A production testing center for powders is planned
Spraying Systems, the source of the new drying process specifically adapted to the production of active ingredients concentrates, opened an affiliate in France three years ago. With the start-up next October of a testing center, located at Treillières at the edge of Nantes, the American manufacturer is getting ready to cross over to a new stage: offering companies in the agribusiness sector, specifically, the opportunity to conduct tests under real manufacturing conditions.
The platform will be equipped with a dryer, supplemented by a fluidized bed and encapsulation, grinding and granulation equipment. As testing director, an R&D lead, engineer and doctor of process engineering, with eight years of experience in micro-encapsulation in both university and industrial settings was recruited. "My job will be to be on-site, at the client, understanding their needs and monitoring the production tests according to our process", explains Audrey Maudhuit. According to Spraying Systems, the characteristics of powder at the output of the production line are even more satisfactory since the formulation is adapted to the technology. "Clients bring us control powders that they produce using the classic drying process, where we consistently find products intended to protect active ingredients against very high temperatures. These products are not necessary with our process, because we work at low temperature", explains Stéphane Lecuyer, support engineer. In also targeting applications in human health care and chemistry, Spraying Systems estimates that its process can be used to develop powders with a higher concentration of active ingredient, in an initiative that result either in innovation, or in improvement of existing products.
L.I.S. WILL BE THE FIRST USER
Even before opening its testing center in Nantes, the manufacturer last year sold drying tools to three industry members with facilities in France, Spain and Denmark respectively. L.I.S. (Lesaffre Ingrédients Services) will be the first user of the process in France as a result: with its own applied research laboratory in Rennes (Powder Studio), the industry member ordered a pilot unit with an evaporating capacity of 1 kg/h which will be delivered to it next June. L.I.S. had good reasons for making this investment. "We are a leader in drying, our job is to provide services in the powder production sector. Logically, we have our eye on all new drying technologies. It seemed attractive to us to acquire the Spraying Systems technology which has a number of benefits. For us, the objective is to propose production tests to our clients and ultimately to acquire equipment based on market needs with an industrial-scale tool", explains Vincent Lechevallier, Marketing Director.
FOR POWDERS HIGH ADDED VALUE
Technically, PolarDry technology is based on the use of electrostatic properties which, when droplets are sprayed into a container, causes migration of the dissolved materials toward the center of the droplet, and, conversely, the migration of water toward the surface of the droplet, due to the difference of the electrical charge between the water and the dissolved materials. "One of the advantages of our process is that we work at evaporation temperatures that are much lower than drying by atomization: 80°C instead of 200° to 250°C. This results in very significant energy savings, and the characteristics of the product are also better preserved", explains Michel Thénin, Executive Director of Fluid Air, a division of Spraying Systems. PolarDry technology also enables drying the product and agglomerating the particles in the same equipment, without the need for additional materials. Using these inventions, the process is competitive for high value-added powders and in cases where formulations show low resistance to high temperatures. At present the dryers have a capacity of 200 kg/h.