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EIRICH Mixing Granulators Part of the Granulation Course at University of Sheffield

Very few institutes and universities in Europe have in-depth expertise in gran­ulation technology. Every year, the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems (IKTS) in Dresden/DE offers basic and advanced courses for customers in the cer­amics industry. The University of Sheffield/GB stages the International Granulation Workshop every second year, which consists of a two-day Granulation Course followed by a three-day Granulation Conference.

The event used to be targeted at the food and pharmaceutical industries, but the horizon now extends to all industries. The Workshop was held for the 7th time on 29 June–3 July. As is the case at IKTS, mixers developed by EIRICH/DE are part of the program in Sheffield. Thermal processing and mechanical processing are the two options currently available for producing granulate. The high cost of energy consumed in thermal granulation is becoming an increasingly serious problem in many industries, so companies are searching for alternatives such as pressure agglomeration, extrusion and tumble-growth agglomeration. Roll pressure agglomer­ation and extrusion (using perforated roller presses) generally do not produce round fine-grain granulate and an upstream mixing step is needed for both techniques. In contrast, mixing and granulation can take place in a single tumble-growth process using an EIRICH mixer. EIRICH mixing granulators with capacities between 1–3000 l have only one rotor tool. Larger machines have two. There is no need for the high-speed, high-wear choppers which are installed on plough share mixers. Depending on the application, the rotor can run at speed above 30 m/s. This makes it possible to generate high shear forces and quickly distribute the fluids. In a hybrid mixing process, the speed can vary depending on whether wet or drying mixing takes place prior to granulation. By running the process with different tools and at different speeds, grain size can be manipulated over a wide range. Granulate with particle size distribution d50 between 100 μm and 5 mm can be produced depending on the material. EIRICH mixers are used as mixing granulators in a wide range of industries. The investment is relatively modest and the machines require little maintenance. The mixers also have other capabilities which companies take advantage of. Granulation can be important in the recycling industry to process sludge and dust. Granulate needs to be coated in the mixer during fertilizer production, etc. EIRICH helps users identify the cheapest/best operating conditions for the granu­lation process. Feasibility studies using customer materials can be carried out throughout the year at the Test Center in Hardheim and at EIRICH Group sites around the world.

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