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:-
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
As we looked at in this articleSmart Batch Mixing is at the heart of a surprising amount of product manufacturing across the UK – and beyond.
We can identify key criteria which can influence the efficiency of a mixing process, where each element is important, in its own right.
However, it is addressing these criteria in combination and developing a joined-up solution that presents the real challenge.
Greaves has developed a systematic framework for meeting this challenge. Our proven approach is effective across all mixing processes and industries and is based on multiple factors:-
Identifying optimum batch capacity(s) and machine size(s)
Flexible fill capacity in each machine
Minimise mixing time
Minimise operator input (reduce errors)
Design for rapid fill & discharge
Design for rapid cleaning
Smart use of mobile batch vessels
Vessels engineered to match both products and production process
We recognise that it is one thing to come up with a mixer design solution but quite another to see that solution perform in the real-world. This is where the Greaves approach proves so valuable to our customers.
Greaves make it happen!
Our process is logical. Start small and flexible – but scaleable. We offer a range of services to help customers ensure they get what they need without taking unnecessary investment risks:
Off-site bulk trials
On-site bulk trials using rental machines
Greaves do so much more than design and build mixers. We deliver Smart Batch Mixing efficiency to your manufacturing.
Get in touch to see how we can help you benefit from Smart Batch Mixing
There is no doubt that the United Kingdom is home to some of the best entrepreneurial manufacturers in the world. While it can be difficult to compete with high volume, low wage economies, the strength of the UK manufacturing sector is the ability to innovate and embrace new ideas.
Greaves Mixers are privileged to work with many of these brilliant product innovators across many sectors and products, including:
Every manufacturer understands the value and importance of properly maintained plant and machinery but maintenance means downtime and downtime means lost production opportunity. Sometimes it can be easy to just keep the plant running and hope for the best!
For most of us, summer means holidays, ice-creams and time for with the family, but life goes on in the world of work and matching the time when production staff want to take holidays with an opportunity to carry out planned maintenance on critical process equipment is a great way to help ensure production efficiency is sustained over the coming year.
While skimping on maintenance may give you a short term opportunity, some level of equipment inefficiency or failure down the line is almost inevitable, and what is the cost then?:
Plant downtime when you can least afford it
Extended delays waiting for delivery of spares
Failure to meet production schedules
Lost opportunities to work for new customers
Delays in delivery of existing orders
Risk of customers looking elsewhere
Have you ever experienced problems resulting from a lack of planned maintenance?
Downtime arising through equipment failure resulting from poor maintenance almost always seems to happen at the worst possible time. What is more, emergency, or other unplanned maintenance, often takes longer to complete and at greater cost. Is it really worth the risk?
Joshua Greaves work with our customers to make sure mixers and associated vessels and other plant are fully maintained and always ready to work.
We have developed this checklist to help make certain nothing is missed as maintenance is scheduled.
If you are looking to refresh your own procedures, we hope it might give you some ideas:
Check stock of critical spares and subsequent replacement procedure
Schedule of repair and personnel availability (in-house or out sourced)
Collate Manufacturers maintenance and safety checklistsVessel – inspection & pressure testing etc.
Mixing system – High shear mixer rotor tolerances, bushes etc..
Shaft seals – lubrication, tolerances etc.
Although many companies successfully run their own maintenance programmes, some people appreciate the support of specialists in making sure equipment maintenance is second to none.
Joshua Greaves have used their experience of mixers and vessels over nearly 100 years to develop MixCare™, a dedicated maintenance service tailored to help keep your processes running efficiently.
If you would like to talk to us about supporting your maintenance programme, we still have small number of MixCare™ introduction appointments available, please visit the Greaves Mixcare™ page for more details
Greaves can help you manage your HSE machinery compliance
Greaves mixers and vessels are designed and manufactured to the highest levels of safety to ensure compliance with current and upcoming legislation. However, we find customers have an ever-increasing need for support in ensuring existing equipment is operating to current regulations.
