Hosokawa Alpine’s innovative and versatile picoline is an excellent addition to laboratories for clinical trials and R&D purposes where ultra-small amounts of, often very expensive, materials require critically intensive and precise development and testing prior to full-scale production. Employing the latest intelligent technology, the picoline is the most unique, adaptable and useful piece of laboratory equipment of its type currently available on the market.
The Picoline comprises a unique universal platform for housing an excellent choice of ten interchangeable mini-processing modules that encompass fine milling, classifying, mixing and particle design, along with numerous optional accessories and variants. Each optimised module is based on the dry or wet processing principle of a well-established product from Hosokawa Micron Group’s industry-leading powder processing equipment portfolio.
Portable and user-friendly, the picoline is perfect for the development of everything from pharmaceuticals, battery and electronic materials, speciality fine chemicals, functional materials and high-performance polymers to cosmetics, dental ceramics and food dyes. The equipment can also be placed inside a fume cupboard or specialised picocont compact isolator (glovebox) if potentially hazardous materials – such as active pharmaceutical ingredients – are to be processed.
Problem-free scale-up of processes and the speedy production of exceptional-quality powders and free-flowing suspensions is assured when beginning a challenging product development process with the reliable, high-performance Hosokawa Alpine picoline.
Hosokawa Alpine’s picoline is a unique, adaptable piece of laboratory and R&D equipment, specifically designed to be capable of performing a range of wet and dry processing tasks, including fine milling, classifying, particle design and mixing.
The interchangeable modules offer functionality compatible to full-size versions of the Hosokawa equipment upon which they are based, meaning the picoline is perfect for use by multiple industries for product development and precise scale-up to full-scale process manufacturing using Hosokawa-brand equipment.
Depending on the module, accessories, material and process chosen, throughput capability when used in continuous mode is typically up to 1 kilogram per hour, while material in the range of 0.5g up to 500g can be processed by the picoline in batch mode.
The picoline equipment comprises three main components: the universal platform, a choice of modules and a choice of accessories, while the picocont variant offers an additional containment element in the form of an isolator (glovebox).
Picoline’s one-size universal platform is compact, very transportable and easily fits onto a laboratory bench or inside a fume cupboard, if necessary.
Its standard dimensions are 893mm (L) x 616mm (W) x 488mm (H) and the weight, without the addition of modules and accessories, is approximately 80kgs.
The picoline platform includes a touch panel, microprocessor, CAN bus, I/O ports, power pack, mains switch, connection cable, 3 USB ports, 2 connectors, a pivoted media supply for module attachment (tiltable for picoliq and picobond). An intelligent touch panel offers user-friendly functionality.
Integrate your chosen module then select the chosen module from the touch screen to activate the stored logic control and display operating data, settings, system flowcharts and trend curves. There’s a LAN interface for attaching a printer, using a remote control and connecting to LIMS systems, while exporting csv data files to USB memory sticks is also possible.
For further details about the functionality and features of each module, please refer to the individual module sections.
A wide range of ancillaries and variants is available to complement the picoline, including contamination-free designs. Options are dependent on the operating mode (batch or continuous) and batch size requirements and can be configured to suit your material and application. A universal adapter (suitable for all modules) supplies the media, meaning that no tubes are required and additional modules can be supplied and integrated at a later date, as and when required.
The multi-tasking Hosokawa picoline can be supplied as an individual piece of laboratory equipment with single or multiple mini-modules and relevant accompanying accessories available to precisely cater for your specific application and material requirements.
For processing hazardous materials, including those that are new substances where the potential risk is unknown, the picocont variant of the picoline offers an excellent containment solution. Providing high containment safety and protection, this uniquely designed, purpose-built isolator (glovebox) houses your picoline platform and chosen module/s and accessories and effortlessly addresses the challenges of processing in an R&D environment. The isolator allows you to safely transfer sample material and tools via a rapid transfer port and operates with automatic air intake and with inert gas.
