Choosing the Right Stainless Steel Tank: Part 3 – Agitation

agitation

Photo courtesy of DCI, Inc.

One of the most common questions we get at Zwirner Equipment is “which stainless steel tank do I need?”

In our last two blog posts, which are Part 1 & 2 of this 3-Part series, we discussed how to choose the right stainless steel tank for your application based on shape and space and heating and cooling. In this post, we are going to discuss how to choose the right tank based on agitation needs.

Do you need agitation?

Agitation is the action of stirring, mixing or moving a product within a vessel. It is used primarily to keep your product moving. Almost all products that use heating and/or cooling will need some form of agitation. Components of agitation always include a shafted blade, gearbox and motor, which can be customized to the speed you need to mix. These components must fit the RPM and horsepower that is required to achieve a higher or slower rate of speed and torque.

What is your desired result?

When choosing a type of agitation, you should consider the result you are trying to achieve. There are multiple types of agitation that produce different results, which include mixing, moving and shearing.

Based on the desired result, that will determine the type of agitation you will need on your stainless steek tank. Below are the following results that you should consider to determine your agitation needs:

  • Do you want to mix your product?
    • High viscosity mixing: Products of higher viscosity will require a heavier and slower agitator. Often times with higher viscosity products, it will require a sweeping or scraping type agitation.
    • Scraping: Agitator makes contact with the sides and bottom of the tank to scrap the product off the walls. This is great for stickier products such as peanut butter. Scraping will assist a heavy product down the outlet and prevent burn-on or freezing.
    • Sweeping: Briskly sweeps the product from the tank walls. This is great for less adhesive products such as yogurt or custard. Most low viscosity products will have a bottom sweep and with high viscosity products you can add a side sweep.
  • Do you want to keep your product moving?
    • Standard propeller type agitator: This keeps the product moving to avoid hotspots, settling or separating. It also maintains a better overall cooling and/or heating rate and maintains an evenly regulated temperature. This is great for products that settle or separate such as raw milk.
  • Do you want to shear your product?
    • High shear mixer squirrel agitator: These always move at a high speed. It cuts through and breaks up a product. Similar to how you would stir up yogurt when it is first opened. This is great for products that need to be evenly mixed such as sauces.

Agitation is a critical part of processing and should be chosen appropriately. In our 3-Part series, we have taught you how to choose the right stainless steel tank for your application. There are three main parts to choosing the right tank; space and shape, heating and cooling, and agitation.

We hope that this blog series has helped you better understand each factor that goes into choosing the proper stainless steel tank for you. For more information or assistance on choosing the right tank, call us at 615.680.3312. We would be happy to help you make the right decision!