​There are very few solid and liquid ingredients that the right ribbon blender cannot mix to the desired consistency, density and texture. Indeed, such is its versatility that it’s one of must-have pieces of equipment in the food and beverage, agricultural, and pharmaceutical and chemical industries used for a wide range of applications. These include blending dry powders, pellets, flakes and pellets; making liquid-solid suspensions; and creating slurries, to name a few, with the results including industrial food mixers products, polymer blends, cosmetic powders, fertilizers, chemical additional, and ceramic powders.

But virtually every ribbon blender must be made according to the specific requirements and applications of the user. This is because every user has specific uses for each blender as well as specific material densities, shapes and sizes, among other factors. Even with off-the-shelf, ready-made blenders, the user must still make adjustments for its safe, effective and efficient use.

With that being said, here are a few things that you must consider when making the right choice in a ribbon blender.

Standard-duty or Heavy-duty

There are good reasons that a standard-duty ribbon blender shouldn’t be used for heavy-duty blending in the same way that a heavy-duty ribbon blender should be used for heavy-duty jobs. Under-filling the blending equipment can result in damage to both the unit and the ingredients in it, which will shorten the former’s life and render the latter as unusable (i.e., sub-par quality).

You must then verify the actual bulk density of the products that will be mixed in the ribbon blender – the more accurate, the better your choice will be in the equipment. You have to keep in mind that blender models are usually assigned volume capacities while batch sizes are made out by weight. Your job is to ensure that the desired batch volume – not the batch weight – actually corresponds to the blender’s size.

You will, fortunately, find several models of both standard-duty and heavy-duty ribbon blenders. Standard-duty blender can usually handle approximately 35 lb./cu. ft. of bulk densities while heavy-duty blenders are designed for products with denser bulk.

Belt Drive or Direct Drive

In older ribbon blenders, a belt drive is used for power transmission between a unit’s motor and gear reducer. The system may include a set of pulleys, which contribute to the generation of the desired torque and speed ranges, as well as flexible belts.

In newer models, in contrast, ribbon blenders are equipped with a one-piece motor reducer known as a gearmotor. Its design allows for high dynamic capacity, which is crucial in the high start-and-stop cycles of mixing operations.

Indeed, manufacturers usually recommend gearmotor-driven ribbon blenders over belt-driven and chain-driven designs because of their better overall performance and lesser maintenance. Plus, gemotors also work better with electronic inverters, which have several advanced features like overload protection, variable speed controls, and adjustable starting torques. There’s also the benefit that issues like excessive noise as well as belt stretching and slippage are eliminated when a direct drive ribbon blender is used.

The bottom line: You should invest in a ribbon blender with the right features and functions – and it starts with discussing your needs and wants with a reliable manufacturer.