What Is Particle Size Reduction & How Does It Play a Part in Everyday Life?

Posted by Deb Shechter on Oct 3, 2016 12:30:00 PM

particle size reduction refers to the process of adding energy to a material in order to reduce the average particle size. We know that manufacturing industries utilize particle size reduction, but did you know that it happens every day in your own life too?

Let’s begin with your morning coffee. Before you can enjoy a delicious cup of java, you need to grind the coffee beans first. In a coffee grinder, the beans are ground down into much smaller particles, thereby increasing the surface area. We do this so that the water which percolates through the coffee can extract all those delicious, aromatic compounds (as well as the much needed caffeine!)

Next, you get into your car and drive to work. Your car is made predominantly from steel, which is made from iron ore mined from the ground. One of the first steps in this process, after removing the rocks from the earth, is comminution (size reduction) so that the valuable materials can be separated out.

Large Pieces + Energy = Smaller Pieces  

At lunchtime, you go down to the cafeteria and order a salad. Luckily for you, the chef knows a thing or two about particle size reduction. If not, you would have received an entire head of lettuce on your plate, along with a whole tomato and cucumber!

When you’re done, you toss your used napkin into the trash. Waste management companies make use of particle size reduction equipment like shredders and compactors to break down or crush waste into smaller pieces.

Later when you head home, you make yourself a sandwich. Your bread was baked with flour, which was made (or milled) by crushing the grain into smaller pieces. Lastly, just before bed, you wash your face and apply your face cream, which has probably been manufactured using a homogenizer.

Homogenization, you guessed it, is a kind of particle size reduction. It uses mechanical force to break down particles or droplets in a liquid into smaller and more uniform sizes. Once the face cream has been homogenized, it is less likely to separate out, thereby improving the aesthetic and prolonging the shelf life.

Interested in learning more about particle size reduction and how to make the process more efficient? Contact us, and download our free eBook: “How to Achieve Efficient & Consistent Particle Size Reduction.”

New Call-to-action

Why Scalability Matters for Particle Size Reduction Equipment

Posted by Deb Shechter on Sep 21, 2016 12:30:00 PM

scalability-in-particle-size-reduction-equipment.jpgScalability in Process Manufacturing

Process manufacturing is the branch of manufacturing associated with ingredients or raw materials, formulas, and manufacturing recipes. This kind of manufacturing is common in the food, beverage, chemical, pharmaceutical, consumer packaged goods, and biotechnology industries.

Scalability is a crucial element in process manufacturing, as production processes must be proportionally adjustable to adapt to production needs. In order to successfully progress from the laboratory to large-scale production, products should be developed, from day one, with scalability in mind. R&D scientists should work together with production, forecasting, supply chain, and procurement staff in order to develop a product that can be successfully and profitably manufactured.

Scalable product development also makes for a shorter transition time between the product research and launch phases; which is key in the highly competitive spaces like the pharmaceutical, food and cosmetic industries.  

Scalability in Particle Size Reduction Equipment

All too often, problems arise when scaling up laboratory processes that require particle size reduction equipment. If, for example, your formulation was developed using a bench-top French press, it will yield very different results when manufactured on an industrial standard homogenizer. Complications also inevitably arise when scaling up high-viscosity liquids, for example, as air is often entrapped during the mixing phase, resulting in false volumes.

The laboratory process should essentially be a scaled-down version of the commercial process, which should in turn ensure the chemical and physical integrity of the product. It is therefore incredibly important to have compatible equipment in your laboratory, pilot plant, and on the production floor; so that results that are attained in the laboratory can be repeated on a larger scale.   

DeBEE High Pressure Homogenizers: Scalable Results for Commercially Viable Products

At BEE International, our high pressure homogenizers produce consistent and scalable results, often replacing other types of equipment to improve performance and to save manufacturing time and costs. All of our equipment boasts a proven linear scale-up from the laboratory, to the pilot plant, and up to production volumes. Our unique modular technology allows for tighter distribution of smaller particles, maximum particle size reduction in fewer passes, and increased manufacturing efficiency and reduced cost.

Interested in particle size reduction? Download our free eBook How to Achieve Efficient & Consistent Particle Size Reduction” or contact us to discuss your particle size reduction equipment needs.

