EIRICH intensive mixers have been used for many years in a wide range of industries to process materials such as spray and casting slurries for the ceramics industry, coating pigments for paper production, coal/water suspensions, porous concrete, microsilica and pigment suspensions. Very demanding applications have been added to the list in recent years such as production of toner for printers. New advantages of EIRICH dispersing technology could substantially reduce the cost of sanitaryware production.
Slurry quality plays a crucial role in slipcasting and pressure filtration. Preparation of slurries made from clay and mechanically resistant materials is a single-stage or multi-stage process. Ball mills are used for single-stage processing. In multi-stage processing, the clay-based raw materials are first “dissolved” (i.e. dispersed) in stirred tanks and the mechanically resistant materials are then added. Because power input is low, both procedures involve long process times.
EIRICH dispersing mixers have significant advantages in these applications. Processing takes place in the plastic phase. Because the machines have much higher power input, preparation times can be significantly shorter (as little as 30 minutes or less). Energy consumption can be reduced by up to 50 % compared to stirred tanks and ball mills. Because stirred tanks and ball mills involve longer processing times, multiple machines must run in parallel to maintain an adequate flow of material to production. EIRICH machines are faster. Processing is a lot simpler and requires less equipment.
Recent studies indicate that EIRICH technology could have significant advantages in sanitaryware slurry preparation. The results showed that compounds can be processed in EIRICH dispersing mixers without long ageing cycles. Large trials are currently underway at several manufacturers of sanitaryware ceramics. The results so far indicate that preparation times as short as 20 minutes are feasible. The amount of electrolytes which need to be added is lower and body formation time is reduced by as much as 20 %.