AVEKA Group specializes in
particle processing technology
offering contract manufacturing and custom
research and development services

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CapabilitiesEncapsulation / Microencapsulation ServicesParticle / Micro Bead MakingParticle Coating & Particle Surface ModificationParticle DispersionsParticle Grinding & MillingParticle Spray DryingParticle DryingCharacterization ServicesParticle Food ProcessingAdditional Particle ProcessingPortfolioView Our Portfolio Printable PagePrintable Page Email This PageEmail This Page

Particle - Micro Bead Making Services

Particle - Micro Bead Making Services
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Particle - Micro Bead Making Services
  AVEKA has extensive experience with prilling/melt atomization and employs these methods to produce our patented, innovative gel beads.  AVEKA has taken the prilling technology further, developing other bead forming methods to accommodate a range of applications, sizes, and temperature requirements. Typically, materials that are prime candidates for prilling have melting points below 200 degrees Celsius, and prilling can achieve particle size output ranges from 10 to 3,000 microns. Our prilling equipment can produce 500 to 1,000 pound lot sizes of prills, suitable for everything from industrial to personal care applications. Additionally, we can also produce food grade prills. In addition to prilling, AVEKA also features an alginate bead making and encapsulation technique, which can be used in many food, cosmetic, and pharmaceutical applications. To learn more about particle and micro bead making with AVEKA, including prilling and alginate bead techniques, please contact us today.
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Particle - Micro Bead Making Specifications:

General Capabilities Contract Manufacturing
Continuous Manufacturing
Toll Processing
Research And Development
Innovation and IP Development
Consulting
Industry Focus Consumer Goods
Industrial
Alternative Energy
Aerospace
Micro-Electronics
Personal Care
Cosmetic
Manufacturing
Medical Devise
Food
Pet Care
Nutraceutical
Industry Standards ISO - 9001 - 2008
International Organization for Standardization
Prilling / Melt Atomization Prilling, also known as spray congealing, spray chilling, or melt atomization, is the process of atomizing molten liquids or mixtures and cooling the resultant droplets to form prills or beads as the final product. In general, any material that is solid at room temperature and stable in the molten state with a relatively low viscosity can be used in this process.

Examples of materials that have been successfully processed this way include low molecular weight polymers, phytosterols, waxes, fats, hydrogenated vegetable oils, and hydrated salts such as alum. While high melting materials such as metals, glasses and ceramics are routinely processed commercially, this requires special heaters and atomizing sources, so these materials are not typically processed on a toll basis. Materials that are easy to prill generally have melting points below 200°C and melt viscosities lower than 200 cP.

Prilling offers a number of unique benefits in creating free-flowing powders from solids. First, prilling is a relatively inexpensive process for converting molten materials into a solid, easy-to-handle form. Prilling can also be used to either increase or reduce particle size, as well as for encapsulation. Second, the typical output consists of spherical particles, although the final form can vary from fibers (cotton candy is an example of the prilling of sugar, the melt viscosity of sugar is too high to form beads, but fibers are readily formed) to rods to spheres depending on the melt viscosity. Third, a wide range of final sizes are possible depending on the atomization method and the starting material. A particle size output of 10 to 3,000 microns is readily obtainable. Fourth, throughputs of 2,000 lbs/hour and higher with the above size distribution are easy to obtain. Finally, the process can be used with blended materials very easily.

Additives such as graphite, pigments, oils, other polymers, drugs, flavors and fragrances can be added to the melt to create unique beads and melt-freeze encapsulations. In this type of prill, the additive is encapsulated to some extent in the matrix of the wax, and the additive is somewhat protected from the environment. With the wide range of matrix materials and additives, prilling has found uses in the food industry as an additive delivery system or for taste masking, in the food industry for fish oil and micronutrients, in the cosmetic industry for emollients and exfoliants, and in the chemical industry for lubricant and fragrance delivery.

From our experience in prilling, AVEKA has developed innovative Gel Beads. These patented beads can be formulated to deliver active ingredients and create a stunning visual appeal when suspended in a viscous fluid. Unlike most prilled wax beads, Gel Beads can be easily rubbed out allowing them to deliver up to 95% oil without leaving any residue. To make the beads, a gelling agent such as microcrystalline wax, hydrogenated vegetable oils or carnauba wax is added to the oil of interest. This mixture is heated to form a solution and then prilled. The gelling agent precipitates from the cooling oil and forms a matrix structure within the oil. In a food system, formulated with food grade oils and gelling agents, Gel Beads have a unique soft "mouth feel." The 200 to 1000 micron diameter beads can be colored or pearlescent, suspended in oils or aqueous solutions and carry oil loads previously impossible to attain. Common actives used in this technology include: oils, tocopherol (Vitamin E), Vitamin K, and pigments. Gel Beads are ideal for cosmetic, pharmaceutical, and food applications.

