Planetary mixers are like common kitchen mixers, but so much more powerful they can mix products like thick adhesives, chemicals, electronics, cosmetics, and plastics. They can mix, and also knead, materials under atmospheric and vacuum conditions. They can range in size from tabletop models to industrial ones that are more than 40 feet tall. With this size variance, they can mix materials with a volume anywhere from half a pint to 750 gallons.
A planetary mixer works with blades that rotate on their own axes while at the same time rotating on a common one with each other. This technology makes it possible to completely mix large, thick batches in a very short amount of time. The way the blades rotate allows them to scrape any material off the sides of the container and distribute it back into the interior of the mixing batch. These blades come in a variety of designs such as HV blades, rectangular blades, or finger blades, to name a few. Like ordinary mixers, planetary ones come with varied speed drives. For their industrial purposes, they also come with features like jacketing for heating or cooling control as well as vacuum and pressure settings.
So who exactly uses these industrial mixers? The smaller ones, which will cost at least 1000 and as much as several thousand dollars, are used in professional kitchens for restaurants and catering businesses. Another common use is in the pharmaceutical industry. Planetary mixers are excellent for tablet granulations and dry powder blends necessary for their products. The much larger ones, that will cost tens of thousands of dollars, are used in industries that hot melt adhesives or manufacture electronics.
Ross has been the pioneer in the planetary mixer industry and continues to be the leading producer of the products. Other well known brands that make the mixers are Globe, Hobart, Univex, Niro, and Axis. Some of these companies will also rent their products.