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A-Chem wins in Derby

Since its foundation in 1965, Derby-based A-Chem has become well known for providing liquid solutions to a wide range of industries.

Throughout that time, Greaves has been proud to supply the company with mixing technology. Our latest collaboration has delivered significant process improvements:

“….batch processing time reduced by up to 93% and a more stable product with a longer shelf life…”

A-Chem has developed a strong reputation for using its chemical expertise to develop speciality products in:-

  • Car care  (valeting & detailing)
  • Wood care (stains, treatments, paints & preservatives)
  • Industrial cleaning  (specialist cleaning and maintenance solutions)
  • Janitorial cleaning  (for general cleaning & catering applications)
  • Odour control (industrial odour neutralising & control products)

Early in 2017, James Davis, A-Chem’s Commercial Director got in touch with Greaves to discuss how the companies might work together to develop a new manufacturing base and lay the foundations for the next phase of A-Chem’s growth.

Implemented over a 3 year programme, A-Chem’s revitalised manufacturing capability has proved to be invaluable as the Company has successfully weathered the Covid storm.

“ We were ambitious to build on our reputation for creating innovative products, but our success has generated a number of challenges. To remain flexible and meet customer requirements we needed to be able to switch rapidly between different products whilst maintaining productivity and quality. We also needed the capability to manufacture in a wide variety of batch sizes so customers can order the quantity they require without being restricted to large minimum order quantities.

Another challenge arose from the wide variety of product properties, including flammability, foam generation, and low to high viscosities. Switching in and out of high viscosity mixes can be particularly disruptive – and costly when products require a long clean downtime.”

James Davis, Commercial Director, A-Chem

Greaves worked closely with A-Chem to understand the the detail of their issues and opportunities. This enabled Greaves to propose a staged investment plan with solutions to each of these challenges and importantly a clear business case to invest at each stage.

A-Chem has been a great customer to work with over the past 3 years.

James and his team have been open to our suggestions at each stage and have been willing to continue investing in their business to create an incredibly efficient and flexible facility. This enables A-Chem to produce some really innovative solutions on Greaves lab machines with confidence they can be replicated in bulk whether the batch size is 5 Kg samples, 200Kg, 1000Kg or up to 8000Kg

Edward Greaves, Greaves Mixers

James Davis continues…

“The new laboratory and manufacturing equipment range is now extensive and has transformed what we can offer our customers. It is a base that we can grow our business on, offering reliable and repeatable solutions across a wide range of product types. The accuracy when scaling up from the laboratory mixers to production equipment has reduced wastage of batches, and allowed improved our right first time targets, ensuring the customer receives exactly what they have approved during the development stage. With regards to High shear mixing, the closer tolerances between the impeller and shear stator mean batch processing time reduced by up to 93% and a more stable product with a longer shelf-life. In addition, the Greaves Flexi-batch system with fixed mixers and interchangeable mobile vessels ensures quick clean down with flexible batch sizes – something that is important to ensure efficiency when growing in various markets across very different product types.”

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Covid -19 Update – Greaves supports HMG Paints to expand sanitiser production

As the nation adapts to the impact of CV-19 we are all moving to a “new normal” in the way business operates and how we live our personal lives. This means many changes in the consumption of goods and services. A particularly important impact is the increased use of PPE and hygiene products. As a result, at Greaves, we have been working with several customers to support an increase in supply of the health and hygiene products the NHS, business and consumers need to stay safe.

Paint to Hand-sanitiser

HMG Paints in Manchester is the UK’s largest independent manufacturer of innovative paints, coatings and adhesives. HMG supply products for a wide range of speciality applications. Over a number of years, Greaves has helped HMG  develop a versatile mixing and manufacturing capability. A key feature is the ability to quickly switch between a diverse range of technical products. Early in the current crisis, HMG saw an opportunity to support the national need by repurposing part of this capacity to the production of hand sanitiser gel. They turned to the Greaves technical team for help in making this switch. The results can be seen in the following video clip.

