The primary equipment used in the pellet plant is a pellet mill. The mill is used to mold raw materials to wood pellets although the whole method of manufacturing the wood pellets entails several treatments before the pelletizing process and after the entire process. The whole process of biomass pellet plant involves eight steps. Each of the steps need different machines used either for the treatment function or the pellet making process.
Size reduction process
The first step in the biomass plant process is the initial size reduction. All sized wooden raw materials are always adopted by a large number of wood pellet producers. The size reduction process is a necessity in the process of the pellet making process because all sizes of wood ranging from logs, barks, wood shavings to sawdust are used in the process. The process of size reduction is always so costly. The reasons could be; the pellet mill only processes raw materials that have got a diameter of 5mm and less meaning that the unprocessed natural materials with a diameter of more than 50mm cannot be fed into the pellet mill they need to be reduced before they are fed directly into the mill. Another reason for cost increment is the dying process; small particles require a shorter drying time and a lower amount of energy in the process, unlike the more substantial materials that need not only a long time but also enormous amounts of energy.
The machinery always used in the process is the wood chipper or crusher, which uses knives installed inside it to shred the logs and other lagers raw materials into small materials before they go into the next stage.
The drying process
After the size reduction process, the materials move to the next phase for moisture reduction. The wooden materials contain moisture of more than 50%. Pellets that are high quality should contain a moisture content of about 8%-12%. In the plant, the dryer is among the most costly machinery because of the energy it consumes. There are different kinds of dryers each with various features and expense.
The initial sieving process
The procedure of sieving is not a necessity for some plants but is a recommended step putting into consideration the safety of the pellet plant. The materials stay in small appearance after the initial size reduction process. The materials may contain a mixture of impurities like metal pieces and stone which could bring about mechanical failure in the following steps or even start a fire. A magnetic separator is used in the sieving process to separate the raw materials from the impurities.
A hammer mill is used during the process of grinding. The process could also be done through the use of a reduction machine. The hammer mill takes in materials of less than 50mm compared with the wood chipper, and the hammer mill’s final product is materials with a diameter of about 5mm so that the pellet mill would only act on the molding machine and not the grinding machinery to reduce the consumption of energy.
The machine used for this process is a plant mill used to form the wood pellets from the raw materials. There are two types of grinders both with a simple working principle. The raw materials are fed to the mill and into the chamber. Rollers exert pressure on the raw materials continually generating a higher temperature of the elements. The lignin in the wooden material acts as a natural glue for the wood material. The raw materials will try to force their way out which is the holes in the die. The well-made pellets are distributed from the discharge hole.
The made pellets are directly sent to the cooler from the pellet mill to reduce the temperature and moisture of the wood to produce a dry and cold pellet that contains a proper rigidity
The pellet plant making process would be over after the process of cooling, but sieving step after cooling would be necessary for some commercial requirement. Fines are an unavoidable by-product of the pelletizing and cooling process. The final method would be sieving since when the product is shipped to customers, there is a limit of little content.
Different screening degrees would depend on the specifications and conditions on the market.
This is the final step of the whole process meaning that the final product of the pellet plant process is ready for customer consumption. The storage process involves an automatic bagging machine consisting of different bagging requirements such as the retail and bulk bagging systems.
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