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Today's market increasingly requires consistent homogeneity and short mixing times for the industrial production of ready-mix concrete, and more so for precast/prestressed concrete. This has resulted in refinement of mixing technologies for concrete production. Different styles of stationary mixers have been developed, each with its own inherent strengths targeting different parts of the concrete production market.
The most common industrial concrete mixers used today fall into 3 categories: Twin-shaft mixers, known for their high intensity mixing, and short mixing times. These mixers are typically used for high strength concrete, RCC and SCC, typically in batches of 2–6 m3 (2.6–7.8 cu yd). Vertical axis mixers, most commonly used for precast and prestressed concrete.
This style of mixer cleans well between batches, and is favoured for coloured concrete, smaller batches (typically 0.75–3 m3 or 0.98–3.9 cu yd), and multiple discharge points. Within this category, the Pan mixers are losing popularity to the more efficient Planetary (or counter-current) mixers as the additional mixing action helps in production of more critical concrete mixes (colour consistency, SCC, etc.).
Drum mixers (reversing drum mixer and tilting drum mixers), used where large volumes (batch sizes of 3–9 m3 or 3.9–12 cu yd) are being produced. This type of mixer dominates the ready-mixed market as it is capable of high production speeds, ideal for slump concrete, and where overall cost of production is important. Drum mixers have the lowest maintenance and operating cost of the three styles of mixers.
All the mixer styles have their own inherent strengths and weaknesses, and all three styles of mixers are used throughout the world to varying degrees of popularity.