Researchers at E/M Coating Services (EMCS), a business unit of Curtiss Wright Surface Technologies specialising in technical surface coatings, are working with powder characterisation experts at Freeman Technology to develop new surface coating solutions for food and pharmaceutical processing equipment. The aim is to provide new products that ease powder flow during processing, reducing the potential for blockages, stoppages and contamination. Using Freeman Technology’s FT4 Powder Rheometer®, EMCS was able to reliably rank potential candidates, paving the way to commercialisation.
“Understanding the interactions between powders and the plant processing surface is crucial for effective coating specification,” said James Cooke, E/M Coatings Technical Services Manager. “Different powders vary in their response to different surfaces making it important to match coating and powder in any application. The FT4 Powder Rheometer allows us to quantify the effectiveness of a specific coating/powder combination and has exceptional reproducibility, so we were able to precisely differentiate our potential products. Freeman Technology has a lot of expertise in this area so working with them was particularly helpful as we tailor our coatings to support powder processors in the pharmaceutical and food industry.”
The FT4 Powder Rheometer offers dynamic, bulk, and shear property testing capabilities and incorporates well-defined methodologies and software for the measurement and interpretation of wall friction angles. Wall friction angles quantify the strength of interactions between a powder and surface and are extremely useful for ranking and comparing the ability of a coating to ease powder flow. They are also central to hopper design calculations.
EMCS provided Freeman Technology with six coated wall friction discs for testing. Evaluation took the form of back-to-back testing with two competitor products already offered for food and pharmaceutical applications. Of the coatings tested, certain that are proprietary to EMCS exhibited excellent performance characteristics for a number of powders including Respitose, an excipient widely used in the pharmaceutical industry.
“EMCS has a strategy of continuous development,” commented Mr Cooke. “Performing wall friction tests on the FT4 Powder Rheometer has helped to support this strategy, allowing precise and highly reproducible testing for the development of our product range”.