What is granulation?
Granulation is an important process applied in various industries; pharmaceutical, Agriculture, Food science, Mining, Construction and the Chemical industry. It involves the use of a binder to form a bulky granule from fine powder/coarse particles by agglomeration technique. The adoption of the granulation process allows different sectors to improve product uniformity and effectiveness.
Additionally it positively influences logistic efficiency through reducing the volume per unit weight of the final blend, reduce dust formation (important during storage and transport and for preventing contamination) and ensure easy handling of product.
This blog series will concentrate on exploring the advantages, current trends, and future prospects of granulation within the agricultural sector. Our goal is to deliver essential information applicable to various uses, including granulation for fertilizers, animal feed, and soil conditioning. A general overview on granulation, techniques, significance of the process and understanding the ideal process for your formulation needs will cover our first blog post.
The granulation process involves two techniques, dry and wet granulation. Selection between these depends on the ideal product characteristics, material properties, cost (energy consumption & equipment), process scalability and environmental impact to name a few. The most cost efficient process, with minimal requirement for resources is Dry granulation. This involved the use of mechanical compression or compaction to achieve agglomeration of starting powder material.
Additionally, it obviates the need for a liquid binder therefore eliminating additional production steps. Although this process is highly favoured by small scale manufacturers due to its low energy and resource requirement, its applicability is limited. Therefore wet granulation is the preferred method of granulation despite the inclusion of costly and time consuming steps such massing, drying and screening. This is mainly because wet granulation improves material flowability, eliminates the need to use high pressure during compression (some active ingredients are sensitive to high pressure), uniform particle size, and requires shorter processing time. This method is particularly popular in the fertilization industry as it allows producers to create customized manure as required by the farmer.
Use of granulation in fertilizer formulation enables producers to achieve precise nutrient dosage depending on the farmers’ needs, therefore offering all the necessary nutrients in a single compact granule.