Homogenizer Configurations for In-Line Processing

Lab homogenizers are versatile tools used to mix, emulsify, disperse, disrupt and otherwise subject materials to a violent action by passing them through what is called a rotor-stator generator.  For simplification we’ll say that homogenizers “mix.”

Rotors are powered by a drive motor, most of which have controllable speeds.   The processing end of the rotor shaft has sharply machined teeth designed for specific mixing action.  These interact with compatibly machined slots on the stationary stator tube attached to drive motor casing.  In one configuration mixing is accomplished in a beaker containing the sample being processed.  When activated, the rotor draws the sample up into the stator tube and violently propels it through the slots.

In this homogenizing configuration the sample remains in the beaker until the processing is completed, after which it is passed on to the next processing step.

In-Line Homogenizing

Another configuration is integrating a homogenizer with a processing line.   This allows the material being mixed to transit from point A to point B via the rotor-stator generator.  In this configuration a processing assembly called a flow-through chamber contains the generator and at the same time serves as a pump to move the material along the processing line.  It is equipped with an inlet and outlet to which tubes are attached to receive and discharge the formulation.

There are several features of this configuration that may offer benefits not provided by stationary processing in a beaker.

  1. Pre-mixed material  can be held in large containers
  2. Constant attention to the homogenizing process is unnecessary
  3. Dwell time in the flow-through chamber can be controlled by restricting the outlet flow
  4. Homogenized material is directed to the next processing step without human intervention (or)
  5. Homogenized material can be returned to the origination vessel for ongoing processing
  6. The entire system can be totally enclosed with originating and receiving containers properly vented when processing volatile formulations

In-Line Homogenizing Equipment

CAT DK 30 and DK40 flow through chambers are ideally suited to this operation by processing 3,000 to 5,000 liters per hour depending on the model and the rotor shafts used.  The DK30 model is positioned vertically with the inlet tube mount at the bottom and outlet tube mount on the side.   The larger DK40 model is positioned horizontally on a plate to receive the drive motor.  The inlet tube receptacle is mounted to the removable chamber lid; the outlet tube receptacle is at the top.  A special feature of the DK40 is that it is equipped with a jacket through which water or another coolant can be circulated.  This is especially important if the material being processed is heat sensitive.

For more info see our article, “Hot to Use CAT Homogenizer Flow-Through Chambers”, or download and fax us our homogenizer questionnaire .

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Bob Wilcox

Bob Wilcox has represented CAT Scientific’s family of homogenizers, magnetic stirrers, liquid handling and related laboratory equipment since 2002 when Staufen, Germany-based CAT Ingenieurbüro M. Zipperer GMbH established operations in North America. Bob oversees CAT Scientific laboratory apparatus sales and service organization from the company’s headquarters in Paso Robles, CA. He also is in charge of the parent company’s line of JetCat jet turbines, turboprop, and helicopter power plants for hobbyists’ radio controlled fixed wing and helicopter model aircraft. -- Earlier in Bob’s career he was involved in visual and special effects as well as camera and electronics supervisory responsibilities for the motion picture and television industry.

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