Ergonomics are an important factor when processing materials for R&D purposes, particularly as it required working on a small scale with very compact equipment, so the picocont has been specially designed to be as comfortable and simple to use as possible. OEL values of less than 50 ng/m3 are achievable by the clear separation and definition between the external technical zone and the interior processing zone, with fully automatic operation of the isolator via the picoline’s intelligent system controls.
Conveniently, the picoline can be adapted at a later date by the purchase of additional interchangeable modules and accessories, meaning more than one process can be performed by the picoline to suit the development of materials and fulfil changes to the market.
The Alpine picoplex® is a mechanical impact mill for the dry milling of soft to medium-hard materials. The design and principle of operation are largely identical with that of Alpine’s UPZ Ultraplex fine impact mill product line. For end-product fineness values of 50 µm — 500 µm, dependent on whether equipped with pin discs or plate beaters.
The feed material is metered into the centre of the rotor equipped with grinding elements and is comminuted as a result of impacting against the rotor and stator elements. After being processed in the grinding zone, the product moves into the mill housing before exiting the mill by gravity. The rotation generates an air flow from which the product is extracted in a filter.
Different grinding elements can be used, e.g. rotor/stator discs with axial pins or a plate beater rotor with profiled grinding track or sieve. The fineness of the end product is set as a function of the rotor speed and the feed rate.
The Alpine picozirk ® is a mechanical impact mill with integrated classifier for the dry fine milling of soft to medium-hard materials with a steep particle size distribution.
Milling is conducted with a high-speed disc equipped with grinding elements. The feed material is metered into the grinding chamber and is accelerated by the rotor. Comminution is the result of particles impacting against the grinding elements of the rotor and against the grinding track.
The grinding air flows from below through the gap between rotor and grinding track and then through the classifying wheel arranged in the mill head. The classifying effect of the classifying wheel allows fine particles to exit the mill entrained in the air, after which they are collected in a filter. Coarser particles fall back onto the rotor and are comminuted further until such time as they have reached the desired fineness.
The end-product fineness is set by adjusting the speed of the rotor and of the classifying wheel as well as the gas flow rate.
The Alpine picosplit ® is an ultrafine classifier for the classification of dry powders by particle size. Classification is based on the centrifugal counterflow principle in a high-speed deflector-wheel classifier. For the ultrafine classification of fine powders in the separation range 2 µm – 120 µm.
The powder is metered into the classifying chamber and is transported to the classifying wheel by the air flow. Fine particles pass through the wheel, are discharged entrained in the air and are collected in a filter. Coarse particles are rejected by the classifying wheel and are discharged into a collection bin.
The classifying air is supplied to the housing bottom section via a vane ring; this serves to re-disperse the rejected coarse material and to increase the classifier’s precision of cut.
The cut point is set by varying the air flow rate and the classifier speed.
The Alpine picojet ® is a fluidised bed opposed jet mill with integrated classifier for the contamination-free dry ultrafine milling of soft to hard materials.
The grinding energy in the form of highly accelerated air jets enters the mill via several nozzles. The feed material is dosed into the grinding chamber and is fluidised by the air jets. The particles are accelerated in the air jets which intersect at the focal point. Comminution is a result of the particles impacting in the focal point and of shear flows in the peripheral zone of the air jets.
The grinding air then flows through the classifying wheel located in the mill head and the product is classified. Fine particles exit the mill through the classifying wheel entrained in the air and are collected in a filter. Coarser particles fall back into the fluidised bed and are comminuted further until they have reached the desired fineness. The fineness is set as a function of the air flow rate, the grinding air pressure and the classifying wheel speed.
Picojet features include:
The Alpine piconizer® is a spiral jet mill for the dry milling of soft to medium-hard materials. The design and principle of operation are largely identical with that of Alpine’s Aeroplex spiral jet mill AS product line.
For the micronisation of dry and relatively soft materials with a Mohs’ hardness of up to 3. Produces powders in the fineness range 5 µm – 40 µm.
A number of gas nozzles generate a high-speed air vortex. The feed material is fed into the disc-shaped grinding chamber via an injector assembly. Comminution is a result of particle collisions brought about by the speed gradients in the air flow.
