– the new mini machine series for particle processing –
In the early phase of developing new materials or active pharmaceutical substances, it is very often the case that only extremely small samples of the product can be synthesised at an acceptable financial and time outlay. These samples usually have to go through one or more processing steps after their manufacture before they exhibit the desired properties. And especially in the pharmaceutical industry – but also in materials science, research and laboratory applications, the available amounts of sample material are often only in the range of a few grams or decigrams. Added to this are sometimes costs of several thousand euros per gram. The resultant demand is obviously extremely small process volumes for treatment in processing machines. Furthermore, the real challenge is homogeneous processing of the entire sample amount to the highest possible degree in the machine and maximum recovery values. On the sector of pharmaceuticals research, the demand is for yields of approx. 99% of the charged material. Hosokawa Alpine responded to these demands by extending its well-known machine series by a mini variant. The new Picoline covers a variety of processing methods for dry powders and liquid suspensions.
The high sample recovery rate poses a great challenge for the machine design. Small volumes, the complete avoidance of dead zones, the highest possible reduction of surfaces jeopardised by deposits, a streamlined product routing and integrated cleaning possibilities for product collectors are the most important criteria when designing efficient mini machines. Another requirement is maximum mechanical precision, which is all-important if fine tolerances are to be observed and where components rotate at extremely high speed.
It is crucial even with this mini machine that all the relevant functional parts are designed as exact mini versions of the respective components in the production-scale machines. This guarantees the employment of a technology even in the earliest development phase which realises all process-relevant functions of the later machines on a pilot and test scale. The operating parameters of the production-scale machine can also be investigated as early as during material development. And this serves to considerably simplify process validation at all stages, from research right up to production.
Besides the Picojet opposed jet mill which Hosokawa Alpine will present to the public for the first time at the Powtech trade fair in Nuremberg, other mini machines downscaled from the well-known standard machine range will gradually be added to the Picoline series. For example, the classifier from the opposed jet mill can be employed as an independent module in the Picozirk classifier mill or can be used on its own as the Picosplit classifier. On the sector of dry powder processing, the range is completed by the Picoplex fine impact mill and the Piconizer spiral jet mill. And for grinding products in liquid suspensions, the mini agitated ball mill Picoliq with its variable grinding chamber volume and modular wear protection is universal in use in all branches of research. On the drawing board for the PicoLine series are the Picobond powder reactor for the mechanochemical functional design of particles and the Picocut, a mini version of our granulator to comminute soft products.
For just about every product and every application, Alpine's Picoline range offers a suitable machine for processing mini product batches in research and development.