INDCO Industry Report on Tote Mixers for 2013

INDCO INDCO Industry Report on Tote Mixers for 2013

The use of IBC totes for production and distribution of liquid products appears to be a growing trend in the U.S. as the economy continues to recover.   INDCO has experienced year-over-year demand increase in the tote mixer category since 2009, outpacing other popular mixers.  Bulk containers facilitate more efficient distribution of larger product volumes than other containers such as 55-gallon drums.  The viability of single use polyethylene totes recycled after transport versus returnable steel containers is being closely evaluated across industries.   The financial and environmental costs of returning empty stainless steel containers are high.  Overall, we expect the current growth in the sales of IBC totes and equipment to mix in them to remain the trend going forward.  Industry suppliers offer economic cap-mounted direct-drive units starting under $1,000 and more fully-featured gear-reduced bracket mounted versions exceeding $3,000.   Most tote mixers applications are for direct drive models; demand for these models outnumbers gear drive units by a ratio of 3 to 1.  The popularity of light-weight and lower cost cap-mounted models continues to grow for very low viscosity applications.

As advantageous as totes are for distribution they do present some challenges to achieving good mixing, specifically if materials are viscous.  Totes tend to have “dead spots” or areas of low material flow in the corners as compared to cylindrical containers.  Furthermore, impeller size selection is often limited by the size of the tote cap opening.    Consulting a knowledgeable applications engineer to correctly size the mixer relative to the volume, viscosity and specific gravity will increase a customer’s success rate, especially with more viscous products.   Although our limit for tote mixing is about 5,000 centipoise (for specific applications) achieving good mixing in totes can be a challenge beginning around 2,000 cps.

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