Henning Falck presents a new concept for fluidised bed processes in scale-up and pilot applications
An innovative new modular plant design now offers more options for fluidised bed processes on a laboratory scale. The separation of process and air supply components expands the range of applications and allows for individual plant configurations. In the new LFB Batch laboratory fluidised bed centre, all processes of the fluidised bed technology such as agglomeration, spray granulation, encapsulation or coating can be carried out. The unit provides two process modules for air volumes of up to 300m3/h or 600m3/h and 5 l/10 l or 20 l/30 l bin sizes.
Besides batch fluidised bed process modules, the plant can be expanded with modules for continuous processes or for spray drying applications. Thus, the performance range of a single plant is greatly increased. The new laboratory centre is ideal for the development of new recipes and the scale-up to production levels in different batch sizes.
Fluidised bed process technology
In the fluidised bed, air or gas flows from the bottom through a bed of solid particles. As a result, the particles (powders or granules) are set in an intense motion – they fluidise. The heat and mass transfer produced in this fluidised bed is ideal for drying processes. At the same time, the individual particles are accessible all around for spraying on liquids, emulsions or suspensions.
Due to the integration of nozzle systems, the fluidised bed technology provides other processes such as agglomeration, spray granulation, encapsulation and coating. Depending on the equipment design, the processes take place in batches or continuously.
The main advantage of the fluidised bed technology is the controlled production of particles with defined and reproducible properties. This can be the improvement of the flow, dosage or conveying behaviour, the instantisation, the encapsulation, an increased shelf life or a safe mixture stability.
By spraying any desired liquids, product properties such as delayed substance release, enteric coating, colouring and odour or taste masking can be added. The processes are particularly gentle and can be combined in multiple ways.
The process module of LFB Batch can be designed for any process of the fluidised bed technology. All process parameters such as temperature, spray rate and air quantity can be varied within wide setting ranges. All processes can be carried out both in the top and in the bottom-spray method.
In the laboratory plant, even product quantities of 500g can be transferred reliably to production scale. With bin sizes from 5l to 30l and product quantities of up to 18kg, a very wide batch size range is available. For continuous processes, also very flexible options of up to 10kg/h are available.
Plug & play
The module for the air supply is designed with a very wide air flow range of up to 600m3 per hour. By default, the LFB is equipped with a cartridge filter system, the configuration of which is flexible and offers alternative options.
In view of the often cramped spatial situation in the laboratory, the modular design has further advantages. The individual components are dimensioned so that they can be transported easily through standard laboratory doors of 1m in width. Thanks to ‘plug & play’, they are immediately ready for operation. For additional components such as stirrers, scales or pumps, a connection is available. All technical components are maintenance-friendly and easily accessible. The module for the air supply offers variants for batch operation, continuous processes, and optionally, for both modes.
Thanks to the modular design, the new LFB laboratory fluidised bed centre ensures the reliable execution of all processes of the fluidised bed technology on a laboratory scale. Moreover, the system keeps open all options for future applications such as the supplement with a spray dryer or the use of batch-type and continuous processes.
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Henning Falck is division manager, Particle Technology at Neuhaus Neotec.