Introducing Lancaster Products High Shear Counter-Current Mixer Recipe Development, the first in a category of posts designed to provide insight into our deep experience in developing thousands of pelletized and granulated formulations over the past 30 years.
We develop custom recipes or mix designs for our customers that are rooted in our deep mixing and pelletizing experience. Because every customer’s materials, parameters and processes are different, each requires a unique mix design. In performing proof of concept testing, we have worked with our customers on a wide variety of materials and binder combinations across many different industries. While specific formulations belong to our customers, we have learned a tremendous amount from our experiences with various materials and we wanted to highlight the science that goes into every formulation developed by our materials processing engineers.
Custom Mix Designs
The mix designs developed by Lancaster Products’ engineers require a high level of precision to meet each customer’s specifications. Our customers provide us with major ingredients (most commonly powder(s)), sometimes a desired binder and then physical specifications for their end product with regard to homogeneity of the mix, granule size, sphericity, moisture level and hardness. Our engineers then work through the mix design, initially designating the number of steps involved, the tooling and pan speeds as well as time at each step, quantities of ingredients, and when to add liquids and binders and timings of ingredient additions. We often go through a trial and error process to home in on the exact recipe to produce the desired product specifications. After we hit the target criteria, we then move to phase 2 of the product development to refine the recipe. We work to optimize the process to:
- reduce the amount of additives, liquids and/or binders,
- reduce times at each step and
- increase yields at targeted size range
Because the development of mix designs is often a complex and iterative process, these factors must be thought through prior to performing testing and we rely on our experience from many years of testing a vast number of materials in our High Shear Counter-Current mixers.
In 30 Years of Mixing Trials, We Have Seen A Lot
Our experience has been codified into a guide that draws from many years of mixing and pelletizing tests performed under controlled conditions in our laboratory. Our guidebook gives Lancaster Products an excellent proxy to begin a new mix design for our customers. Our materials processing engineers reference this guide as a starting point whenever a customer presents us with a new opportunity. In many cases, we have deep experience with material similar to their application so lab testing becomes fairly predictable exercise. Occasionally, we are presented with totally new materials/applications that we have never experienced that requires more extensive proof of concept testing and new mix designs to be developed, but we can reference our experiences with proxy materials to expedite development and improve on existing formulas/processes before going to mass production.
Contact our engineers today to discuss how we can apply our experience to help optimize your current materials processing application.