HMG Sanitiser capability in action….

Consequently, HMG can offer manufacturing capacity to any brand seeking to produce its own liquid and gel product  – contact

As more people return from lockdown, the product is now being utilised by construction and manufacturing sites, retailers and utility companies.

Furthermore, the sanitiser is now available in 250ml Flip Tops and 5 Litre pack sizes, and can be purchased from,

 If you are looking for technical mixing advice for your production project, please contact us here at Greaves.

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Covid -19 Update – Collaboration helps global leader rapidly build production of sterile wipes

We are in a rapidly changing world. Consequently, little did we realise how much business would be turned upside-down in only 3 months. There is a long-established saying that change delivers innovation. The Greaves’ team is proud of our ability to adapt to meet customer needs. Inevitably, collaboration is a key element of this process.

Sterile wipes…in a hurry

Based in the East Midlands, PAL International is a global leader in the manufacture of infection control and hygiene products. Their products are widely used by the NHS and in healthcare settings around the world – expanding to 46 countries in 2019.

Covid -19 has led to a significant rise in demand for PAL’s Medipal disinfectant wipes. By mid-April, it became clear that PAL needed to expand production capacity so they contacted Greaves with an urgent request to supply 3 x 5000 litre bespoke mixing units.

Typically, it can take several weeks to finalise technical specs and place orders for this type of project. It can then be up to a further 12 weeks for procurement of materials, manufacture, 

assembly and testing. In the current situation, a lead time of 4 months+ would not work. The project needed a special approach.

Greaves, PAL and our suppliers collaborated as a team, reorganising production schedules and extending working hours. As a result, the entire process has been reduced to less than 6 weeks. All vessels and mixers are now in production and Greaves will deliver the first two units at the end of May.

While the Covid-19 pandemic is presenting significant challenges for many businesses and people, this is a clear example of adversity driving positive innovation that can deliver benefit into the future.

If you are looking for technical mixing advice for your production project, please contact us here at Greaves.


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COVID-19 Update – Methylcellulose base for Hand Sanitiser

The coronavirus lockdown persists in presenting significant challenges. Also, a central focus is increasing the production of Hand-sanitiser, a key to the UK’s national response to the Covid-19 crisis.

Recently, we have been receiving reports of difficulty with the supply of suitable gel thickening agents, typically Carbopol. However, methylcellulose may offer an alternative.

One of our long-standing partners, John Ryland, is a Director at process engineering specialist Ryland Research,

John contacted Greaves to tell us about the work his company has done in the manufacture of gelled alcohol fuel. This is very similar to hand cleaner in composition. Furthermore, the primary thickener used was methylcellulose, a common ingredient in food production.

"We have the know-how to set up gelled alcohol manufacturing plants using methylcellulose. As a result,  we would be happy to
support any company wishing to explore these options for the manufactureof hand sanitisers or similar.”
John Ryland, Owner, Ryland Research

In addition, Ryland Research has proved to be an invaluable partner over many years to Greaves and our customers. Consequently, we would urge anyone who is interested in options for alternative base thickeners for their hand sanitiser project to seek their help:-

Call: +44 (0) 1420 732237

Focusing on the positives

Since the early days of the pandemic back in mid-March, hand sanitiser has been on the radar for many manufacturers and the Greaves team has already helped several customers switch their capacity away from traditional high viscosity products to the manufacture of this greatly needed item.

We continue to work flat-out helping customers.

If you are looking for technical mixing advice for your production project, please contact us here

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Fighting Covid 19 together, safely

There is no doubt that the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak is presenting a considerable global challenge. As a result, it’s awe-inspiring to see how all in the manufacturing sector have pulled together in a period of massive change.

We are very proud of our own terrific team. We have worked together to create our Safety First plan to safely maintain production and support the needs of our customers in key industries including food supply, pharmaceuticals and healthcare.