New Call-to-action

Particle Size Reduction Methods: Which Is Best?

Posted by Deb Shechter on Sep 2, 2016 12:30:00 PM

particle size reductionParticle size reduction is a crucial initial step in the production of countless end products across all manufacturing industries. Think of wheat that needs to be ground in the production of flour, or rocks and rubble that must be crushed in order to make sand, and pharmaceutical ingredients that need to be finely milled for incorporation into drugs.

There are many available particle size reduction methods. Your method of choice needs to be best suited to the properties of your feedstock or raw material. For example, you would choose different processing equipment for different materials based on whether they are hard, soft, abrasive, moist, sticky, flammable, heat sensitive etc. You also need to take into account your feedstock particle size, and the properties of your end product.

Let’s take a look at a few common mechanical particle size reduction methods, and some of their common uses in industry:

Cutting equipment: Often used in the food industry for cutting down meat, vegetables and fruit. A bowl chopper, for example, consists of a large shallow bowl which revolves underneath a sharp, rotating knife.

Milling equipment: Can be divided into crushers or grinders. Crushers compress material, and are often used in the sugar industry to crush raw sugar cane. Grinders use shear and impact to grind larger particles into smaller ones. Examples of grinders include roller mills (used in producing wheat flour), ball mills (widely used in producing cement, ceramics and pigments), and hammer mills (often used in waste management to break down large materials).

Homogenizing equipment: Homogenization is the process of combining two immiscible liquids together into an emulsion - where tiny particles of one substance are dispersed throughout the second substance. A high pressure homogenizer works by forcing liquid at high pressure through a very narrow nozzle. Through the application of several forces (cavitation, turbulence, impact and shear), the liquid that flows out of the homogenizer now has a reduced and more uniform particle size.

DeBEE High Pressure Homogenizers:  A Fast & Reliable Particle Size Reduction Method

DeBEE High Pressure Homogenizers provide efficient, consistent particle size reduction for your laboratory, pilot plant or manufacturing facility. We also gladly provide customized solutions for even the most demanding environment or industry requirements.  

Contact BEE International to discuss your equipment needs and to find the right fit for your product. We also provide support in developing new products or improving existing ones: Click here to read more about our free sample testing and evaluation program.

For more information about particle size reduction and how to achieve efficient and consistent results, download our FREE eBook:

New Call-to-action

Homogenizers for Optimal Cell Lysis & Particle Size Reduction

Posted by Deb Shechter on Aug 26, 2016 12:30:00 PM

high pressure homogenizerHigh pressure homogenization is a mechanical process that works to reduce particle size or to lyse cells. Essentially, a liquid is forced at high pressure through a very narrow nozzle. The higher the amount of energy applied during the homogenization process, the smaller the particle size or the more complete the cell lysis.

Below, we’ll discuss the forces used to apply this energy; as well as the differences that set DeBEE high pressure homogenizers apart from the competition.

Our unique BEE International technology begins right at the product intake, which can be laminar and gentle, or turbulent for premixing. As the liquid enters the homogenizer nozzle, there is a sharp drop in pressure, causing cavitation. Cavitation occurs when a rapid pressure change causes “liquid-free zones” or cavities in a liquid. As these cavities collapse, shock waves are generated throughout the liquid, which causes the particles to break apart.

The liquid continues on into an absorption chamber which contains alternating small and large orifices, which creates turbulence and causes fluid-on-fluid impact and shear. As a result of the application of these forces (cavitation, turbulence, impact and shear), the liquid that now flows out of the homogenizer has a much smaller particle size than before.

The DeBEE Difference

The above process describes a basic high pressure homogenizer set up, but our DeBEE high pressure homogenizers offer several additional benefits:

  • Process Intensity and Duration: Our high pressure homogenizers can be configured with a reverse flow setup, where the high velocity liquid jet is made to reverse on itself and to exit near the nozzle, thus causing even more impact and fluid-on-fluid shear. The duration of the process can be controlled by the length and internal configuration of the absorption chamber. Process intensity is adjustable from 2000 - 45000 psi / 150 - 3100 bar.
  • Constant Pressure:  A constant processing pressure leads to a more uniform particle size. Our unique High Pressure Pumping System uses several hydraulically driven intensifier pumps for a constant, uninterrupted processing pressure. This pumping system also eliminates the possibility of contamination. Read more about it here.
  • Modular Technology: BEE International’s proprietary technology allows independent control of pressure, flow, cavitation, impact, shear, and process duration. This allows you to optimize cell lysis or particle size reduction and obtain the best possible results for your product.

