Hosokawa Micron Expands Test Centre

Over the past two years, powder process technology specialist Hosokawa Micron B.V. has made a substantial investment in its Test Centre in Doetinchem, the Netherlands. Berthram Mak, Manager Sales & Marketing at Hosokawa Micron B.V., explains how the latest changes to the test centre have further improved the company's service to customers in terms of greater convenience, more certainty and lower costs.

Hosokawa Micron B.V. is an expert in mixing, drying and agglomeration technologies (both batch processing and continuous processing) within the global Hosokawa Group. Based on many decades of practical expertise gained in the field, the Hosokawa Micron team of process technologists support and advise customers with regard to the design, construction, installation, commissioning and preventive maintenance of powder processing equipment. This support often involves small-scale trials at the Hosokawa Micron Test Centre to ensure operational reliability, optimal efficiency and long-term customer satisfaction.

Berthram Mak

Real-life trials

The test centre is a hub for innovation with both existing and prospective clients. "People approach us with a product idea or problem, but they are not sure what is feasible in practice," says Berthram Mak, Manager Sales & Marketing at Hosokawa Micron B.V. "Some customers don't have an R&D or test department of their own, while others want to experiment without interrupting their current production activities. They come to our test centre to try out their new products or formulations on a small scale without the inconvenience and cost of downtime at their own factories."

The test centre enables all kinds of customers to benefit from Hosokawa's technical insights and advice throughout the product development phase, without having to invest in the equipment themselves. "We conduct real-life trials with various types and combinations of powder processing methods and technologies, as the basis for designing the optimal bespoke set-up to solve the customer's problem. So our customers have certainty regarding how the end product will turn out in their day-to-day operation, which substantially reduces the risks for them," he continues.

All under one roof

Hosokawa Micron's equipment is widely used in many business sectors, including food, pharma, cosmetics, chemicals and minerals/metals, so the company can draw on very broad experience of countless product/powder processing technology combinations when tackling customer problems. The test centre in Doetinchem comprises more than 2,000m² and is fitted with 30 machines. "The combination of its size and its diversity makes our test centre unique in Europe, and it's one of only a handful of its kind in the whole world. So there's a pretty big likelihood that we'll find a solution to most problems!" says Mak with a smile. "Our customers are surprised and very excited when they come to our test centre. They get so enthusiastic when they see how many different types and sizes of machines and technologies we offer all under one roof!"

Hosokawa Micron B.V. Powder Processing Test Centre

Controlled environment

Hosokawa Micron's recent investments in improving the test centre are certain to further fuel that enthusiasm. One key enhancement is the 3.5m-high platform which provides access to two batch mixing test machines and a new filter installation for the continuous drying system below. The new platform is part of the overall redesign of the test area to improve convenience and accessibility. Another new addition is the 50m² controlled-environment room that has been incorporated into the building. "This enables customers to use our facilities and equipment while also working in the privacy of a completely separate room. In terms of layout, the test centre is now better fit for purpose," explains Mak.

Higher efficiency

The continuous drying system itself has also been upgraded to offer customers higher energy efficiency and ultimately lower costs: "The dryer now has 20% more installed indirect heating capacity, the maximum inlet temperature has been increased from 350 ⁰C to 450 ⁰C and the filter is 65% larger, so the same machine can dry more product," he adds. Furthermore, the complete drying system has a higher gas tightness level to secure lower oxygen levels, so products with a higher risk of explosion can be processed safely.

Other improvements at the test centre include the installation of a new 800-litre freeze drying system, a new multi-process batch mixer/dryer test unit for the high-temperature treatment of products such as metal powder mixtures and polymers, a new multi-liquid dosing system and a regulable air treatment system. There is also a new, large fluid bed dryer for the continuous agglomeration system which allows an even better simulation of the process in a production set-up.

Flexomix Continuous Agglomeration System

Contract manufacturing

The test centre facilities can also be used for contract manufacturing. "As the pace of innovation continues to accelerate, we're noticing a growing interest in our tolling services to help customers get their products to market more quickly," explains Mak. "Thanks to the recent investments in our test centre, in terms of both installing new equipment and designing new combinations of various process steps, we are now able to provide bespoke multi-process systems – whether for purchase, rental or as a contract manufacturing service," he concludes.


The facilities at the Hosokawa Micron Test Centre include: