Agglomeration with fluid-bed conditioning: Three methods
Agglomeration brings particles together to create larger particles. The resulting granules are easier to handle and less dusty than fine powders and have other desirable properties as well. This article discusses agglomeration methods for producing granules that can be quickly reconstituted in liquid. Each of the methods discussed here -- fines-return, impingement, and rewet agglomeration -- is a form of growth-tumble agglomeration and incorporates fluid-bed conditioning. The techniques, sometimes classified as spray granulation or fluid-bed granulation methods, are commonly used to produce food and dairy products, food ingredients, and detergents.
Agglomeration can make a powder dustless, which helps keep plants and equipment clean, prevents bacteria and spores from spreading, and prevents proteins, enzymes, and other active substances in food products from becoming airborne and provoking worker allergies. The process can adjust a powder's bulk density, which can help it fit into a certain package size or be measured volumetrically. Agglomeration can improve a powder's flow properties, making it easier to convey and feed.