Are You Singin’ the “High-Pressure Homogenizer” Blues?

While HPHs are necessary at times, Admix has an alternative solution!

Written by George Nikolopoulos, Regional Sales Manager

Alternative equipment options are few when it comes to making emulsions with a small, uniformly-distributed droplet size for long-term stability. One option is a high-pressure homogenizer (HPH) with dual-staged homogenizing valves requiring HP intensifier pumps and HP cone-and-threaded tubing to withstand 20,000 psi. 

The high pressure homogenizer principle is high shear and cavitation. With high shear, the droplets are extruded, elongated and reduced in size when forced through a tight annular space (the ring and plate arrangement of the homogenizer valve). With very high shear rates, the droplets of an emulsion are reduced in size. With cavitation, the continuous phase (water) forms tiny bubbles from the differences in velocity and pressure through the homogenizer valve. Think of these cavitation bubbles as a field of land mines forming around oil droplets. They form, then collapse, causing small “explosions” that rip apart the oil droplets to even smaller sizes.

Do the same with a Boston Shearmill and spend less!

HPHs have large physical footprints and motors with a hefty horse power, not to mention they require costly high maintenance. The HPH principle works for dispersions as well, de-agglomerating clumps of solids into their individual particles. If only there were a way to do the same unit operation with less power, a smaller footprint, no high-pressure piping but with sanitary tubing instead, with a reduced yearly maintenance cost and a fully CIP-able design. Well, there is…

Trending: Replacing HPHs with a Boston Shearmill

A trend we’ve noticed over the years is that processors are turning to Admix to replace their HPHs with our Boston Shearmill™. The BSM, an inline wetmill / homogenizer is a perfect fit for applications that require finer droplet-sized emulsions or de-agglomeration of particles in a slurry.

The Application Fit… The general rule is if your HPH is running at 4,000 psi or less, our Boston Shearmill will match the performance of a HPH. The BSM can do the same job but with significant benefits including:

  • smaller footprint
  • significantly lower maintenance cost
  • lower power consumption
  • CIP-able, 3-A compliant
  • no need for high-pressure tubing (standard sanitary tubing with sanitary TriClamp-type ferrules can be used as connections)

Replacement Examples…  Successful applications include flavor emulsions, dairy formulations, cheese processing, tomato milling, ice cream premixes and beverage concentrates. These are just a few examples in which a high-pressure homogenizer has been replaced by the Boston Shearmill. Contact Admix to get you out of the blues!