Many professionals involved in product formulation will come across spray drying technology or spray dried products at some stage in their career. Perhaps the physical form of a product needs to be optimised to increase particle size and reduce dust, or perhaps plant capacity utilisation needs to be improved. How can the practitioner start to tackle such problems, especially when he or she may have no formal training in the subject? Delegates at the new two-day training workshop “Spray Drying and Atomisation of Formulations”, run by the University of Leeds on 8th-9th April with support from iFormulate and ProCept, were able to answer these questions and many others.
Spray drying may seem a pretty simple process, but in fact there are a large number of factors which can be varied and these will all have an influence on the final product. With spray drying it often helps to start at the end of the process and decide what kind of end-product is needed. For instance, if a granular product is required, then it may be possible to agglomerate finer particles in the spray drying tower. The desired particle morphology and size, as well as productivity concerns, will in turn influence the drying parameters (residence time, temperature) and materials properties (solids content, rheology). Moving further back in the process, the fluid to be dried must have suitable rheology for fluidisation, pumping and atomisation.
With guidance from a diverse group of expert presenters and engaging laboratory demonstrations, attendees at the Workshop benefited from a packed programme that covered each of the main process steps in spray drying and provided case studies of applications from a number of different industries. In fact the wide range of industry applications represented amongst the speakers and attendees was very striking and included pharmaceuticals, food/beverages, detergents, catalysts and agrochemicals.
The training workshop was highly rated by both attendees and speakers and it is planned to hold it again in March 2015. Meanwhile the programme for the 2014 event is available on http://iformulate.biz/training-and-events/spray-drying-and-atomisation-of-formulations/.
Jim Bullock, May 2014