Laboratory Test Mixer

Relevant Codes and Standards

The extractor is CSA approved

Electrical is certified in BC

Materials and Components

Precision aluminum jig plate for accuracy and reduced machining cost

Precision liner bearings for accuracy and reliability

Project Brief:

Design a laboratory semi-automated test mixer to replace the original smaller one. It has to have a graduated removable cell that separates all of the components of bitumen.


  • Samples cannot be contaminated when taken from different levels of the cell.
  • The cell and sample are very heavy.
  • The agitator must be able to introduce compressed gasses into the sample while mixing.
  • The agitator must be variable speed with high torque.
  • Due to the cell size the drive head must be able to travel vertically.
  • The machine must be ergonomic in design.
  • There was no off the shelf replacement that met all of the requirements so it had to be designed from scratch.
  • Volume of sample and depth of extractions were set by client.
  • The mixer must be able to be disassembled and shipped easily.
  • There was a limit on the height and overall weight of the machine


The design process included input from the client operators, management and engineering. Total RPM, airflow, voltage, and dual power supply were all considered in the concept. The materials were carefully selected to ensure environmental factors did not degrade the life expectancy of the equipment. A clean and simple design was created, using OEM parts when possible, to ensure it was easy to use and maintain. The design utilized linear actuators and the auger was able to run at two different heights. A Variable Frequency Drive was installed to control the speed. A sub-contractor was hired by I/O Design to complete the electrical components and ensure the design was CSA Certified with the appropriate safety guarding and E-stop.

The machined parts were ordered and shipped to I/O Design’s office where the machine was assembled. It was then disassembled and moved to the client’s local site where it was reassembled and tested with the I/O design team present to for technical support. Once all preliminary testing was completed the machine was sent to its final location out of province along with the I/O design team who helped in the final assembly and testing.