At AVEKA, a number of other unique methods have been developed from the basic prilling technology. For instance, a patent pending method produces beads with a fairly tight size distribution anywhere from 100 to 1,000 microns in diameter. Another method forms beads that incorporate 5-30 weight percent aqueous solutions in the wax matrix. A third technique produces a core/shell capsule with a wax shell surrounding an aqueous center. These beads are 300 microns to 2 mm in diameter with a 25-80% fill amount by weight.

Prilling Equipment
AVEKA, Inc. is equipped to produce research size samples from one to thousands of pounds in our Woodbury, Minnesota facility. At AVEKA Manufacturing, our large-scale manufacturing plant in Fredericksburg, Iowa, we can produce 500-100,000 pound lot sizes of prills that are suitable for industrial, animal feed and personal care applications.
Finally, Cresco Food Technologies, LLC, is equipped to produce food grade prills under Circle U Kosher and Organic certifications in 500-100,000 pound lot sizes.
Alginate Beads This bead-making and/or encapsulation technique is traditionally used to produce spheres of alginate, a natural polymer extracted from seaweed. Since alginate is approved for food, cosmetic, and pharmaceutical uses, it is well suited for a broad range of applications. Most alginate beads are matrix-type capsules, that is, they hold the fill material throughout the bead, rather than having a distinct shell as in a core-shell type capsule; however, alginate can also be used to make a core-shell bead using a new patent-pending process. Alginate beads are also used to immobilize and/or encapsulate live cells for various applications.

Dry Alginate Beads
Solid powders and pigments, such as titania, zirconia, starch, and many others, can also be incorporated in the wet beads at effective loadings of up to 99%. By drying these beads under controlled conditions, a hard bead is obtained.

Starch alginate beads
1-3 wt % calcium alginate is combined with unhydrolyzed starch granules and then dried. Since the starch is in a granule form, the resulting starch bead has up to 30 volume % porosity. In use, the beads may be soaked in a liquid active to imbibe the liquid. Release of the active is by diffusion or evaporation. Starch beads are environmentally safe carriers of liquids and fragrances, and have use in the air freshener and potpourri market. The size of the dry white or pigmented bead ready for liquid addition is 0.1-5 mm.

Present Production Capacity
AVEKA, Inc. has the capacity to produce volumes ranging from lab samples on up to 20,000 lbs/day.

Advantages of Dry Alginate Beads
The hard alginate beads are excellent for delivering liquids and fragrances, for agglomeration of dry powders into spherical beads, or for immobilizing materials in water-based systems.

Soft (Wet) Alginate Beads
Soft alginate beads can be made soft enough to fall apart easily or tough enough to withstand specific chemical and thermal environments. Bead size can presently be varied between about 50 microns and 4.5 mm; processes under development promise to push the lower size limit to about 10 microns.

Typical Fill Materials
Liquid formulations; live cultures; flavors; solid particulate material and powders; skin emollients and hair conditioners; sun screens; pigments.

Present Production Capacity
AVEKA, Inc. has the capacity to produce volumes ranging from lab samples on up to 20,000 lbs/day.

Advantages of Alginate Microencapsulation
The soft alginate technique is well established and produces edible capsules with easy release by pressure and little remaining wall material after breakage. It is ideal for carrying hydrophobic liquids (i.e. oils), and is called for when capsules must be very soft, food or cosmetic grade.

Core/Shell Alginate Capsules
For a core/shell alginate capsule, the wall material is the calcium salt of alginic acid, a gel material insoluble in water; this forms a matrix to contain the active ingredient. The wall material can be formulated to be soft enough to allow the capsule to crush easily, or the shell can be formulated to be hard and brittle.

The fill material is typically a hydrophobic liquid, such as a fragrance oil, flavor oil, mineral oil, etc. The percentage fill, or payload, is typically between 50 to 90 wt. %. Bead size can presently be varied between about 100 microns and 4.5 mm; processes under development will push the lower size limit to about 10 microns.

Release Mechanism
The hard or soft alginate capsules are broken by pressure, typically that amount generated by a gentle squeeze between thumb and forefinger.

Present Production Capacity
We are currently developing production for the core/shell alginate beads.

Advantages of Core/Shell Alginate Capsules
Core/shell alginate capsules are excellent for delivering liquids to a pressure-release system, or for providing oxidative protection of oils. Oils of all kinds can be incorporated into the alginate beads, including oils for personal care items (e.g., Jojoba oil), specialty foods (e.g., olive oil), fragrances, and nutritional supplements (e.g., marine liver oils, garlic oil).

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