Perfecting Mixing and Pelletizing in the Lancaster Products Laboratory

Quality products start with quality materials. Lancaster Mixers improve material processing and  achieve better results than conventional mixing or pelletizing machines in a single machine and process.   Exploring how to  achieve better material results starts in the Lancaster Products laboratory.   Whether our customers are looking to improve an existing process, or define a new method for processing materials, the high shear mix design for producing the end product is iterative.  It starts as a proof of concept, and scales up to a production mixer run along the way refining the optimal mix program.  Many Lancaster customers consider the process through a K-series high shear mixer the secret catalyst to make their products extraordinary and give them an advantage in an ever more competitive marketplace.

Buying a key piece of equipment without knowing exactly how it will perform is a risky proposition, so Lancaster Products will work hand-in-hand with clients to establish a level of comfort with the K series mixer before ever committing to a purchase order.  For a small investment in time and money, Lancaster Products provides a complete scope of testing services. This important activity allows our customers to hit the ground running with an established mix design and knowledge on mixer operation.    Continue reading Perfecting Mixing and Pelletizing in the Lancaster Products Laboratory

Advantages of Pelletizing in a Lancaster Mixer

FIGURE A illustrates combined action of the pan rotating clockwise while the off-center mixing tool assemblies rotate counter-clockwise.
FIGURE B illustrates the path of travel created by the tools as the pan completes one revolution. Multiplied in terms of RPM, this mixing action becomes very intensive.

We are often met with skepticism when informing prospective customers that Lancaster Products’ high shear “mixers” can actually pelletize materials more efficiently than the “pelletizers” they either currently use or are considering for use in their materials processing applications. It’s always interesting to see the expressions on people’s faces not only when we demonstrate the pelletizing capabilities of our mixers, but also the improved yields and reduced processing times of our mixers vs. standard pelletizers. In fact, because our mixers are so commonly used to pelletize, some customers refer to Lancaster Mixers as “Pellixers”. So, what are the difference between mixers and pelletizers and how can a Lancaster Mixer actually work better than a pelletizer?

It’s important to point out that, true to their name, our high shear mixers can and are used very successfully in mixing-only applications. In fact, for applications where strict homogeneous mixtures are specified, there is no better solution on the market than a high shear mixer from Lancaster Products. Extrusion-type pelletizers, on the other hand cannot be used to mix products. Disc or pan-type mixers transform raw materials into pellets by imparting a snowball effect where pellets are ‘layered’ rather than ‘mixed’ together. This action does not necessarily satisfy strict specifications for homogeneity.

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Pelletizing Carbon Black Using High Shear Mixers

Everyone remembers from grade school that if you mix a bunch of colors together you get black.  But in the world of manufacturing and mass production making products black isn’t so simple.  Black pigments that satisfy specified requirements must be used to achieve the desired color, and when it comes to making black pigments, there’s no better place to start than the residual by-product of refineries appropriately known as “Carbon Black”.

Challenge: In its raw form, carbon black is a very fine powder, so fine that it has liquid-like properties which makes it difficult to handle when transporting between and within facilities.  It is also classified as a Group 2B carcinogen and becomes airborne easily when in its raw, powder form.

Background: Carbon black is a waste product generated in large volumes by petroleum refineries around the world.  Rather than dispose of it, refineries will opt to sell it to materials processors who process it so it can be incorporated into pigments and fillers with a wide variety of uses, particularly in the steel, rubber, and plastics industries.

Converting carbon black powder to a pelletized form significantly reduces the risk of releasing carcinogens into the air when handling.  The pellets are also much easier to store and transport due to the lower flow rate of pellets vs. powder. Continue reading Pelletizing Carbon Black Using High Shear Mixers

Lancaster Products Now Offers Equipment Financing Through a Partnership with First National Bank

Lancaster Products has partnered with First National Bank Commercial Leasing (FNB) to offer flexible financing terms on Lancaster Mixers and equipment.  We can structure a variety of options for installment payments, capital leases, operating leases or rent to own.  Defer large capital outlays and spread payments over several years.  For equipment purchases less than $250,000 we have a one page application and same day approval.  Purchases greater than $250,000 require an application and underwriting process.  Lancaster Products and FNB will work with you to create financing options that meets your company’s needs.

Advantages:

  • Maintain cash: Equipment financing is a source of funding that lets you hold onto your cash, or working capital, so it can be used for other areas of your business, such as expansion, improvements, marketing or R&D.
  • Turn capital expenses into an operating expense: Most companies generate revenue and profits by operating machinery, not by owning it.  Avoid large upfront payment and have steady predictable cash flows to match revenue generated from the equipment.
  • Equipment buyback or trade in options: Stay on the forefront of equipment advances.  Flexibility to upgrade equipment as your company grows. Trade in and monetize under-utilized equipment
  • Product Costing: Helps in determining net cost of processed goods down to lowest common unit (cost per batch, cost per pound, etc)
  • Tax Advantages: Lease payments may be fully deductible from taxable income, depending on the type of lease you select. Section 179 of the IRS tax code allows businesses to deduct the full purchase price of qualifying equipment financed during the tax year. That means that if you lease a piece of qualifying equipment, you can deduct the purchase price from your income, reducing your tax liability.

