A Basic Introduction to Agglomeration: Technologies to Accelerate the Transition from Concept to Final Product

Life Sciences, Pharma Manufacturing & Supply Chain, Food, Food Manufacturing & Supply Chain,
  • Thursday, February 16, 2017

In the modern food, feed additive and chemical industries, there are ever increasing demands for controlling the performance of materials. Agglomeration is a viable approach to modifying bulk solid material to yield a more useable form with the desired properties. Put basically, agglomeration or size enlargement processes transform small bulk solids or past materials to materials of larger sizes, with either random or controlled shapes. As there are many requirements for agglomerated materials, there are many methods to create them. In this presentation, the speakers hope to introduce the basic concepts of agglomeration, various agglomeration technologies and to describe the properties of the materials delivered from each available technology.

Agglomeration is a process that has been used for centuries and in many ways, it still remains an art rather than an exact science. Perhaps this is due to the unpredictable behavior of bulk solids. In any case, the industry can define agglomeration as a process to transform finely divided particles into particles of larger size through the introduction of outside forces. In the most basic sense, these outside forces are manually delivered. Childhood activities such as making a snowball or a mud pie are examples of very basic agglomeration processes. In industrial processes, these outside forces are typically delivered by a machine or a combination of machines.

Of utmost importance is the determination of the required product properties. Once these requirements are confirmed, a path toward an agglomeration solution becomes more clear. Various agglomeration methods include pressure, mixing with water or binders in a turbulent environment, extrusion or thermal heat treatment. Each process has its own unique strengths and weaknesses and each will produce a different product. A brief introduction into the strengths and weaknesses of these processes will be offered as well as a description of the resulting products. Typical examples of their uses are also covered.

In every case, an industrial system contains a key piece of agglomeration equipment. Generally, this is the forming device. In most cases, the forming device is a single component of a more complex system. In some cases, while the agglomeration device is the heart of the system, its costly portion is minor. Although this presentation is intended as a basic introduction, some technical details of the processes are presented, including flow sheets and an introduction to the auxiliary components necessary to assemble an agglomeration system. The purpose and function of these components will be explained.

The goal is for the audience to gain a general knowledge of agglomeration and the technical options available. For those with a specific project, this presentation hopefully triggers ideas for a path forward. In the end this info should greatly reduce the time required to go from concept to final product.


Michael White, Director of Business Development, Bepex International

Michael serves as the Director of Business Development at Bepex International, located in the United States. Bepex International is a supplier of various agglomeration systems for the food and chemical industries. Mr. White holds a degree in Thermomechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois in Chicago. He has spent more than 30 years studying agglomerations, particularly in the area of roll compaction and briquetting and has been involved in the commissioning of over 100 agglomeration systems. Mr. White is currently on the Board of the Institute for Briquetting and Agglomeration (Agglomeration.org) and is the current leader of the agglomeration workshop.

Message Presenter

Joe McHale, Vice President Global Sales, Bepex International

Joe has over 30 years of experience in the industrial process equipment industry. A significant portion of his career has been focused on the development and service of agglomeration technologies used throughout industries such as food, chemical and minerals. The knowledge he has gained throughout his career has enabled him to cultivate a team of sales and service professionals that provide Bepex clients superior service beginning with process system design all the way through start-up, commissioning, aftermarket support and on-going optimization.

Joe’s past positions at Bepex include Regional Sales Manager, Director of Aftermarket Sales and Service and National Sales Director. Joe has co-authored several patents which continue to provide optimized plant operations throughout the U.S. Mr. McHale has always been passionate about learning from his peers and has maintained active participation in many industry organizations such as the Institute of Briquetting and Agglomeration where he served on the Board of Directors for five years.

Message Presenter

Who Should Attend?

Professionals within the bulk solids processing industries including, food, feed additives, minerals and chemicals.

Relevant functions:

  • Plant Engineers, Plant Managers, Machine Operators, Maintenance Technicians
  • Process Development Engineers and Design Engineers
  • Quality Control, Quality Assurance Managers
  • Marketing and Business Development Managers responsible for finding new applications of existing solids

Xtalks Partner


Bepex International is a leader in process equipment manufacturing and custom system design. Integrity, commitment and innovation are at the forefront of our engineers’ and field technicians’ approach to helping customers realize their potential. Our customer’s markets are constantly evolving and for over 100 years we’ve developed tools to provide more than just a piece of process equipment. Whatever your material, we provide the process to take it from its raw form to a high value product. Our Process Development Center allows us to design, test, and evaluate process systems as they’re being configured.

We are proud of our ability to find the best technology for your application based on our range of industrial process equipment. We work closely with our customers to understand the demands of their process and we have a team available to assist every step of the way. We also offer industry leading aftermarket services that enable greater levels of efficiency and productivity.

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