Processing lab opens for pre-production testing

By George Reynolds

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Research and development, Mass

A new lab that provides powder processing services allows firms to
test small batches before they progress to full production.

Set up costs of product testing and research powder processing facilities can limit development of new products for small and mid-size manufacturers. Private labs allows them to outsource the cost and test innovations. Fluid Energy announced the opening this month of a new "lab to pilot" processing facility in Telford, in Pennsylvania. The new laboratory provides test results that assists processors in making production decisions before larger commitments are made and at a fraction of the cost of constructing an in-house facility, Fluid Energy claims. Building a controlled clean room environment fitted-out with jet milling and powder processing equipment simply is not in the budget for many companies. Jeffrey Gutkind, Fluid Energy's sales and marketing director, said the lab allows better service to research and development and product testing needs. "What we're doing is providing clients with an alternative to bringing product testing, research and development, and pilot scale production in-house,"​ he stated. Fluid Energy's lab to pilot program includes basic grinding and mixing, blending, coating, milling, and packaging. Products can be tested in batches as small as one gram of material, prior an increase to pilot scales of usually between 50 to 5,000 pounds (22.7 to 2,268kg). Once pilot scale processing is complete, production scale services for larger batches of up to one million pounds are offered. Gretchen Vanderford, Fluid Energy's lab manager said the tools were in place, including a clean room, two complete production milling stations, and a development lab suite. "This unique location will allow customers to take advantage of our expertise in powder processing research and product development, enabling them to make critical decisions before scaling up to production,"​ she stated. Vanderford said that Fluid Energy had recently developed a product for a client that required multi-stage research and development including drying, particle coating, and jet milling down to five microns. "In a matter of days, Fluid Energy was able to build a complete process for the client through the new lab to pilot program,"​ she stated. Fluid Energy estimates if that client had attempted to perform the research in-house, the capital expenditure alone would have cost over $500,000. The client ran its first 100,000 pounds (45,359kg) of product using Fluid Energy's production facility in Hatfield. Fluid Energy Processing and Equipment Company provides powder processing solutions, and offers research and development, toll processing services and equipment manufacturing for powder processing needs of processing, biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries.

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