The term “workhorse” has many connotations. It can represent an individual who does more than his share to keep things running. It can mean a group of people or a company that puts in extra hours to ensure quality and quantity are at their highest. Or, it can actually mean a real workhorse. In the manufacturing world, it represents a machine that has been around for decades which has helped increase productivity and supply. In this case, we would be talking about the paddle blender.
The paddle blender is one of many industrial blending machines used to combine food-grade, pharmaceutical-grade, or chemical-grade materials into a final product which maintains the same potency, color, flavor, and texture throughout. Paddle blenders have been the norm over the decades to produce any number of products which require a gentler mixing than what is done with, say, a ribbon blender. And, most likely, you have seen one at some time or another.
The machine consists of a U-shaped, horizontal trough. Inside this trough is an agitator equipped with multiple paddles. These paddles are positioned in such a way to move materials in opposing lateral directions and radially. Paddle blenders tend to mound the mixed product into it center unless its liquid in form. Overall, paddle blenders are one of the easier industrial mixers to load and unload.
This type of blender is used for many applications. For example, on the food side, paddle blenders are used to coat nuts, mix items like seas food salad, or create slurries used in products like spaghetti sauce. In construction, paddle blenders are utilized to generate colorful swirl patterns in concrete or stucco tiles. They can even cook material while it is blended if a heating jacket is attached.
Many companies, like AIM Blending Technologies, have been producing paddle blenders for generations and know the ins and outs of the product and what is right for a manufacturing plant. Regardless if you have a full manufacturing plant or are starting out with a small business, you may wish to contact a blending technology company to determine if a paddle blender is going to be what you need as opposed to hand mixing your materials.