Spray drying – the development chemist’s best friend and how Lancashire Chemicals help turn ideas into reality 

Here at Lancashire Chemicals, most of our established customers have travelled the same path from product concept to full scale production.  The length of time taken to get from pilot plant production to full scale production can vary enormously from just a few weeks to several years! However, the route is generally fairly similar for all new customers.

A typical project will start with receiving a tentative phone call from a development chemist or other technical development colleague enquiring about the availability of spray drying, how much it might cost, how easy is it to run trials, what is the process to be able to run trials and generally to get more details about our pilot plant facilities. This could then be followed up by one or more further calls to clarify various details of how a trial might be run etc.

Once these are dealt with a visit to the Glossop site is usually the next step to see all of the facilities available to assist in running a successful pilot plant trial, such as laboratory support, experienced operators and managers available to provide valuable insight and input to ensure that all obvious pitfalls and problems are avoided ahead of the trial actually being run.

Come the day of the trial our operators will ensure that the machine is up and running, all the equipment is scrupulously clean and ready to welcome the customer to site to run their trial. The whole process is very interactive with the customer providing instant feedback on the spray dried powder produced as to whether it was what they were looking for. Inevitably with a trial we do not always get it right first time! We then use all of our experience of spray drying to suggest adjustments to running conditions, concentration, temperature etc to enable us to produce the powder that the customer is looking for. Once a steady state is reached we then proceed with the trial to produce as much powder as is required by the customer to help them supply samples to either their customers to incorporate into new formulations, or to be used in house for scale up purposes.

For quite a large number of customers this is not just a “one-off”, but a series of trials as they move closer to market with their new product. It is in this spirit of partnership that Lancashire Chemicals can add real value to the product development cycle and how we gain our customers for the future.