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Agglomeration is the process of particle size enlargement. Most commonly, it refers to the upgrading of material fines into larger particles, such as pellets or granules, but it can also be used to turn sludge-like materials into a dry, granular product. Agglomeration is used to transform fine material into manageable, usable and saleable products.

Agglomeration of fine by-products have become a major benefit over the past few years. Degrading ores, process by-products, waste management challenges, optimization of processes and cost-saving are all reasons why these by-products need to be utilized even more.

Picko has been developing a wide variety of binders for various applications, employing B.Sc. graduates, running a full-scale laboratory research facility since 2008. This facility includes medium scale mixing and agglomeration pilot plants. High physical strength, handling strength, high-temperature strength and waterproofing have been the main focus of the qualities of the agglomerated product.

The aim is to secure the highest grade end product, using the lowest percentage of binder. In all current operations less than 3% binders are used in the agglomeration process. Together with more than 20 years' experience in furnace and material handling operations, these qualities are critical to be able to successfully develop binders for a client.

Picko is a BASF business partner and have a vast selection of local and international binders to select from. 
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Generally agglomerating a material offers a variety of benefits:

  • Improved handling & transportation
  • Improved end-product characteristics
  • More efficient utilization of raw or waste materials
  • Significant dust reduction

From an economic and environmental perspective, agglomeration offers a variety of multidimensional benefits right thought the value chain: from raw materials to end-product and waste. The benefits of discussed more specifically below.


  • Upgrading of raw material fines (waste) to a usable raw material
  • Prevention of dust losses
  • Increase in porosity, density and meltability of material
  • Simplification of transport and shipment


  • Creation of uniform products (size, volume and density)
  • As a result of a uniform products, an agglomerate can represent the exact dose required in a process
  • Prevent segregation and stabilises mixtures of powders: during handling and transport, heterogeneous mixtures of particles lose their uniformity because of the variation in density, shape and size of the particles.
  • Reduction of the volume of a powder
  • Improvement of the flowability of the powders, thus preventing problems of feed, dosage or packaging
  • Keeps product dust-free
  • Improves the compact ability of some powders
  • Eliminates the problems of dust generation during handling
  • Controls the hardness and strength of products
  • Controls the dispersion rate of granules
  • Solves the problems of powder caking during storage
  • Eliminates dust and fines
  • Streamlines process and post-process material handling
  • Reduces wastage
  • Enables the recycling of waste materials


  • Offers a specified and constant product size-range
  • Facilitates dosage use as an agglomerate can represent the exact dose required in a process
  • Improves physical appearance
  • Simplifies handling and application processes
  • Prevents segregation
  • Creates precise formulations


  • Enables the recyclability of industrial waste
  • Recycle beneficiated dust in an industrial process
  • eliminates pollution problems caused by airborne dust: air and ground pollution
  • Can eliminate the need for disposing waste in a landfill
  • improves waste product characteristics for cost-efficient recycling
  • Improve cost efficiency of waste disposal


  • Convert waste to saleable product
  • Reduce transportation costs
  • Reduce material handling costs and waste
  • More flexibility in the choice of raw materials purchased as fine material can now be used at attractive prices
  • Upgrading of by-products
  • Reduction of packing, storage and transport costs due to higher density of the product


In the briquetting process particles are compacted into a larger, more usable size using a dry process in which dusts or powders are formed into shapes. The densification of the product is obtained by mechanical compression through a double roll press.

Briquetting is suitable when products contain both fine and coarser materials. Material with a diameter of up to 6mm can be briquetted. Less binders are needed due to high mechanical compaction inherent to the process.

Briquetting is widely the most popular choice for agglomeration purposes, especially in the ferro alloy industry because of it's reliability and low maintenance cost. It's main benefit is the ability to bind a wider range in particle size, than in other applications. .


Pelletizing processes are well established. This option is preferred where the process requires smaller product size but not high in durability. External heat is usually applied for curing or sintering purposes. Transporting of pellets on conveyor systems can be challenging.


In the extrusion process wet material is forced or pressed through a die to shape a product with a fixed cross-sectional profile. Extrusion may be continuous (producing long materials) or semi-continuous (producing many pieces). The extrusion process can be done with hot or cold material.

Products with high clay and moisture content and with size fractions that is smaller than 2 mm can be extruded. Benefits of extrusion is that it leads to high output volumes. Extrusions are sensitive to feed variables and abrasive products makes process expensive.
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