Often with new products that involve bulk material handling, developers are vague about the requisite particle size. Reduction equipment is often called upon to reduce material particles to sizes like flour, minerals, sugar granules or other things, though the actual particle size for the product tends to be ambiguous. When it comes to particle size reduction, equipment manufacturers often are the best source of information about what type of machinery is required.

Specific substances break down differently depending on the processing machinery, and understanding how certain equipment operates within a system can accelerate product development. It’s best to test processing equipment to ensure it can achieve the target particle size. Equipment should additionally be chosen to shape material properties that both ease processing and make the end product higher quality. Partnering with an experienced particle size reduction equipment manufacturer will typically lead to a product that’s more efficiently made while also improving its value.

Equipment Choice for Specific Materials & Industries

When looking to reach an approximate particle size, reduction equipment should also be chosen to give the material traits that will assist in its further processing. Machinery used to process bulk materials and reduce particle size also affects material properties like bulk density, flammability, flowability, hardness, heat resistance and toxicity. Depending on the material and application, systems can use a range of different equipment and configurations to deliver a superior product.

Diverse types of machinery are used for particle size reduction. Equipment can be configured for processing a wide range of materials, such as wood, wheat, pigments, minerals, limestone, charcoal, cement, alfalfa and much, much more.

Many bulk material handling equipment manufacturers will perform tests – with their machinery to help a customer achieve the proper particle size reduction. Equipment can then be recommended based on the test results, enabling a product manufacturer to choose the best system design for the application and material being processed. While additional tweaking may be needed, it’s imperative to have a seasoned engineering team to assist. A crew with experience in both the operations of material handling machinery and the processing of specific materials can offer valuable insights when putting together a material handling system.

Particle Size Reduction Equipment for Various Industries

For any bulk material handling system, the methods used are based on the requisite range of particle size. Reduction equipment often needs to reduce material from lumps half a foot to particles sized in the submicron range. Understanding which types of equipment are needed and where they must go within a system requires an understanding of both materials and machinery. Particle size reduction solutions must therefore be carefully considered, with expert opinions having the greatest weight.

Agricultural Industry

A diverse array of machinery is used to process agricultural products, including for particle size reduction. Equipment needs to deal with a range of materials that include barley, biomass, corn, fertilizer, plant fibers, sugarcane and wheat.  

Particle size reduction equipment used in the agricultural industry might include: 

  • Air Classifying Mills: Used for material processing based on particle size, reduction equipment like air classifying mills work well for materials that include flour, lactose, organic powders and wheat.
  • Hammermills: Capable of processing a wide array of materials like animal feed, beans, grains and spices hammer mills break down material with rotating hammers to reduce material via impact.
  • Lump Breakers: Particle size reduction equipment used for processing materials that include dry biosolids, fertilizer and sugar, lump crushers break down larger lumps into their smaller parts through the use of impaction.
  • Rotary Sifters: Chili powder, fiber, powdered whey and salt are examples of materials rotary sifters process.

Processed agricultural products aren’t just for edible plants either, but also for fiber-producing plants used to make organic fabrics and biomass used in the production of biofuels.

Chemical Processing

Often needing to deal with extraordinarily abrasive and toxic materials, the chemical processing industry requires customized solutions for particle size reduction. Equipment used in chemical manufacturing needs to be robust and will often feature protective surface coatings that increase durability.  

Particle size reduction equipment used in the chemical processing industry might include: 

  • Attrition Mills: Using either grinding material or particle-on-particle collisions to reduce particle size, reduction equipment like planetary mills, rotor mills and tower mills use attrition to break down materials such as glass frits, metal carbides, metal powders and other hard-to-grind materials.
  • Hammermills: For the chemical sector, this type of mill’s rotating hammers work to crush and disintegrate material like aluminum chloride, ammonium sulfate, caustic soda and sodium phosphate.
  • Lump Breakers: Using compression and screens to achieve particle size reduction, lump crushers are used for producing chemical components like boric acid, calcium chloride, copper hydroxide and sodium tripolyphosphate within the chemical sector.