Contact us today to request a quote or a demonstration and experience the DeBEE difference! For more information about particle size reduction and how to achieve efficient and consistent results, download our FREE eBook:

New Call-to-action

Hammer Mills vs. High Pressure Homogenizers for Particle Size Reduction

Posted by David Shechter on Aug 17, 2016 12:30:00 PM

high pressure homogenization for particle size reductionWhat is a Hammer Mill and How Does It Work?

A hammer mill is a machine designed to crush material into smaller pieces by way of repeated blows from small hammers. Hammer mills work on the principle that most materials will crush, grind, shatter or pulverize upon impact.

Material is fed into the mill grinding chamber through the feed chute. The material is repeatedly struck by hammers which are attached to a rotating shaft inside the mill chamber. The material is crushed and particle size is reduced as the particles are struck by the hammers, and also as they collide with the chamber walls and with each other. The clearance space between the mill chamber and the hammers also contributes to particle size reduction. The discharge opening of the mill is covered by a screen which allows only particles that have reached the desired size to pass through.

For a quick visual, watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NSUbcndrCnI

What Are the Downsides of Using a Hammer Mill?

The first major disadvantage is that almost every component of a hammer mill is subject to rigorous wear-and-tear. Along with cost, this leads to more frequent maintenance, more down-time and even the possibility of product contamination. Hammer mills can also be energy inefficient, especially if they are old or not properly maintained. Hammer mills also generate heat, especially at when run at high speeds, which may be undesirable for certain applications.

With regards to particle size, there is great variability when using a hammer mill. This is because particle size is determined only by screen-hole size; meaning that any sized particle under a certain size can pass through. Lastly, hammer mills often produce a lot of fine dust, and can also be very noisy.

DeBEE High Pressure Homogenizers: Leaders in Efficient and Uniform Particle Size Reduction

Homogenizers are the most efficient fluid processing equipment for particle size reduction. Unlike a hammer mill that uses only one mechanical force (impact), BEE International’s patented technology utilizes ALL available mechanical forces. Our proprietary homogenizing cell technology essentially drives the fluid at ultra high pressure through a small nozzle, causing cavitation. The product becomes a high velocity jet stream and flows through an absorption cell. This absorption cell contains alternating small and large orifices that create turbulence and cause fluid-on-fluid impact and shear. Process intensity is adjustable from 2,000 - 45,000 psi / 150 - 3100 bar.

All of this is done with no grinding or mixing action. The energy is applied fluid-on-fluid, offering minimal wear on all homogenizer components. For more on this and information on our High Pressure Pumping System, click here.

BEE International’s unique, modular technology allows these forces to be individually fine-tuned, allowing you to produce the best possible results for your product. With DeBEE high pressure homogenizers, you are guaranteed a tight distribution of smaller particles, and maximum particle size reduction in fewer passes.

Contact us to discuss your particular homogenizing needs. For more information about particle size reduction and how to achieve efficient and consistent results, download our FREE eBook: 

New Call-to-action

Particle Size Reduction 101: Homogenization, Dispersions & Emulsions

Posted by Tal Shechter on Aug 10, 2016 12:30:00 PM

particle size reductionThe term “particle size reduction” means exactly that - the process of reducing average particle size in a given substance.  

Homogenization is one kind of particle size reduction. It is a process that uses mechanical force to break down particles or droplets in a liquid into smaller and more uniform sizes. The result of homogenization is a dispersion, where fine particles of one substance are scattered throughout another substance.

Dispersions can be further classified by the sizes of these scattered particles:

  1. Solution: a homogenous mixture with tiny particles of a molecular size (e.g. sugar in water).
  2. Suspension: a heterogeneous mixture with large particles that will often settle out on standing or can be filtered out (e.g. sand in water).
  3. Colloid: a mixture that is somewhere in between a solution and a suspension. An emulsion is a type of colloid and is a mixture of two immiscible (unmixable) liquids. The first liquid forms tiny particles scattered throughout the second liquid. Oil and water, for example, will form an opaque suspension when mixed, but will separate on standing (1).

