Home Blog Paddle, Ribbon or Hybrid? Evaluating Mixer Agitator Options

Paddle, Ribbon or Hybrid? Evaluating Mixer Agitator Options

February 16, 2024

Confused about which agitator to choose for your customized mixer?  You’re not alone. Turns out, many of our customers have the same concern, and rightly so, because it’s one of the most important decisions you’ll have to make. That’s because the configuration of the mixer’s agitator has a lot to do with minimizing your mix time, ensuring effective evacuation at discharge and optimizing the blend. 

The good news is we’ve got you covered. At Marion Process Solutions we have over 80 years of experience designing agitators and can help you make the right choice. Here are some helpful tips to guide you: 

Paddle mixers 

Paddle-style agitators are specially designed to scoop, lift and tumble in a gentle but thorough mixing action, and are ideal for mixing solids or liquids of various particle size, density, and viscosity. While being mixed, the material travels in a three-dimensional figure 8 pattern. The material is constantly being pulled from the ends of the mixer to the middle of the figure 8, where the most aggressive mixing action is taking place. Another benefit of paddle mixers is that they can work effectively when filled to as little as 20% of rated capacity, thus allowing flexibility of batch sizes. Paddle-style agitators also allow easier access for cleaning between batches. 

Paddle Agitator for Industrial Mixer

Ribbon mixers 

Double ribbon mixers can perform a variety of mixing operations. These agitators are excellent for free-flowing materials that are of like size, shape, and density. In mixes with small agglomerates, the greater shearing action of a ribbon mixer can also be beneficial. Ribbon mixers are designed for thorough end-to-end mixing with inner spirals pushing product away from the discharge, while the outer flightings pull material back toward the discharge opening. Each helix spiral is positioned 180 degrees out of phase. Here, the mixing action occurs by scrubbing the material back and forth across itself. The additional flighting of a double ribbon provides twice the mixing action of a single ribbon mixer. A continuous ribbon is preferred over a segmented ribbon as the inner and outer flights form a continuous helix from the end-plate to the discharge. Segmented ribbons only span from spoke to spoke causing gaps in the flighting, which interrupts product flow and creates pockets of stagnant material. 

Ribbon Agitator for Industrial Mixer

Hybrid mixers 

Hybrid agitators combine the tumble action of paddles with the rolling pattern of ribbons to create a double reversing effect. These mixer agitators are especially effective with materials that tend to mound in the center of the mixer, thus creating a more even product level throughout the mixer. Hybrid agitators can be configured with either paddles or a ribbon on the inside or outside depending on the application. 

Hybrid Agitator for Industrial MixerMixers

While accurate mix times are truly application specific, regardless of agitator selection, the general rule of thumb is an average blend time between 3-7 minutes (after the last ingredient is added), depending on the volume being mixed. Choosing the correct agitator configuration for your application is crucial for optimizing your blend, minimizing your mix time, and ensuring effective evacuation at discharge. 

If you’re tired of compromising on your application needs, contactone of our experts for more information on how we can customize a solution for you. Subscribe to our blogto continue to get updates from us. 


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