3D printing is revolutionising the way we get things done. For example, in 2016 a commercial bakery used 3D print technology to create a better and cheaper spiral screw for their industrial bread dough mixers.
But there are other types of mixers in the world, including those that are used in pipeline and blending systems in industries as diverse as food and beverage, chemicals, oil and aerospace. These mixers are designed to be high performance and energy efficient and now, thanks to 3D print technology, these static mixers can be designed and printed to meet retrogrades, refits and different workflows with ease.
Making customisation cost-effective
Let’s say you need a low headloss mixer in a custom size that’s far too small to be economically manufactured. Previous methods of manufacture, using stainless steel or fibreglass vanes attached together, would simply be too expensive to produce a mixer such as this.
Where the geometry of a piece is the problem, the material becomes unimportant. This is where 3D printing can be a brilliant solution and can in fact be more durable than the materials it replaces as it’s less prone to degenerating under prolonged exposure to harsh chemicals such as caustics or oil.
The right solution
The use of 3D printing has obvious benefits beyond more robust materials. If a part breaks, then it’s quick and simple to get back up and running again with a 3D-printed replacement. And if a custom part is required for a one-off solution, then customers can order a static mixer from a company such as https://www.statiflo.com/ knowing that they can expect a fast and cost-effective solution to their problem by using 3D printing.
Into the future
So, what next for 3D printing and static mixer customisation? Their tubular design means that they’re an ideal resource for research and development thanks to their versatility and wide range of applications. Work is already underway to match 3D designs with different catalytic coatings to produce different catalytic reactions through the static flow mixing process.
3D printing can therefore be expected to offer one-off custom upgrades for future use that can be delivered and deployed quickly, that can prove robust and long-lasting, and that can be extremely cost-effective when compared with traditional methods of manufacture.