Case Study: Meeting Customer Specifications

Situation:

A new customer approached ACD with the opportunity to become a supplier on a powder ingredient that was to be used in one of their formulations. ACD was provided with a sample of the existing product, which was utilized to develop a set of mutually agreed upon powder specifications. The powder was similar to a product previously manufactured at ACD; however, the particle size was much smaller. In order to obtain the desired particle size distribution, ACD processed the powder in its food grade impact mill. Adding the extra milling step in the process not only reduced the particle size, and powder throughput, but also the heat generated in the mill lowered the moisture content of the product below what was required.

Goal:

ACD and the customer worked together to determine the best way to reduce the extra drying effect that resulted during the mill step. The overall objective was to figure out the best way to cool the material, while at the same time achieving the correct particle size distribution and moisture in the final product.

Solutions:

ACD’s Research and Development team worked with the milling equipment vendor in developing a design that would cool the mill housing. As a result of this process, the overall design incorporated a shroud that was fabricated around the mill along with two ports used to pass air against the housing and remove heat from the mill. A blower was then utilized to force air into the shroud and around the mill, resulting in the removal of excess heat. While working with the equipment vendor to solve the cooling issue, we also re-engineered the mill to accommodate a larger motor size which would allow ACD to increase the throughput in the operation.

Results:

The overall results utilizing forced air cooling of the impact mill allowed ACD to keep the moisture content of the powder in customer specification range, while at the same time optimizing the particle size distribution for the customer. The installation of the larger motor on the mill also allowed ACD to realize a production increase of 60%, which ultimately resulted in a lower price for our customer.