Particle size reduction through homogenization has countless applications in many industries including food, pharmaceutical, biotechnology, cosmetic and more. A common example of a homogenized liquid is milk. In the days before homogenization, milk naturally separated and a layer of fatty cream would rise to the top; leaving what was essentially skim milk below. Homogenization is used to break up the fat globules into smaller droplets so that they remain suspended in the milk, creating an even, homogenous mixture (2).

BEE International: Your Partner in Particle Size Reduction

BEE International is the supplier of high pressure homogenizers. The BEEI difference lies in the fact that we synergistically combine and fine-tune all available mechanical forces (including turbulence, cavitation, shear, impact and process intensity) in order to produce the best possible product for you. We produce a tight distribution of small, uniform particles every time. Depending on your product, benefits include a longer shelf life, increased bioavailability, improved sensory characteristics, and greater productivity and lower manufacturing costs due to fewer passes.  

Our laboratory, pilot and industrial homogenizers all produce reliable and consistent particle size reduction. Contact us and we would be excited to develop a customized solution just right for you.

Want to know more about particle size reduction? Download our FREE eBook: How to Achieve Efficient & Consistent Particle Size Reduction

New Call-to-action

Colloid Mills: How They Compare to High Pressure Homogenizers

Posted by David Shechter on Jul 18, 2016 12:30:00 PM

Colloid_Mills-_How_They_Compare_to_High_Pressure_Homogenizers.jpgSmall particles: The well-kept secret to how our cosmetic products work well. And our chemical products. And our pharmaceutical drugs. And our preserved food...you get the point. The list could keep going, but the point is easily driven home. Particle size reduction, the process that creates small particles, can be achieved in numerous ways; yet it is in the best interest of the manufacturers hailing from these numerous industries to find the best process. The colloid mill and high pressure homogenizer both have the ability to reduce particle size, yet are different in some critical ways. Keep reading to better understand the differences between using a colloid mill or a high pressure homogenizer for particle size reduction.

Machine Process

The colloid mill classification as rotor-stator mixers means that they are comprised of a quickly rotating rotor, which draws a sample up. The sample then gets pushed in a centrifuge-like fashion through a stator, which contains many small slots. The combination of high rpm from the rotor and movement through the tiny slots causes the particles to be mechanically sheared. (1) In contrast, homogenization forces the sample through a narrow space while imparting multiple forces and high pressure to create a consistent and uniform sample.

Sample Composition

Both colloid mills and high pressure homogenizers can process liquid/solid combinations, e.g. the sample is comprised of a solid immersed in a liquid suspension or a liquid suspended in another liquid. Either machine can enhance the stability of these types of samples, and can also reduce the particle size of the suspended particles.

Suitable Applications

While colloid mills are only suitable for particle size reduction, high pressure homogenizers can be used for particle reduction and more. For example, the homogenizer’s ability to lyse cells stems from the powerful pressure that ruptures even difficult-to-break walls, like bacteria, yeast, and fungi. A variety of industries can benefit from access to either machine; these include the pharmaceutical, cosmetic, and food fields. Yet the homogenizer is also known to work within the chemical, medical, and biotechnology industries, while the colloid mill also benefits the paint, soap, textile, and paper industries.

BEE International: Trustworthy High-Pressure Homogenizers

The product you select for your laboratory will ultimately depend on its downstream applications and the cell types being used. Either way, you will be well-served to select a homogenizer that is flexible to meet the various needs of a laboratory. There are plenty of companies on the market to select equipment from; however, the product can be of higher quality and more even consistency when run through top-shelf equipment, most frequently in the form of a homogenizer.

BEE International Technologies is trusted by researchers around the world for both our laboratory homogenizers and our associated customer support. Particle size reduction is just one of a variety of applications for BEE homogenizers; nano/micro emulsions, lipids, suspensions, cell lysis and dispersions are also easily achievable. Additionally, the homogenizer processes can be controlled to suit your product, which will allow you to customize to your cell type. And finally, the equipment is easy to use, produces higher yield in less time, and achieves results that are reproducible and scalable.