Greaves’ Safety First Plan includes:-

  • Working from home wherever possible
  • Improved workflow to minimise contact
  • Minimum 4m between workstations
  • Rigorous cleaning and sanitisation procedures
  • Use of new digital production planning tools

With these measures we are on target to deliver current orders and have taken on several new fast track projects. Furthermore, Greaves are supporting our customers in increasing output of products key to the fight against Covid 19, including

  • Hand sanitiser
  • Anti-viral and anti-bacterial cleaning products
  • Food production

A time for positive action

Greaves help manufacturers adapt production


We have also helped a number of established customers reconfigure their production capability to address shortages of high demand items. Most noteworthy, within the past week we have advised two manufacturers of paints and coatings in the use of existing Greaves mixing systems to produce anti-viral hand sanitiser.

We are now in the process of contacting other customers with similar equipment and advising them how they too can join the national effort to produce these vital products.

Finally, if you would like to know more or feel might be able to help you in these challenging times, please get in touch.

Phone: 01706 824 191

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Greaves Solution: Capacity Up 660%

Borregaard are an innovative additive producer servicing a wide range manufacturing industries including Construction, Agriculture, Animal Feed, Oil & Gas, Food and Pharmaceutical.

The single largest use for lignosulfonates is as plasticisers in making
concrete, blocks and bricks

Borregaard is the leading UK manufacturer and distributor of Lignosulphanates.

Lignosulphanates are widely used in construction products to increase manufacturing efficiency, reduce energy usage and improve product performance.

Project Brief:

Borregaard UK Production Manager, Chris Barrick takes up the story…

“To meet increased demand and to improve efficiencies, we needed to rapidly increase our production capacity and turned to Greaves for help. Our manufacturing process is very challenging as it includes the dispersion of a fine, hygroscopic powder in liquid.  Process time for large batches was often upwards of two days from start to finish and required a significant amount of operator input.”

Chris invited Greaves to study the companies existing production set-up and offer alternative solutions.

The Greaves Proposition...
Greaves technicians conducted a thorough process review and proposed a change in mixing technology using Borregaard’s existing process vessels. The next step was to perform small-scale trials in Greaves MixLab R&D centre. The trials confirmed the suitability of the new technology which gave Borregaard confidence to invest in Greaves full-scale solution.

The Results...

The first two Greaves mixers were installed in Borregaards existing 5000L & 24000L vessels and had an immediate impact on operations.

Chris Barrick continues: ” This has resulted in improved efficiencies for operators and production output.  We are now able to produce 5 times more product in our larger process and 10 times more product in our smaller process over the same period of time as previous methods of mixing technology had produced.

We are extremely pleased with the outcome and would like to thank the team at Greaves Mixers for helping us to achieve this significant step forward in our production efficiencies and capacity.”

Project Update...

The Borregaard parent company has been so pleased with the commercial success of this new technology that they have now made funds available for investment in 3 new vessels and mixers.

Greaves is delighted to work with Borregaard and its team and we look forward to assisting their future growth.

If you have an issue with mixing capacity and would like to talk to Greaves, please get in touch.

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Productivity = Sales = ROI

Continuing our theme of continuous process improvement, the Greaves team reviewed the productivity impact of customer investment across a range of sectors.

With capacity increase of 70% to 1300% ROI is rarely an issue.

