Material Transport Characteristics in Planetary Roller Melt Granulation
Melt granulation for improving material handling by modifying particle size distribution offers significant advantages compared to the standard methods of dry and wet granulation in dust reduction, obviating a subsequent drying step. Furthermore, current research in pharmaceutical technology aims for continuous methods, as these have an enhanced potential to reduce product quality fluctuations. Concerning both aspects, the use of a planetary roller granulator is consequential. The process control with these machines benefits from the enhanced ratio of heated surface to processed volume, compared to the usually-applied twin-screw systems. This is related to the unique concept of planetary spindles flowing around a central spindle in a roller cylinder. Herein, the movement pattern defines the transport characteristics, which determine the energy input and overall processing conditions. The aim of this study is to investigate the residence time distribution in planetary roller melt granulation (PRMG) as an indicator for the material transport. By altering feed rate and rotation speed, the fill level in the granulator is adjusted, which directly affects the average transport velocity and mixing volume. The two-compartment model was utilized to reflect these coherences, as the model parameters symbolize the sub-processes of axial material transport and mixing.