators: Are They the Right Option for Your Application?

4 Aspects to Asses if a Ribbon Agitator is a Suitable Option for Your Mixer








Recent Posts