News | Bulk Material Processing Industry

Introducing Lancaster Products High Shear Counter-Current Mixer Recipe Development

Introducing Lancaster Products High Shear Counter-Current Mixer Recipe Development, the first in a category of posts designed to provide insight into our deep experience in developing thousands of pelletized and granulated formulations over the past 30 years.

We develop custom recipes or mix designs for our customers that are rooted in our deep mixing and pelletizing experience. Because every customer’s materials, parameters and processes are different, each requires a unique mix design. In performing proof of concept testing, we have worked with our customers on a wide variety of materials and binder combinations across many different industries. While specific formulations belong to our customers, we have learned a tremendous amount from our experiences with various materials and we wanted to highlight the science that goes into every formulation developed by our materials processing engineers.

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The Role of Binders in High Shear Mixing, Pelletizing, and Granulating

Binders are a key ingredient in agglomerating, granulating and pelletizing applications. Considered an inactive ingredient, Binders are critical in allowing for agglomeration and holding the structure of the pellets together. Many of our customers are pleasantly surprised of how efficiently the Lancaster High Shear Counter Current Mixer can pelletize utilizing low amounts of binders when compared to alternate methods of granulation. The advantage lies in the Lancaster Mixer’s ability to rapidly homogenize tiny amounts of minor ingredients into large amounts of majors. Because the binder is so efficiently dispersed throughout the mix, only the optimal amount of binder is used. Less effective mixing techniques require more binder than in a Lancaster Mixer, because the binder is not as effectively dispersed throughout the mix.

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Lancaster Products High Shear Mixer Design Enhancements – Discharge Assemblies

Lancaster Products has introduced design enhancements to the K-Series High Shear Counter Current Mixer line. Through our continuous improvement initiatives our engineers identified various areas of design refinement focused on improving our customer’s maintenance experience, reducing manufacturing time and enhancing the mixer’s overall design. We are featuring our new and enhanced discharge assembly design.

Keyless connections

Lancaster Product engineers created a simple yet elegant solution to improve the discharge valve design by moving from a keyed assembly to a keyless locking device. The new design is less complex than its predecessor and performs better than the previous discharge style. The new keyless connection enhances performance over the old design and will be easier to maintain and service.

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Improvements in Processing Chicken Manure Based Fertilizer

Chicken manure is a common ingredient in residential, commercial, and industrial fertilizer products due to its high nutrient content and widespread availability. In an unprocessed form, raw chicken manure can burn and damage plants, contains harmful pathogens to people and animals and is difficult to handle. Because using unprocessed manure as a fertilizer is not a viable commercial option, processes must be established to utilize heat to kill pathogens and then granulate manure into a useful, transportable, and sellable product. In granulated form, chicken manure based fertilizer offers several advantages over powdered based fertilizers such as decreased nutrient runoff, easier transportability and handling and more controlled spreading.

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Manufacturing Cold Set Ceramics from Fly Ash

The environmental and economic benefits of using fly ash aggregates in concrete admixtures are well documented with adoption continually growing across industry[1]. The critical factor in managing this abundantly available waste from coal fired power plants is in converting it on-site at the lowest cost to both the materials processors and for sale to end users. The best way to cut processing costs is to lower capital equipment costs and increase efficiencies in production. Lancaster Products has successfully worked with Nometrain Pty. Ltd. from Queensland, Australia, to develop processes with a Lancaster High Shear Counter-Current Mixer to produce granulated Cold Set Ceramic products. This Cold Set Ceramic process uses a chemical reaction to cure the fly ash into a ceramic product which eliminates the need for kilns commonly used to fire fly ash agglomerates after they are pelletized in our high shear mixers. Nometrain has developed an environmentally safe, proprietary process that utilizes chemicals instead of water with the fly ash mix which “cures at ambient temperatures to produce a matrix with exceptional early green strength, and which cures over time[2].” This revolutionary process does away with the need for kiln firing eliminating an additional piece of expensive equipment and greatly reduces the energy costs typically associated with the firing of fly ash agglomerates. The partnership with Lancaster Products has allowed Nometrain the ability to utilize the Lancaster Mixer to create agglomerates of varying sizes at 90+% yields in an extremely short mix cycle.

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Blending of Dissimilar Powders to Achieve Homogenous Mixtures Using High Shear Mixers

Many of the mix requirements presented to our engineers start with the need to blend powders of dissimilar properties into a homogeneous mix. It’s not uncommon for customers to discover that the equipment they currently use or are considering for use either does not produce the level of homogeneity specified or the process takes too long. We take great pride in seeing their faces light up when we show them the results that can be achieved using a Lancaster Products High Shear Counter-Current mixer!

Vastly differing densities of powders can present unique problems when attempting to achieve a desired homogenous mixture. In particular, we have experienced this in the technical ceramics industry where the key ingredients often have dissimilar densities. The issue is further compounded in cases where the ratio of ingredients can be significantly unbalanced with 95% of the mixture containing ingredient “A” and the other 5% consisting of ingredients “B, C, D…”.

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Using Section 179 Tax Deductions to Offset the Cost of Capital Equipment

There’s no better time than now to purchase the capital equipment you know you will need before the end of the year. By taking advantage of the Section 179 Deduction and Bonus Depreciation you will enjoy significant savings from your equipment purchases. This is a use-it-or-lose it write off that ends December 31, 2017, so get off the hump and place your orders now to ensure delivery before the end of the year.

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Using High Shear Mixers to Manufacture Ceramic Proppants for Hydraulic Fracturing

High shear mixers manufactured by Lancaster Products are currently in use within several different ceramic proppant manufacturing plants worldwide. Our mixers successfully meet the stringent specifications demanded by both the proppant manufacturers and end users at fracking operations across the globe.

The hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” industry ebbs and flows in an indirectly proportional relationship the price of crude oil, but the reality is that it continues to be an important and growing industry. As with any highly competitive industry, the best way to maintain profitability is to improve efficiencies in both processes and equipment. One of the products consumed in high amounts are eco-friendly ceramic proppants which are introduced under high pressure into the fractured subsurface to “prop” open fractures and allow oil and gas to flow through the fractures. Enhancements in the characteristics of ceramic proppants significantly improve the efficiencies of fracking operations and therefore play a critical role in the profitability of the fracking industry.

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Fertilizer Manufacturing Using High Shear Mixers

Over the years, we have worked with several fertilizer manufacturers in helping them meet their required specifications to produce safe and effective fertilizer for mass consumption. These requirements have ranged from mix-only processing of sulfur to a pelletized, shelf-ready end product made from organic ingredients. In all cases, our high shear mixers outperformed alternative solutions and/or improved efficiencies from existing processes.

Fertilizer manufacturing is a process by which raw materials/nutrients, often in powder form, are mixed and agitated with a binder until pelletized for easier spreading with minimal dust dispersion. The pellets must be a homogeneous mix of nutrients to ensure maximum effectiveness without over/under saturation when applied. Furthermore, the size of the pellets will vary based on its intended application. For example, fertilizer for commercial agricultural fields will not necessarily be the same size as that used on golf course greens.

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