The fast-growing electronic vehicle (EV) market has significantly raised the demand for high-density, spheroidized graphite, both with Natural Graphite and Synthetic Graphite used for the anode in lithium batteries. This is especially true as there is a strong push to increase production in USA / Canada for battery manufacturing and critical raw materials.
Hosokawa provides equipment for the milling, rounding and de-dusting of both Natural Graphite and Synthetic Graphite.
Both Natural and Synthetic Graphite will start the process with milling to the needed particle size (or slightly larger than the final size) using a Hosokawa Mikro ACM (Air Classifying Mill). The Mikro-ACM uses hammers on a rotating disc at high speeds along with a corrugated liner to break up and mill the particles. An internal air classifier with precise speed control is used to obtain the desired product size. The unit is fitted with wear protected parts and design for durability. Hosokawa is the inventor of the Air Classifying Mill and is a leader the expertise and continued development of this technology.
Rounding-Dedusting for Synthetic Graphite:
The Rounding / Dedusting occurs in one step with the ZPS mill. This is a semi-batch process where the material is fed into the ZPS mill, then the ZPS is run for a period where it gently mills the graphite to round the surface, while pulling out the ultra-fines through the internal air classifier. Once the rounding step is completed, the rounded and dedusted product (that remains in the milling chamber) is discharged. The next cycle (feed, round/dedust, discharge) occurs through automated controls.
Rounding-Dedusting for Natural Graphite:
Natural Graphite requires more rounding energy (rounding time) than synthetic graphite, making the ZPS method (above) impractical for natural graphite. Therefore, Hosokawa has developed the APR which is used in parallel with the TTD air classifier for the rounding / dedusting of natural graphite. Unlike the ZPS, the APR does not have an internal air classifier. Instead, it more efficiently rounds the particles (in a semi-batch process) at a faster rate than the ZPS. After the material is rounded by the APR, it is fed into the TTD air classifier to remove the ultra-fines to produce the rounded and dedusted product. One of the strong advantages of the APR / TTD system is you can run multiple APR units, which are much simpler than the ZPS units and do not require the multiple large and costly classification ancillary equipment (dust collectors / blowers / field instruments). Multiple APR units will discharge into a common interim silo which will feed one TTD air classifier, for significant capital cost savings, energy savings and it requires significantly less infrastructure space.