Binders are a key ingredient in agglomerating, granulating and pelletizing applications.  Considered an inactive ingredient, binders are critical in allowing for agglomeration and holding the structure of the pellets together.  Many of our customers are pleasantly surprised of how efficiently the Lancaster High Shear Counter-Current Mixer can pelletize utilizing low amounts of binders when compared to alternate methods of granulation.    The advantage lies in the Lancaster Mixer’s ability to rapidly homogenize tiny amounts of minor ingredients into large amounts of majors.  Because the binder is so efficiently dispersed throughout the mix, only the optimal amount of binder is used.  Less effective mixing techniques require more binder than in a Lancaster Mixer, because the binder is not as effectively dispersed throughout the mix.

There are two common ways  we work with our customers:

Process Improvement

Customers with an existing product looking to improve their process come to us with a pre-defined recipe or formula for pelletizing and work with us to optimize ingredients and mix times in our high shear counter current mixer.   In these cases, we know the baseline formulation and we are actively attempting to refine the recipe and improve the mixing & pelletizing process.  Examples of  improvement outcomes include faster mixing and pelletizing times, increased yields at specific size ranges and/or reduced binder and minor ingredient usage.

New Product Development

Other Customers have ‘active’ raw ingredients and a profitable idea, but rely on our mix engineers to help define their recipe.  In these cases, choosing the right binder is secondary to developing the optimal mix process and highest yields as the binder itself typically does not compromise the chemistry of the raw, active materials.  Most binders are inexpensive, benign, and are compatible in the high shear mixing process.  There is a long list of binders available,  they can be organic or inorganic with some of the more common binders being: water, glue, molasses, PVA (polyvinyl alcohol powder), lignosulfonate, bitumen, corn starch, sucrose, alumina silicate, and many more.

Ultimately, the choice of binder used in pelletizing applications is contingent upon the specifications for the end product and cost.  Some products require binders that have specific properties such as: burn off in a kiln for ceramic applications, non-toxic or edible requirements for animal feed, or the inability to alter the end product’s color for colorant. Often customers ask Lancaster Products to test multiple binders at various price points to calculate a cost/benefit analysis of powerful but expensive binders versus less costly but less effective binders in their end product.   The engineers at Lancaster Products draw from our extensive recipe development knowledge to suggest binder choices for every application.

              Contact our engineers today if you need assistance in formulating your ideal end product or to optimize your existing formulation.

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717-273-2111

Lancaster Products
920 Mechanic Street
Lebanon, PA 17046

Local: 717.273.2111
Toll Free: 800.447.7351

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Infographic: Optimize Your Fertilizer Pelletizing Process

Many fertilizer processing facilities were originally setup with 5 or more large pieces of processing equipment systematically connected with conveyors for a minimum of 9 pieces of equipment to convert raw materials into fertilizer. The amount of work, energy, and maintenance that goes into maintaining a complex system like this is very costly.

Lancaster Products can optimize existing fertilizer pelletizing plants or establish new fertilizer processing facilities. Our counter-current, high shear mixers have several product and operating advantages over the complex, traditional systems.

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Lancaster Products Multi Tool Mixing Advantage

Since the introduction of the original K-series mixer in 1986, Lancaster Products High Shear Mixers have been designed to produce the best mixing and pelletizing results for our customers. Lancaster Mixers superior performance is due to our multi-tool configuration, counter current mixing action and variable tooling speed capability.

Multi Tool Configuration
Lancaster Mixers can be configured with three independent variable speed mixing tools: the mixing rotor, the plow and the rotating pan. These three tools work in concert to provide the best mixing results. The primary mixing tool is the high-speed rotor. The plow and rotating pan both work to move material into the main rotor’s path. The three mixing tools are so efficient at mixing, there are no dead spots inside of the mixing cavity and every piece of material passes through the mixing rotor every few seconds. Additionally, a sidewall scraper is positioned against the pan sides to prevent caking and buildup of material on the pan itself.

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