Click the + to see the results from each project

PROJECT 1 – Cosmetics

Product: Aromatic Solutions
Process: Dissolution
Volume: 100L

Cycle Time Reduction: 79.5%
Daily Capacity Increase: 387%
New Daily Capacity: 6000L

PROJECT 2 – Construction

Product: Pulp slurry
Process: Fine powder hydration
Volume: 4000L

Cycle Time Reduction: 87.5%
Daily Capacity Increase: 700%
New Daily Capacity: 32000L

PROJECT 3 – Consumer

Product: Childrens Paint
Process: Pigment dispersion
Volume: 900L

Cycle Time Reduction: 91.7%
Daily Capacity Increase: 1300%
New Daily Capacity: 14400

PROJECT 4 – Pharma

Product: Ointment
Process: Fine powder dispersion
Volume: 200L

Cycle Time Reduction: 50%
Daily Capacity Increase: 100%
New Daily Capacity: 3200L

PROJECT 5 – Chemicals

Product: Grease
Process: Cold wax blending
Volume: 5000L

Cycle Time Reduction: 41.7%
Daily Capacity Increase: 71%
New Daily Capacity: 4285L

PROJECT 6 – Food

Product: Xanthan Gum
Process: Fine powder hydration
Volume: 50L

Cycle Time Reduction: 83.3%
Daily Capacity Increase: 500%
New Daily Capacity: 1600L

Whilst the combination of different mixing technologies have been used in these projects, the improvements have been achieved by employing the most appropriate technical solution for each individual case.

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Powders into liquid – A new solution to an old mixing problem

The Problem

The dispersion of fine powder in a liquid can be a challenging process throughout pharma, cosmetics/healthcare & food manufacturing. Example applications include:

  • Foods – Garlic to cold water, pectin, starch, xanthan gum, cornflour, carbon black
  • Pharma & Cosmetics – Carbopol, calcium carbonate, titanium dioxide, sorbitol

The issue often arises where manufacturers are using inappropriate or outdated mixing technology. The issues can include:

  • Excessive mixing time – often measured in hours
  • Slow manual addition of raw materials
  • Floating agglomerates and  “fish-eyes”
  • Risk of unreliable operator input with results highly dependent on operator skill
  • The common need to pre-heat liquid base is slow & energy-inefficient
  • Unstable suspensions can be prone to separation (meaning short shelf-life)
  • Powder adheres to support pillars and support bushes. (wear, cleaning & maintenance issues)
  • Difficult-to-clean systems present hygiene risks

The traditional approach

Historically, when faced with the “powder-liquid problem” manufacturers usually try two techniques:

  • Impeller / propeller (perhaps at high speed)
  • High shear mixer (rotor-stator type)

Neither of these approaches is guaranteed to resolve the powder/liquid problem and almost invariably results in lower productivity than optimum solution.


The Greaves’ solution – the High-Speed Disperser™ (HSD)

Greaves’ High-Speed Disperser™ technology has been developed specifically to tackle the problems associated with mixing lightweight, difficult-to-wet powders.

The HSD solution involves:

  • Creation of a deep vortex which immediately draws powder into the mixing zone allowing:
    • Rapid addition of powder
    • Greatly reduced surface agglomeration
  • High-speed, serrated disc impeller delivering:
    • Rapid powder incorporation and dispersion
    • Dispersion of agglomerates
    • Consistent flow and downthrust

The benefits of Greaves’ HSD mixers include

  • Significant increase in productivity – cycle time in minutes rather than hours
  • Reduced operator input – easier to use
  • Hygienic construction – easy clean-down
  • Cold mixing – no slow, expensive pre-heating
  • Improved product consistency and stability

This video demonstrates the Greaves’ solution in action…

For further information please see

Our focus is on delivering real benefit to our customers. We are happy to arrange mixer trials to demonstrate the effectiveness of our approach.

If you are interested in finding out more, please get in touch

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Smart Batch Mixing – Examples & variants

Here are just a few examples of Smart Batch Mixing solutions developed and delivered by Greaves Mixers:

Cosmetic Lotions & Creams

Typical installation:

  • 2-3 mixing stations for pre-mix e.g. Carbopol
  • Final product with 4 mobile vessels per mixer

Pre-mix offers product flexibility while mobile vessels offer volume flexibility

Carbopol dispersion, 35,000cps

1000L high-shear mixer – cosmetics sector

Food Processing

Typical installation for sauces, marinades etc.