Learn about how BEE’s products can maximize your homogenization processes by contacting us today. For more information on how to achieve efficient and consistent particle size reduction, download our FREE eBook:

New Call-to-action

How to Achieve Uniform Particle Size Reduction

Posted by David Shechter on Apr 27, 2016 12:30:00 PM

how-to-achieve-uniform-particle-size-reduction.jpgParticle size reduction, while used across multiple industries, is not as well-known as it should be- particularly considering its critical role in the synthesis of numerous products. When a scientist or company takes on a process that requires this technique, the path to achieving a high quality product may not be well-defined. Here we present key points of the particle size reduction process to set you up for implementation of a uniform and consistent particle reduction process.

Know your sample

The product you are looking to yield will hugely impact the starting components. For example, emulsion and dispersion synthesis requires incorporation of a surfactant; without it, the sample will have a high surface tension. Cell lysis, another common technique, may target specific intracellular proteins, DNA, or other molecules. Depending on the molecule of interest, one or more buffers, along with other supporting chemicals, may be needed. Knowing the chemical and physical properties of your sample beforehand will alleviate much troubleshooting and time wasted.

Select a machine that fits your sample’s needs

Reduction of a droplet’s size is a physical, as opposed to chemical, change. It is therefore necessary that the machine you select does not impose heat or cold during the particle size reduction process, so as not to change your sample’s chemical makeup. Additionally, if you require a specific particle size, select a machine that can at least match its needs. For example, basic blenders will achieve lower quality kitchen results, whereas high pressure homogenizers are among the highest tier of laboratory equipment.

Use equipment that imparts multiple mechanical forces

Homogenization, particularly high pressure homogenization, works by imparting impressive amounts of pressure on a sample while it is being forced through a narrow space. While most mixing methods impart only a single mechanical force, a handful of available equipment uses multiple forces, like turbulence, cavitation, shear, and impact. The impact of multiple, as opposed to one, mechanical forces, is smaller particle size and enhanced uniformity.

BEE International: Particle Size Reduction Equipment Recommendation

As you hunt for particle size reduction equipment that will suit your lab’s purposes, consider how the above-listed factors will improve the quality of your products. Although many companies manufacture homogenizers, few are of the high quality needed to achieve reliable and reproducible results. One example of equipment that does meet such expectations is the high pressure homogenizer by BEE International Technology.

BEE’s products are trusted by researchers and lab managers around the world for key benefits, such as production of nano/micro emulsions, dispersions, and suspensions; importantly, this equipment can achieve consistent particle sizes at or below 100 nm, a key benefit for researchers & corporations across a wide variety of industries.

Learn more about BEE’s particle size reduction equipment by contacting us today or if you want to learn more about how to achieve efficient and consistent particle size reduction, download our FREE eBook:

New Call-to-action

3 Consequences of Inefficient Particle Size Reduction

Posted by David Shechter on Apr 5, 2016 11:30:00 AM

3-consequences-of-inefficient-particle-size-reduction.jpgParticle size reduction is one of those techniques that, while seemingly simple, can have a significant impact on the final product. Multiple mixing methods can reduce particle size, some more efficiently than others. When hunting for a particle size reduction machine, it is important for scientists and researchers to consider the drawbacks of inefficient machines. Below is a compilation of consequences that can be expected as a result of inefficient particle size reduction (larger particles), taken from industries that frequently use this method.

  • Food Industry: Detrimental to Health Status

Foods containing smaller, as compared with larger, particle sizes confer a number of health benefits to the consumer; this also reflects highly on the food manufacturer. On the other end, foods comprising larger particles has the potential to be detrimental to health status. This may manifest in reduced growth among adolescents and increased food intake as a result of later satiety. (1)

  • Pharmaceutical Drugs: Decreased Bioavailability

Bioavailability refers to the fraction of an active drug ingredient that gets absorbed into circulation. A drug product’s bioavailability is directly correlated with its effectiveness; larger and inconsistent particle sizes in hydrophobic drugs therefore decrease their oral bioavailability and ability to achieve the intended function. Solubility and stability are also negatively affected by larger particle sizes, and can be partially attributed the smaller surface area in large particles. (3)

  • Chemical Products: Low Quality

In addition to pharmaceutical and food products, reduced particle size has significant benefits for materials within the chemical industry. This also means that larger particle size is a huge limitation to high quality product function in lower particle packing, reduced particle coating during formulations, decreased conductivity, and rougher surface quality. These can affect an array of chemical products like adhesives & pastes, pigment & ink dispersions, polymers, and resin additives.