Food Processing

In this sector, cleanliness and sanitation are key to ensuring the sterile conditions necessary for processing food. Applications that utilize particle size reduction equipment might include breaking down lumps, such as those that occur in sugar, granola and pasta production. It also may entail reducing bran into flakes, crushing dry beans and other similar purposes. Depending on the extent of particle size reduction, equipment used in specific food processing applications often depends on the traits of the ingredients involved.

Particle size reduction equipment used in processing food might include: 

  • Air Classifying Mills: Used in the processing of such food ingredients as bran, concentrated soy, starch and sugar, these mills ensure a more uniform particle distribution.
  • Fine Grinders: Cutting and grinding with rotating plates or blades to achieve particle size reduction, equipment like fine grinders is used in the processing of food products like cocoa, coffee, lactose and soybeans.
  • Impact Mills: These include air classifying and hammer mills, able to reduce material like bran, chocolate, coffee and gelatin with rotating hammers or pins moving at high speeds.
  • Roller Mills: Crushing and grinding grain, roller mills are used to produce flour for bread, breakfast cereals and pasta, along with other food products that require milling.

Not only does machinery used in the food processing industry need to reduce particle size, reduction equipment must also produce quality food products while meeting food safety requirements.


For particle size reduction, equipment used in recycling must be both tough and efficient. Recycling e-waste, metals, paper, plastics, wood and other recyclable materials require that they undergo sufficient particle size reduction. Equipment used in the sector will depend on the material being recycled, along with how it will be repurposed.

Particle size reduction equipment used in the recycling industry might include: 

  • Ball Mills: Using rotating cylinders to achieve particle size reduction, this equipment is mainly used for recycling ceramics and glass.  
  • Pulverizers: Grinding recyclables down into fine powders to decrease particle size, reduction equipment for recycling includes impactors, grinding mills and lump crushers, which help reduce electronic waste, plastics and rubber.  
  • Rotor Mills: Used for reducing glass to a powder and other similar recycling applications, these mills finely grind glass to cullet to use within bricks and other ceramics, as well as for road asphalt.

Often several different types of machines are employed to reduce and separate material by particle size. Reduction equipment aids the recovery of valuable resources from this waste material.

Particle Size Reduction Equipment by Prater Industries

Prater Industries manufactures robust and reliable machinery used in diverse industries for particle size reduction. Equipment that Prater makes includes air classifying mills, fine grinders, hammer mills and lump breakers. Our machinery and customized systems are engineered to be of the highest quality, which is in turn used by leading processing companies throughout North America and globally.   

A selection of Prater’s particle size reduction equipment includes: 

  • Air Classifying Mills: Ranging from 3 to 300 horsepower, Prater air classifying mills can handle applications both big and small, including materials that require very narrow particle size distributions and are difficult to grind.
  • Fine Grinders: Prater’s two styles of fine grinders include the efficient M-series and the 10-bar models. The M-series fine grinders work well for tight particle size distributions and dry, free-flowing material down to a fineness of 400 mesh (37 microns). 10-bar fine grinders are used for potentially explosive environments, such as that found in sugar processing facilities.
  • Hammer Mills: Prater makes both a full-screen hammer mill and a specialized model known as the Mega Mill, which reduces materials to a finer state than conventional hammer mills yet not so fine as our fine grinders. Prater’s G-series hammer mill allows the use of the full screen, enabling higher capacities, better energy efficiency and more uniform particle size. Reduction equipment like Prater’s Mega Mill hammer mill can run efficiently with lower airflow, allowing quieter operation and marginal buildup of heat.
  • Lump Breakers: Compact and economical, Prater’s conventional lump breakers can either loosen material or crush naturally agglomerated lumps to improve flow throughout a processing facility. Additionally, Prater makes a Quick-Clean lump breaker that is easier and safer to clean and maintain.

To learn more about the various products and services we have on offer, contact the experts of particle size reduction equipment at Prater Industries today.