Whitepaper: Optimise your mixing process using CFD
Tetra Pak processing whitepaper showing how we use CFD to forecast which design changes would make the greatest contribution to improving performance.
Most applications in the food industry include mixing. In order to achieve the desired product quality, the whole volume of product should be optimally mixed, and the mixer should not impact the fluids in ways that might jeopardise the final result.
In a production setting, the mixing conditions vary at different positions in the fluid volume in a stainless-steel tank, but these variations are not visible. Thus, in order to optimise product quality, mixing time and power consumption, the liquid flow inside the tank often needs to be understood in more detail.
Tetra Pak investigates this by running physical experiments and, in addition, applying CFD by using computers and commercial software. We run numerical simulations of the conditions inside the mixing tank during our design. In other words, we use the software to construct a ‘virtual mixer’ and then perform virtual experiments with it. In this context, it is very important to ensure that the simulation results match the results from physical experiments – a validation procedure that requires some effort, but ultimately leads to a more reliable design.
Some of the advantages we encounter are that fewer physical trials are needed in the design phase, and fewer commissioning issues arise when the mixers are installed at our customers’ production sites. In addition, this way of designing mixers provides a broader range of testing opportunities, which means the final design and configuration are optimised for specific applications.
This whitepaper shows how Tetra Pak applies CFD in the design of mixers for highly viscous fluids such as tomato paste, cream cheese and hummus. Tetra Pak uses this method regularly to foresee the flow fields of the system and to forecast which design changes would make the greatest contribution to improving performance. Combining our thorough knowledge of food industry processes and broad experience of CFD for a variety of applications, Tetra Pak is able to offer improved performance guarantees for mixers to customers.