What is Toll Processing?

The origin of the word “toll” comes from the Greek word telos which means “tax.” Toll processing refers to a similar fee, which a manufacturer pays to another company with specialized equipment and expertise to process raw or unfinished material used to produce their products. 

How Toll Processing Works 

Toll processing is also referred to by other names, such as contract processing, tolling, tolling conversion, toll manufacturing, or toll milling. Contract processing tends to involve longer-term agreements and written contracts, whereas toll processing generally refers to a simpler arrangement done on an as-needed basis. Toll milling is a more specific type of processing involving particulate size reduction in the raw or unfinished material, such as occurs with the grinding of grain or breaking down of minerals. Whatever the process, it involves a company with specialized equipment – and often expertise – who then charges a fee, or toll, to enable a manufacturer to process material for its end products. 

Toll processing services are often needed for a variety of reasons. Perhaps the manufacturer wants to produce a small product batch to test the market before investing in specialized machinery. Possibly a manufacturer requires additional capacity that it doesn’t have in its current facilities. Maybe the manufacturer is in the midst of upgrading and needs to continue production in the interim. Or perhaps a manufacturer is not yet ready to invest in the equipment, maintenance, and labor required to process material used in their end product and feels it can do so more economically through toll processing services. 

Benefits of Toll Processing

Service providers with specialized equipment, infrastructure, and expertise offer manufacturers several benefits that can make toll processing services more advantageous than processing the materials or semi-finished goods themselves. 

Benefits of Toll processing: 

  • Permits increase in production to meet temporary demand without long-term capital investment.
  • Enables startups or manufacturers with limited capabilityto develop relationships with companies that provide necessary processing equipment and expertise.
  • Helps get products to market more quickly, especially those in high demand.   
  • Buffers purchaser against routine and unplanned maintenance costs. 
  • Eliminates the risk of capital investment in business that does not have well defined, long term commitment. 
  • Short term need definable at lower cost per lb as compared to investment in capital equipment purchase.  

Though toll processing services offer manufacturers a number of benefits, companies must also ensure the trustworthiness of the companies with whom they partner. Toll processing often requires that manufacturers share certain information regarding production so that products are made according to their specifications. Sometimes this means revealing trade secrets, recipes or confidential knowledge about the product being handled.

Prater’s Key Toll Processing Services

Prater Industries utilizes cutting-edge methods and technologies to measure particulate size in raw, semi-processed, and fully-processed materials. Prater works closely with our customers to develop production requirements for each toll process. This even includes the ability to label and repackage products as needed.

Example: Hammermill Toll Processing Services

Prater understands that the natural wear of a hammermill’s hammers will require eventual replacement, though we seek to lengthen the amount of time between repairs and replacement. We need to understand various factors about our customers’ production to do so.  

With hammermill toll processing and testing services, we can assist with the following:

  • Choosing easily replaceable parts before installation. 
  • Deciding on the best hammer configuration for the application.
  • Determining the best way to use the hammermill for the specific application. 
  • Ensuring enough screen area to keep material from heating too much during grinding while making milling operations more efficient. 
  • Modifying hammer tip speed to adjust how efficiently they grind and to minimize screen wear. 
  • Selecting the appropriate number of hammers to produce sufficiently fine grinds for the purpose and to prevent the hammermill from rocking. 
  • Setting clearances between hammer tips and the screen to adjust wear time and fineness of the grind. 

Prater has previously partnered with customers and vendors to adapt our hammermills to best meet our customers’ needs. These are just a few of the things we can help our customers when it comes to hammermill design customization. For example, to extend the hammers’ lives, we have even designed special features and wear coatings. 

Prater Testing Laboratory

In addition to Prater’s toll processing services, our test lab represents our commitment to developing the best production methods and equipment to meet our customers’ needs. With ample experience and expertise derived from various projects worldwide, Prater’s technical team offers the personal care necessary to support innovative solutions. Through consultation with our customers, we develop goals to reduce, separate, and process their material, leading to the best equipment to achieve their objectives. 

Prater’s toll processing and testing capabilities include: 

  • Air classifiers
  • Briquette presses
  • Centrifugal (rotary) sifters
  • Classifier mills
  • Compactors
  • Fine grinders
  • Hammermills
  • Lump breakers
  • Mega mills
  • Rotary airlock valves
  • Rotor dryers
  • Rotor mills 
  • Vibratory (deck) screeners

Prater also demonstrates valuable material handling techniques thru the use of its wide variety of bulk unloading equipment, feeders, pneumatic systems, and explosion protection systems that often couple with the core capabilities listed above. Using an assortment of particle analysis techniques, we can accurately verify the results of our work. We utilize methods that include both standard screen and modern laser diffraction analysis.

Prater’s toll processing and testing lab reduction capabilities include: 

  • Air classification (fine material separation)
  • Coarse grinding
  • Compacting, briquetting, and densification
  • De-lumping and product conditioning
  • Fine grinding
  • Screening and separation

Prater also offers the following toll processing and testing solutions: 

  • Blending
  • Coating
  • Drying
  • Mixing