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On-Site Testing and Processing Options

Lancaster Products offers a unique and valuable High Shear Mixer Rental Program for materials processors who are considering the purchase of a high shear mixer to satisfy their production needs.  Rental mixers allow customers to try out the Lancaster Mixer in their own facility to determine if it is the right equipment for the customer needs before making an investment to purchase.  Rental mixers allow for an extended testing period and play a critical role in defining required specifications and fine tuning the process to improve performance for outcomes such as increased yields, reduced mix times, reduction in additives, and overall increases in efficiencies.  Moreover, rental mixers are an excellent, cost effective way to compare results of existing equipment lines against a Lancaster Mixer to determine performance improvements and calculating Return on Investment with real world data.

lancaster-products-high-shear-mixer-rentalsHow does short term rental equipment solve the need for long-term continual processing applications?  The methodology behind the science of materials processing closely follows the scientific method: start with a hypothesis–>test it–>observe and record–>modify–>test–>repeat until the final result is reached.  As a result, the majority of new projects presented to the Engineers at Lancaster Products must be proven in physical testing before they are ready for mass production, which means our involvement goes beyond taking the order for a mixer and manufacturing it to meet the mechanical specifications.  Most projects start with small batch testing in a K1 Mixer at the Lancaster Products testing facility.  This is where theories are proven and formulations are developed.  But, scaling up from small batch processing to large production runs doesn’t necessarily follow a linear scale so additional testing in a production sized mixer is recommended.

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Lancaster Products High Shear Mixers Make Glass for LCD Screens Used in Electronics

Market: Glass, Electronics

Application: Manufacturing LCD glass for electronics applications

If you’ve ever watched a flat-screen television or used a smart phone there’s a good chance the glass showing the picture was made by machinery developed and produced by a Lancaster Products in Lebanon, Pennsylvania.

glass-processing-using-lancaster-products-high-shear-mixers
Image for illustration purposes only

Lancaster Products designs and manufactures mixers and glass crushers used in processing and recycling glass to meet the ultra-critical specifications demanded by manufacturers like Apple, Sony, Dell, Vizio, Samsung and Sharp.  The materials used to manufacture LCD and OLED  glass must meet very critical specifications including homogeneity of particle size and chemistry in order to demonstrate the properties required for proper functionality as an end product.  The glass used in television sets and cell phones is extremely thin, about .3 to .7 milimeters, which is less than the thickness of a sheet of paper.  Two pieces are used to form LCD (liquid crystal display) and LED (light-emitting diode) screens which are used in cell phones, flat-screen monitors and televisions. Continue reading Lancaster Products High Shear Mixers Make Glass for LCD Screens Used in Electronics

New Ownership at Kercher Enterprises

After 70 years as a family business, Kercher Enterprises is pleased to announce new ownership as of April, 2016. Curt Snyder purchased Kercher Industries (www.kercherindustries.com) and the Lancaster Products (www.lancasterprd.com) brand of high shear mixers. Additionally, he assumes the role of President and CEO. Previous owner, Ed Kercher will remain on staff to share the wealth of knowledge he accumulated since his family started the business in 1946. Current and future customers can expect the same great service and dedication to excellence that has become a trademark of Kercher Industries and Lancaster Products.

curt-snyder-lancaster-productsCurt has served in numerous financial and operational roles over his 20 year professional career including as a management consultant for Accenture and successfully leading Mergers and Acquisitions for companies such as Triumph Group and QuEST Global Services. This experience provided Curt with a good eye for identifying healthy companies with growth potential and an understanding of how to best manage the transition. Kercher Enterprises perfectly fit his search criteria and fulfilled Curt’s goal of owning his own corporation. Says Snyder, “Kercher Enterprises stood out among the other manufacturing companies I looked into, because of the positive impact it has on its customers in delivering value and solutions. Customers come to us every day with new challenges that require our expertise and that keeps me and my employees excited to come to work every day.”

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Lancaster Products Introduces The K1 Laboratory Mixer

Lancaster Products has newly engineered their popular K-Lab Mixer. The K-Lab has been one of their fastest selling machines for testing, experimentation and development of new processes. It can beneficially add a new dimension to a mixing / pelletizing process that companies may not even know exist. The K-Lab mixers have proven for many companies to be a minimal investment with maximum dividends in product development. Continue reading Lancaster Products Introduces The K1 Laboratory Mixer

Lancaster’s High Intensity Mixer Successfully Commissioned in LWP Technologies Limited Pilot Plant

Lancaster Products is proud to announce the successful inclusion of the Lancaster K-4 High Intensity Mixer in the pilot plant for LWP Technologies. Click here to see the August 27, 2015 press release from LWP Technologies, stage 2 of the commissioning of the pilot plant is complete with the successful production of green proppant and is moving forward into stage 3 with the dryer and kiln operation. The production of the green proppants in the pilot plant utilizing the Lancaster K-4 Mixer showed improved quality and sphericity over the initial R&D development testing.

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