In response to customer requests, we have introduced Greaves MixCareTM:
Each Greaves installation receives a 12 point service by a qualified engineer
Replacement parts are fitted if required
Current process conditions are audited and checked as “fit for purpose”
Safety records are audited
Stock level of spares is reviewed
Inspection certificate is issued with a summary of Recommendations
Date set for the next MixCareTM visit
Benefits of the Greaves MixCareTM service :–
Confidence that equipment is operating safely and efficiently
Confidence that equipment complies with current regulations
Reduced risk of downtime due to breakdown
Identify opportunities for process improvements
Greaves – Demand & Preparation for MixCareTM roll-out
We are preparing for an increase in this proactive approach but need to understand the demand. In order for us to provide the required number of engineers & vehicle fleet we kindly ask to click below on a simple Yes or No to register your interest:
Who last checked the compliance of your mixers, spares stock and any safety records?
“Over the past year, we have seen a significant increase in requests by customers wishing to take a proactive approach to safety, reliability and compliance. The days of reactive maintenance and spares or machine safety adaptions appear to be dwindling. Risks for operators or the cost of machine downtime when the inevitable occurs far outweigh the investment in a proactive approach. Greaves’customers prefer the OEM and our knowledge to support safety & reliability with back-up records”
Larger is Better – and justifies a higher price tag
Could this be a Sales & Marketing Myth?
Whether it’s an industrial mixer or a domestic vacuum cleaner you are looking to buy, specifying extra power and larger dimensions usually increases cost and space requirements. BUT, in our experience this approach often fails to deliver any improvement in performance or efficiency.
In many cases, including high viscosity mixtures, best results are achieved by a correctly specified mixer with a smaller, lower rated motor.
What are we suggesting?:
Outwardly most new Rotor Stator-type or in-line high shear mixers seem very similar in design or appearance. This can result in too much emphasis on one obvious point of difference – the installed motor power.
Surely more power means better mixing? – Well No, that’s not always the case…..
Numbers do matter – but it’s deciding which numbers that is important.
There is a temptation to emphasise a large kW power rating as the ultimate “trump card” in a mixer’s capabilities.
Perhaps this is because kW is a widely recognised and understood unit of measurement? But when specifying a new mixer, it is not necessarily a particularly helpful one!
We could compare this with a display of vacuum cleaners at an electrical retailer – each proudly displaying ‘3,000 watts’** as a prime selling point. The James Dysons of this world might explain that a far more important number would be the machine’s negative pressure BarG performance and the air intake flowrate!
**Even the EU is getting in on the act with the recent ruling that vacuum cleaners can have motors no larger than 1600W (reducing further to 900W in coming years).
Clearly the word is out that there is more to these machines than motor power!
After all, a vacuum cleaner is essentially an Air Pump used to filter dust-laden air. So… its performance is down to the fan size, peripheral speed, geometry, the rotating element, hosing bore and the seals…..!
Admittedly, this is not everyday terminology but most of us are well aware that certain leading makes of vacuum cleaner achieve greater suction with less power (less bulk, less noise and less energy consumption) – and this is precisely what makes them so successful. (Hats off to Mr. Dyson!)
The same point is illustrated in the way some other categories of equipment are marketed – including paint sprayers and power washers. Both rated in terms of flowrate (litres/min) and pressure (psi) with little mention of motor power.
At Greaves, we know that effective mixing depends on Output Performance, NOT power consumption
Looking at the wide range of mixer designs in our market, we see far too many cases where large amounts of “over specified” power go to waste.
Greaves develop and manufacture mixing machines in the knowledge that it is critical the power being delivered to the fluid is matched as close to the motor power as possible.
However, when the current drawn through the motor in many machines is measured, it is revealed that the mixer is only utilising some 40-50% of the installed power. Measuring your amps and comparing to the installed motor amp rating can be a worthwhile exercise. Often the extra motor power some companies shout about (and may charge more for) is simply pointless.
In reality, more power does not mean better mixing, any more than it means better suction or performance in a vacuum cleaner. It is the diameter of the rotor, its size in relation to the stator, or the gap between them, and the dimensions of the holes in the stator, that makes the difference, and high flowrate figures that should be highlighted – all the truly significant factors that we will examine in detail next time in our follow-up article – Shear Fact
At Greaves, we don’t just sell mixers. We work with our customers to help deliver the best equipment for the job. We are always will to talk so please get in touch to discuss your upcoming requirements