  • Pre-mixes – Dedicated mixer with 3-4 vessels per mixer
  • Final products – Dedicated mixer with 3-4 vessels per mixer

Pre-mix offers product flexibility while mobile vessels offer volume flexibility

Mobile Mixer – Food Processing

Food Product Vessel


Typically many recipes, smaller volumes, rapid change

Typical Installation:

  • 8 vessels per mixing station
  • Industrial dishwasher

Multiple vessels allow high product and volume flexibility while dishwasher delivers rapid clean down

Mixer for Fragrances

Mixer with mobile vessel

Vaping liquids (E-Cigarette)

A relatively new sector – actually similar to fragrances.

Typical Installation:

  • 5 to 8 multi-size vessels for popular flavours
  • Volume flexibility for specialist/seasonal flavours

Low-medium volume flexibility with rapid product switch are key in the e-cigarette/vaping sector

25L E-cig liquid batch mixer

Vaping liquid batch mixer. Mobile & flexible

 High spec marine adhesives

Typical Installation

  • Mobile vessels with heating jacket
  • Vacuum facility for de-gassing

Ability to deliver specialist materials at key location around a large shipyard

High Viscosity Adhesive, requiring full vacuum de-gassing mixer

Dual action disperser with full vacuum

High performance coatings

  • Up to 8 vessels – range of sizes
  • Mobile vessels with cooling jackets
  • Full ATEX spec for solvent-based chemistry

High-spec flexibility with rapid process time

Children’s fun paint, 1000L HSD at 12,000cps

Mobile Vessel with cooling

High-Shear coatings mixer


  • Smaller batch sizes
  • Detailed URS
  • cGMP & EHEDG specification
  • Sanitary design

High-spec equipment for demanding applications

Pharmaceutical batch mixer

Specialist pharma mixer

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Case Study – Seeing the Light

Greaves Client-

Unigel is a leading player in the global expansion of  optic fiber data cables.

The company produces filling gels for insulating and “water-blocking” optical fiber cables – especially relevant in ensuring cable efficiency and reliability. Unigel has recently extended its existing UK and US manufacturing capability by opening a new factory Malaysia.

Unigel engineers had identified inefficiencies in parts of their process, therefore they turned to Greaves for a mixing solution that delivers product consistency and process efficiency across all its sites


Project brief

Unigels’s Ady Chisholm summarised the challenge as follows:-

“We dissolve granulated polymer in hot oil as part of our manufacturing process. This is the key stage to determine batch times.

Historically we have used top mounted high shear mixers in vessels with a typical working capacity of 2000ltr+.

We have encountered problems with previous tank designs with dead spots and lack of flow through the tank, as a result we were experiencing inefficient dissolving of the polymer granules. So when the project for the Malaysian plant got underway we decided to contact Greaves for a solution”

The Solution

A thorough review of  gel mixing processes in Unigel’s  existing factories highlighted an opportunity to improve efficiency by adding a mass flow turbine.

Lab trials confirmed this approach and Unigel accepted Greaves’s recommendation to do a full scale test by upgrading an existing process tank in their US factory. This test delivered in a 25% reduction in process time and gave the customer confidence to roll out the same design in new equipment.

Greaves designed two 2000ltr working capacity process tanks for Unigels new Malaysia plant. Each tank has a high shear mixer, with a head designed to increase flow, as well as a second incorporator to assist flow and remove dead spots where polymer can agglomerate on the surface.

Unigel have since decided to add another  50% higher capacity machine to the Malaysian factory.


Unigel are now  achieving consistent quality product and increased efficiency across manufacturing sites in US, Europe and Asia.

Unigels’s Ady Chisholm  commented :-

“Our collaboration with Greaves is delivering great results. All our factories have seen production efficiency gains. We now have confidence in consistent product quality across sites and batch sizes. An additional production line in Malaysia is now being planned and we have naturally asked Greaves to provide a design. The new process tank will have a 3500ltr working volume”