Fluid bed agglomeration processing
Why Fluid bed Agglomeration?
In a time where everybody seems to look for ultra-fine particles, agglomerated, larger particles might appear undesirable. But there are significant advantages to working with agglomerated powders. They flow easier, are less dusty to handle, and therefore pose less risk to health and the environment. Agglomerated particles are especially desirable in the Food industry. Agglomerated or “instantized” powders are used to create consumer-friendly products that dissolve easily in liquids, typical for breakfast drinks and nutritional supplement powders.
Fluid bed Agglomeration is one of the methods to create these functional, agglomerated particles.
How does Fluid bed Agglomeration work?
Fluid bed agglomeration applies a binding agent to particles as they are fluidized via a stream of air above a perforated plate. As the airstream suspends the particles, a nozzle or array of nozzles applies the liquid binding agent. Agglomeration occurs when droplets bridge between, and partially solubilize, then bind the particles together. Processing conditions must balance between “wetting” and “drying” the material, as both must occur to effectively generate a liquid bridge between particles then solidify the contact area to form adhesion strength.
Binding agents may be simply water, or a solution of ingredients specifically suited to the final application. Hydrophobic surfaces may benefit from the addition of lecithin or other surfactants in the binding agent. In addition, a binding agent may be applied “dry” and added to the product, which will then assist in binding particles when wetted during fluidization. Fluid bed agglomeration will usually result in a reduction of density as the void spaces between particles are increased. Instantized powders benefit from this characteristic as it allows them to absorb the liquid and dissolve quickly.
Ease of powder handling, reduction of fines, superior flow characteristics or fast solubilization are key advantages of fluid bed agglomeration.
AVEKA has the experts and fluid bed agglomeration capabilities to assist you with the development and production of your customized, agglomerated particles. From lab-scale to full production, we can help – please contact us today!