Powder Flow Testing

A powder flow tester (PFT) measures flowability, or ability of feed ingredients or premixes to flow during handling.

Proper manufacturing of a homogenous pet food premix requires it to flow freely between bins, hoppers, mixers and into the final bag. Obstruction of flow between any of these vessels could impact production time and raise expenses. To optimize handling characteristics, Trouw Nutrition uses a powder flow tester (PFT) to measure a premix’s:

  • Flowability (ability of feed ingredients or premixes to flow during handling)
  • Bulk density (a measurement of the weight of a given volume)
  • Wall friction (the amount of friction between a powder and a given wall surface)
  • Compressibility (a measure of the change in volume resulting from the application of external pressure)
  • Normal stress (stress applied perpendicularly [i.e., normally] to the sample)
  • Shear stress (stress between parallel layers of ingredients or between a layer of ingredient and the PFT sample lid)

Our formulators can use this information to adjust composition and prevent flowability issues. PFT measurements can also be used for benchmarking, in which a single sample result is compared to the historical data set of all ingredients and premixes to identify significant differences. Similarly, we can use PFT measurements to aid the development of new formulations; new ingredients or blends can be compared to the historical data set to gauge how it will handle based on previous measurements.