When they hear the term “homogenization,” many people think of milk. In fact, one of the first applications of homogenization came in the processing of milk. Derived from the Greek word “homogenos” (homos meaning same and genos meaning kind), it is defined as the process of reducing the particle size of an object and is also known as micronization.
Homogenization works by forcing a sample through a narrow space through multiple mechanical forces, thereby producing a stable and consistent product. Easily scalable, it is used by multiple industries, including pharmaceutical, biotech, cosmetic and food, in order to optimize their finished product.
Under the umbrella of homogenization lie two different methods: inline mixing and high-pressure homogenization. Read on to learn the differences between how the two work and advantages associated with each.
Positioned within the production line and aligned with the flow of product, inline mixers consist of a stationary stator and an inside rotor that turns at high speeds. The rotor–stator device is contained in a casing with an inlet at one end and an outlet at the other, and the rotor is driven through a seal. Mixing occurs when a sample is drawn in through one of the mixing heads while the blades rotate and is then expelled at a high velocity through an opening in the stator. The inline term comes into play around the mode of sample entry into the mixing chamber.
Inline mixers feed and output material in a continuous stream, allowing material to often be perfectly hydrated, emulsified or homogenized in a single pass. They differ from other types of homogenization, wherein large amounts of ingredients are mixed in a standalone unit before going through the homogenization process. Designed to handle all types of tasks, including emulsifying, suspending, dispersing, blending and more, inline mixers are suitable and useful for applications where larger quantities are needed for production and continuous processing and homogenization is needed during the manufacturing process. In addition to being faster than their high-pressure counterparts, they allow for a more controlled and continuous mixing environment, improve yields, use less energy and increase capacities.
Whereas inline mixers rely on rotor/stator shearing action, high-pressure homogenizers force a sample through a narrow space using force and high pressure, thereby reducing particle size or lysing cells. They consist of a high-pressure pump and a disruption unit which enable a continuous homogenization. The higher the amount of energy applied during the homogenization process, the smaller the particle size or the more complete the cell lysis. The pressure along with the action of multiple forces yields impactful results in only one or two passes. Benefits of high-pressure homogenization include consistency in composition of products, greater stability of final products and decreased cost. Also, high-pressure homogenizers allow users to set operating parameters - pressure, temperature, number of passes, valve and impingement design and flow rate – for a particular homogenization.
Pion: Your Homogenization Equipment Headquarters
At Pion, we offer a wide selection of BEE brand homogenizers that meet the needs of manufacturers across multiple industries, including cosmetic, pharmaceutical, biotech and more. Our products can help enhance your production, improve product quality and streamline your operations, all in combination with our unmatched customer service.