Homogenizers go by a lot of different names. Depending on the industry and the type of application or effect needed, people use a lot of different words to talk about the equipment they use: blender, whisk, sonicator, tissue tearor, bead mill, high shear mixer; mechanical, high pressure, ultrasonic. These are just a few of them! It can be hard to keep track of all the terms and how each might be different from the others. For instance, a high pressure homogenizer is quite different from a standard mechanical homogenizer, although both make use of one or more types of physical force. In high pressure homogenizing systems, for example, pressure is used to force a liquid sample through small holes to break apart and mix it. In mechanical homogenizers, a sample is usually cut, crushed or ground into smaller components. Indeed, the type of force(s) wielded is one of the homogenizer’s biggest differentiators, allowing it to work well with some samples and not so well with others.
Today, picking the right homogenizer depends on the sample you have and the end product you want. But if you go back to the beginning of homogenizing history, you will find only one type of homogenizer, the Gaulin Homogenizer. The Gaulin Homogenizer was the world’s first homogenizer, patented in France in 1899 by Auguste Gaulin and showcased at the 1900 Paris Exposition. Among the diesel engine and the moving sidewalk and talking film projections, the Gaulin Homogenizer was a veritable star. It solved the problem of milk separating into cream by effectively emulsifying the two together, thereby allowing the milk industry to more readily and easily stabilize their milk products. Gaulin’s homogenizer worked using a three-piston pump to propel a stream of milk and cream through a tiny orifice. The pressure of forcing both through such a small space forcibly combined them, making it harder for them to separate over time. In 1909, American businessman Robert Manton Burnett founded the Manton-Gaulin Company and starting selling the Gaulin Homogenizer to ice cream manufacturers. Over the next 100 years, the company changed ownership and merged with several other companies and can now be found for sale under a specific Gaulin® trademark. In a nod to Gaulin’s contribution, however, many people still call any high pressure homogenizer a “gaulin homogenizer.”
Want to Learn More?
High pressure homogenizers (HPH) can be used in a variety of industries, not just the food and beverage one. If you would like more information regarding the applications and specifications for our HPH equipment, please contact a member of our team here at BEE International. We believe our patented Emulsifying Cell system, along with our proprietary combination of turbulent premixing, cavitation, high shear and impact forces make our machines uniquely equipped for superior performance, guaranteeing high pressure pasteurization, particle size reduction, as well as dispersions, micro and nano emulsions and cell disruption as needed!