Submitted by: Adrianna Notton

Particle size reduction is technology choice to reduce the size of a particle in the manufacturing process to improve an active ingredient. There are numerous industries that depend on size reduction to improve performance or to meet specifications. The pharmaceutical, chemical, and food industries all depend on particle size reduction. Its uses include grinding polymers to facilitate the separation of grain components, improve the biological availability of medications, and to produce particles of an appropriate size for a given use. There are a number of reasons why particle size and distribution is so important in today processing plants.

Particle size reduction and distribution improves flow-ability of the material. For instance, when comparing granular sugar to powdered sugar, the smaller the particle the poorer the flow. The larger particles in granulated sugar aid in flow but not in dissolution. Feeder clearance is another important aspect because the particle size has to be bigger than the feeder clearance in order to avoid leakage. As well, if die table run-out increases, the feeder clearance and particle size must then also increase comparatively. In addition, broad variations in particle sizes can result in inconsistent fill volumes. Weight control is another reason why particle size reduction and distribution is so important. Larger particles pulled out of the die can decrease the final weight. Fine particles need accurate scrape-off which increases the need for a quality scraper blade.

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Particle size reduction and distribution is important because smaller particles are more sensitive to over-compression. The small particles are less able to lock together during the compaction process. Compressibility improves with an increased particle size and decreases as particles become smaller. As well, higher percentages of small particles require increased quantities of lubricant. Small particles decrease disintegration time and increase dissolution. Larger particles normally are able to better lock together causing friability. Small particles normally increase the chance for failure meaning there is higher friability.

Many products are sensitive to heat and changes in room conditions which can cause poor compression, flow, and ejection conditions. Fine particles can cause a dusty operation which results in a need for regular production stoppages and equipment and plant clean-ups. A high percentage of fine particles and dust increases more wear, reduces yield, more cleaning intervals, more particle segregation, and more tablet defects. Small dusty particles can increase operating costs, require more dust collection, reduce yields, and causes more machine and tool wear. Reducing particle size will improve tablet quality.

Particle size reduction is an aspect that is of major importance and the economic impact of particle size can be significant. Fortunately, innovations in particle size reduction technology has lead to extremely efficient methods of particle size reduction and distribution using technologically advanced grinding equipment such as fine grinding. The advanced devices take up minimal space in the plant, reduces particle dust, decreases wear on the machines, increases yields, and improves quality of the final product. The overall result is an improvement in production, productivity, and a more efficient and cost effective manufacturing process.

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