BEE International: High Quality Particle Size Reduction Equipment

The above-listed criteria paint a rather dismal picture of the downstream effects of making products with large particles. However, these consequences can be easily avoided by choosing equipment that can achieve consistent and low particle size. One such example is the high pressure homogenizer by BEE International Technology. Their products are trusted by pharmaceutical researchers and lab managers around the world for key benefits, such as production of nano/micro emulsions, dispersions, and suspensions; importantly, this equipment can achieve consistent particle sizes at or below 100 nm, a key benefit for any product requiring small particle size.

Learn more about how BEEI can aid your particle size reduction process by visiting our particle size reduction products or if you're ready to see how you can achieve efficient & consistent particle size reduction, download our FREE eBook now:

New Call-to-action

3 Advantages of High Pressure Homogenizers for Emulsion Fuels

Posted by David Shechter on Mar 15, 2016 11:30:00 AM

high pressure homogenizers for emulsion fuelsFossil fuels fill a critical need in our worldwide economy, yet their combustion produces both nitrous oxide (NO) and particulate matter (PM) emissions. However, emerging technology around alternative fuels has yielded the emulsion fuel, which has the ability to reduce greenhouse gases and is a more efficient fuel source. This novel technology will allow humans to continue enjoying many of our modern-day comforts while better preserving the environment we exist within. Interestingly, because emulsion fuel is comprised of water droplets dispersed in an oil phase, the mixture needs to be produced through powerful mixing. (1) Here we analyze advantages of using high pressure homogenization as the emulsion fuel production method.

  1. Ability to Achieve Chemical Stability

An emulsion is classically defined as a mixture of two immiscible liquids. Emulsion fuels, for example, contain both water and oil, and these normally incompatible fluids are expected to mix and remain mixed. Microemulsion-based fuels, although found on the market, have been largely unsuccessful because they require such high levels of surfactant that the fuel is essentially ineffective. Nanoemulsion-based fuels, however, require less surfactant so hold more promise for potential use. Because stable nanoemulsion production requires high shear, high pressure homogenization is strongly recommended.

  1. Production of Fine Particles

Aside from its biochemical composition, particle size has perhaps the biggest influence on a product’s function. Multiple studies have shown that smaller particle sizes enhance product effectiveness. For example, among pharmaceutical products, this translates to increased bioavailability, and food and beverage products see enhanced appearance and extended shelf life. Emulsion fuels, as well, see benefits in that as the size of the dispersed particles decreases, the solution’s chemical stability (see above) increases. High-pressure homogenization in particular has the ability to reduce particle size to levels that are not achievable by most other mixing processes. (2)

  1. Reduced Costs & Harmful Emissions

You may be wondering how emulsion fuel production costs can be reduced when you need to invest in a high pressure homogenizer. In the long run, using a high pressure homogenizer allows for significant savings on surfactant that would need to be used in the absence of a high pressure homogenizer. And of course, the reduction in harmful emissions is critical to the success of this alternative fuel. NO emissions can be reduced by up to 35% and PM emissions can be reduced by up to 60%, all because emulsion fuels burn completely than diesel fuel.

BEEI: Equipment For Emulsion Production

As you either embark on or continue along the process of producing emulsions, your product’s success may depend on the equipment used to make it. High pressure homogenization is the most common method for producing emulsions, because of both its powerful mixing process and its cost/time effectiveness. The homogenizer will shear fluid by forcing it through a restrictive valve, forming a an emulsion with decreased particle size. BEE International Technology is trusted by lab managers and scientists around the world for their high-pressure homogenizers. They offer homogenizers that are both high-quality and reliable, and which can help your lab produce nano/micro emulsions, dispersions, and suspensions to be incorporated into your pharmaceutical cream. Visit us here to learn more about our products.

Do you have questions about the difference between w/o and o/w emulsions? Check out one of our recent BEEI blog posts that tackles just this, by clicking here! Want to learn more about Homogenization and how to achieve efficient and consistent particle size reduction? Download our FREE eBook now:

New Call-to-action