Disc Granulation versus Mix-Granulation

Part 1 of a 4-part blog series: “Enhanced Mix-Granulation in a Single Machine

The precision mixing and granulation of mineral and organic fertilizer ingredients are essential to meet growing market demand for high-value, complex crop fertilizers. Furthermore, the ability to mix and granulate in a single machine offers fertilizer manufacturers both operational and product quality advantages over traditional granulation methods..  Click Here to download the complete article in pdf format as published in Fertilizer International May|June 2022, issue 508, pp. 34-37.

Disc granulation is the method commonly used to produce fertilizer granules. This two-stage process typically employs a pin mixer (or similar mixer type) to pre-mix powdered materials to provide the feed for the disc pelletizer. The process generally requires the addition of large amounts of binder and water to create the finished product. This traditional type of granulation process is often not ideal as it generates lower yields of on-size pellets (1-3 mm) leading to high recycle loads.

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NEW Heated Pan Option for K-1 Laboratory Mixers

The K-1 Laboratory mixer from Lancaster Products is now available with a heated pan option, and K-1 mixers currently in the field can be retrofitted with a heated pan as well. The heated pan provides consistent, controlled heat throughout the mixing chamber, and is ideal for recipes that require a very viscous binder such as molasses, wax, or tar. The addition of heat directly to the mix recipe increases the flow rates of viscous materials (particularly binders) which can prevent premature binding and incomplete mixing.

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High Intensity Explosion Proof Mixers

Lancaster Products offers explosion proof mixers for high intensity mixing applications where the potential for explosions is present, such as mixing powders for 3D metal printing. Most of our Lancaster Mixers can be designed to meet explosion proof requirements such as:

  1. The ability to pump inert gas (such as Nitrogen or Argon) into the mix chamber to replace the Oxygen and eliminate the potential for spark caused by the presence of Oxygen.
  2. Instrumentation added to verify the removal of Oxygen in the mix chamber.
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New, Integrated Clean-in-Place Option for Lancaster Mixers

We are excited to announce the addition of integrated Clean-in-Place systems as an available option for all new Lancaster Mixers. Customer demand has been high for this feature as more materials processors are expanding their product offerings and running a greater diversity of recipes through our mixers, thus increasing the need for regular, complete cleaning between products. The ability to automate the cleaning process also helps to satisfy the need to improve efficiencies and counteract recent trends in labor shortages.

The Lancaster Mixer clean-in-place (CIP) system incorporates rotating nozzles permanently mounted in an optimal configuration that allows for 360-degree coverage of the mixing chamber without interfering with normal machine operation such as loading ingredients and discharging processed materials. High pressure pumps power the system to accomplish complete coverage with average cleaning cycles as short as 5-10 minutes. The ability to automate the process at pre-determined intervals ensures greater reliability and consistency of cleanliness and maintenance.

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Owner Interview: How to Grow by Design with Curt Snyder

Re-published by permission from Value Prop and the Revenue Throughput Podcast.

Jose Palomino: Welcome again to the Revenue Throughput podcast. This is Jose Palomino, your host and our guest today is a CEO, owner, operator of a really fascinating company. He’s Curt Snyder, CEO of Lancaster Products based in Lebanon, PA, and they are a solutions company dedicated to improving material mixing and processing. They design and build complete mixing pelletizing and crushing systems for a wide range of industries and different materials and applications.

I’ve known Curt for years, and I’ve seen firsthand how he’s applied some best practices and principles to grow and thrive in a number of highly competitive markets. Well, let’s welcome Curt Snyder to the Revenue Throughput podcast. Hi Curt, glad to have you here.

Curt Snyder: Thanks for having me Jose, I appreciate it.

Jose Palomino: Yes, so Curt, in my introduction I mentioned how I just focused on one business right now. The Lancaster Products that I’ve certainly grew to know you best through initially, could you just provide a brief background how you came to to become the owner of Lancaster product?

What drew you into the world of heavy industrial manufacturing?

Curt Snyder: I had been working in mergers and acquisitions for probably close to 15 years prior, part of that was in aerospace, so it’s fairly complex, highly engineered heavy manufacturing type of product. I had been traveling the world, making acquisitions, and had a young family and quite frankly was tired of being away. So much so, when the opportunity presented itself, I was able to go out on my own and I found Lancaster Products, and Lancaster Products seem to be really interesting. A heavier manufacturing company with proprietary products with some really interesting technology. Also the owner was ready to retire. So, I was able to step in and and take it over about five years ago.

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Full Scale Mix Recipe Optimization in Lancaster K4 Mixers

This is the third video in our lab and testing series. The Lancaster Products Lab is equipped with a production-sized K4 mixer to test and optimize mix recipes at full scale. In this video, we are testing a clay type of material for pelletization.

The K4 mixer introduces a third tool, the low-speed plow, which, along with the rotating pan, transports material to the high-speed rotor. You can see how the high shear counter-current movement creates a rolling action which agglomerates the materials into pellets. The K4 mixer has a bottom discharge; the plow allows for the rapid and complete evacuation of the mixing cavity. After the mixer is fully evacuated, the bottom discharge closes, and reseals ready for the next batch.

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Prototype Mix Recipe Optimization in Lancaster K3 Mixers

This is the second video in our lab and testing series. The Lancaster Products lab is equipped with a small production-sized K3 mixer to test and optimize mix recipes at a prototyping scale. In this video, we are testing a clay type of material for pelletization.

Looking inside of the mixing cavity, you see the counter-current mixing action. The pan rotates clockwise, and the high shear mixing tool spins counterclockwise. The mixing pan actively transports material to the primary mixing tool. Slowing the action down gives us a good view of how the Lancaster mixing action creates a tumbling that promotes agglomeration by rolling the particles much the same way as a snowball growing larger by rolling down a hill.

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Proof of Concept Testing in Lancaster K1 Lab Mixers

Lancaster Products is dedicated to optimizing our customers’ mixing processes and recipes. This 3 part video series will focus on our on-site lab and testing capabilities. In this first video, we demonstrate proof of concept testing with a chicken litter material for a fertilizer product.

We use our K1 lab mixer during these initial tests. We load the K1 mixer with the test material and then program the steps and feeds. After the mixer begins, we add a liquid binder to it to allow the material to agglomerate into granules or larger pellets.

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