Everyone remembers from grade school that if you mix a bunch of colors together you get black. But in the world of manufacturing and mass production making products black isn’t so simple. Black pigments that satisfy specified requirements must be used to achieve the desired color, and when it comes to making black pigments, there’s no better place to start than the residual by-product of refineries appropriately known as “Carbon Black”.
Challenge: In its raw form, carbon black is a very fine powder, so fine that it has liquid-like properties which makes it difficult to handle when transporting between and within facilities. It is also classified as a Group 2B carcinogen and becomes airborne easily when in its raw, powder form.
Background: Carbon black is a waste product generated in large volumes by petroleum refineries around the world. Rather than dispose of it, refineries will opt to sell it to materials processors who process it so it can be incorporated into pigments and fillers with a wide variety of uses, particularly in the steel, rubber, and plastics industries.
Converting carbon black powder to a pelletized form significantly reduces the risk of releasing carcinogens into the air when handling. The pellets are also much easier to store and transport due to the lower flow rate of pellets vs. powder.
Solution: High shear mixers manufactured by Lancaster Products are the perfect solution to meet the critical specifications of pelleting carbon black powder. Our mixers are the heart of carbon black processing facilities as this is where the transformation from powder to pellet takes place.
It is of the utmost importance to select high shear mixers that meet all of the critical demands required for both the physical and performance specifications inherent across all materials processing facilities, which commonly include 1) homogeneity of materials, 2) uniform pellet size, 3) high processing efficiencies, 4) minimal use of binders, and 5) high yields.
Furthermore, most materials processors work with a diverse array of materials and prefer to run them separately through one processing line when appropriate. The versatility of Lancaster Products’ high shear mixers allows them this luxury which further increases their overall efficiencies.
Lastly, the process itself must be formulated and tested prior to production of the high shear mixer. Lancaster Products will run samples of your carbon black through in our in-house lab using our laboratory mixers. Our experienced engineers work hand-in-hand with our customers to help define the ‘recipe’ for processing your materials as well as ensuring that all specifications are met and the final product is satisfactory.
Benefits: The demand for pelletized carbon black is much higher than the powder version, but only if the pellets maintain the same properties as the powdered form. Additionally, the pelletized form is not prone to becoming airborne which significantly minimizes the levels of airborne carcinogens.
Contact us today to discuss your next materials processing requirement.