Size reduction equipment plays a very important role in the manufacturing process. Numerous industries rely on size reduction equipment to improve performance or meet specific requirements. The pharmaceutical industry depends on size reduction equipment to improve the biological availability of medications while the food industry needs to produce certain particle sizes for a given use.
Reasons why size reduction equipment is important in processing plants:
To improve the flow-ability of materials. The flow-ability and distribution of a material can be improved through size reduction equipment. For example, granular sugar that has larger particles will have better flow but poor dissolution. Powdered sugar with smaller particles will have poor flow but better dissolution. Feeder clearance is an important aspect of size reduction because particle size needs to be bigger than the feeder clearance so as to avoid leakage. In addition, broad variations in particle sizes can result in inconsistent fill volumes.
To reduce sensitivity to over compression. Particle size reduction and distribution is very critical to smaller particles that are extra sensitive to over compression. When particles are smaller, they are less likely to lock together during a compaction process. The properties of compressibility improve when there is an increase in particle size. When there is a higher percentage of a smaller particles, the amount of lubrication needed increases. Smaller particles also decrease disintegration time but increase dissolution. Friability is defined as the tendency of a table to chip, crumble, or break after it has been compressed due to handling and subsequent storage. Smaller particles tend to increase the possibility of failure because of higher friability.
To improve quality. Many products are effected by heat and can be sensitive to changes in room temperature. This can result in poor compression, flow, and ejection conditions. Extra fine particles can result in dusty conditions and may require several stoppages in production in order to clean the size reduction equipment. Dusty conditions in the workplace can be particularly dangerous to workers. High percentages of fine particles can result in dust that increases wear, reduces yield, more particle segregation and increased tablet defects. All this can result in higher operating costs and would impact on tablet quality. Particle size reduction can have a significant economic impact and innovation in size reduction equipment technology lead to surges in efficiency.