The grinding gas exits the mill through a dip pipe located in the centre of the grinding chamber. The free vortex generates a classifying effect so that only fine particles can exit the mill through the dip pipe and be collected in a filter. Coarser particles remain in the grinding chamber until such time as they have reached the desired fineness.
The degree of micronisation can be adjusted by varying the grinding gas flow rate, the grinding gas pressure and the throughput.
The picocross ® is a 2-rotor contra-rotating impact mill designed for the dry milling of soft to medium-hard materials. The mill is created by equipping the picoplex ® with a second driven pin disc.
The design and principle of operation are largely identical with that of Alpine’s Contraplex impact mill C product line.
The contra-rotating pin mill with 2 driven pin discs. It produces high powder fineness values in the range 10 µm — 500 µm.
The feed material is dosed into the centre of two contra-rotating pin discs and is comminuted by impacting against the grinding pins. The high shear speed of the contra-rotating discs permits a particularly intensive stressing of the particles.
After being processed in the grinding zone, the product moves into the mill housing before exiting the mill by gravity. The rotation generates an air flow from which the product is extracted in a filter. The fineness of the end product is set by varying the speed of the two rotors and the feed rate.
The Alpine picoliq ® is an agitated media mill for the continuous or batch wet milling of particles in liquids. The design and principle of operation are largely identical with that of Alpine’s AHM product line.
For the wet processing of small to mini product batches and fineness values down to the submicron and nano-range.
The grinding chamber of the mill is usually filled with ceramic beads which are set into motion by a rotating agitator. The feed material is suspended in a liquid and is filled into and discharged from the grinding chamber by a pump. The particles are stressed between the grinding beads by impact and friction and are thus comminuted. In continuous mode, the suspension exits the mill after passing through the grinding zone, whereby a separating element in the form of a screen retains the grinding beads in the mill.
The mill settings are made by varying the rotor speed, the amount of grinding beads and the suspension flow rate as well as the size of the grinding beads.
The Alpine picobond ® is a mixing reactor designed to give a functional design to dry particles using a mechanochemical process. The design and principle of operation are almost identical to that of the Hosokawa Micron Nobilta product line.
The Alpine picobond ® offers short processing times for mixing, material bonding and ultrafine dispersion. It delivers good product quality even without the use of binders. The facility for temperature monitoring means the unit is suitable for use with temperature sensitive products.
A high-speed agitator is located in a reactor vessel which effects a brief but intensive compression of a powder mixture, at the same time stressing it through shearing action. The pressure is then relieved and the powder remixed. In batch mode, this process is repeated many times during the residence time of the material in the machine. The product is then emptied out of the machine through an outlet port.
As a result of the high stressing intensity, mechanochemical reactions occur on the surface of the particles. The particles are brought into contact with each other in such a way that stable coatings, compound particles or changes to the particle shape come into being. The process parameters are set as a function of the rotor speed and the reaction time.
The picomix ® is a high-shear batch mixer for dry powders. This small volume mixer offers very fast mixing with full discharge without loss of material.
The rotating mixing element is arranged in a conical agitator vessel. As a result of the special geometry of the mixing element and the high shear speed, an intensive but homogeneous and fast blending of the powder components takes place.
After filling the powder components into the agitator vessel, the machine is then closed. Once the mixing process is complete, the vessel is removed from the machine and the mixture is emptied out.
The mixing efficiency is regulated by the rotor speed, the mixing time and the degree of filling.
The Picocont is the containment system for the safe operation of all modules and is mostly used within the pharmaceutical industry
The Hosokawa Alpine picocrush module is a mechanical hammer mill that has been designed for continuously pre-crushing of large dry granules and agglomerates prior to fine milling of the soft to medium-hard material by one of the other modules in the picoline range. The design is similar to the features of the picoplex fine impact mill. Its throughput rate in continuous mode is typically 5kgs per hour.
Material feeds into the hammer mill’s beater unit from the side and impacts against the mill’s rotor and stator elements. Following the grinding process, the material exits the grinding zone and enters the mill housing via exchangeable sieves with different types of apertures. A combination of gravity and air flow conveys the material to the filtering zone, where it is separated from the air. For better product feed control, an optional dedusting unit is recommended.
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