GEA has developed the new NiSoX homogenization valve, which distributes particles in the desired size exceptionally evenly. This especially benefits customers from the pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries who rely on the finest nanoemulsions and microemulsions for their products.

The new NiSoX-Valve geometry optimizes energy distribution during homogenization, thereby reducing particle size and significantly improving the homogenization effect. GEA is celebrating the premiere of the NiSoX-Valve at ACHEMA 2018 (hall 4.0, stand F46). 

Innovation: Flexibility in the homogenization process

“We are setting a new standard in high-pressure homogenization of nanoemulsions and microemulsions with the NiSoX-Valve”, says Kai Becker, Head of Product Group Management Homogenization at GEA. “Compared to other high-efficiency technologies, our customers are now able to respond flexibly to changing process conditions and product requirements – for example, with new raw material specifications – by adjusting the homogenization effects directly at the valve. This was simply not possible until now due to the limitations of fixed geometry.” Laboratory tests confirm that the NiSoX-Valve model homogenizes particles more uniformly, in smaller size and more consistently – in a high emulsion quality. This is made possible using a standard deviation (or polydispersity index) lower than with that of other conventional valves, especially for high-pressure applications in the pressure range from 700 bar up to 1,500 bar.

The art of lateral thinking

The new GEA NiSoX-Valve geometry optimizes energy distribution during homogenization, thereby reducing particle size and significantly improving the homogenization effect. Photo: GEA

“Making fluids collide is not a new idea”, says Becker on the innovation process. “But we broke through set patterns during development and relied on engineers' play-instincts. We simply turned a normal valve over and let the particles work against each other like in an electron accelerator.” 

The NiSoX-Valve consists of two active components: a deflector and the CCMS (Cavitation Cloud Modulating System), which collide the particles in the radial collider and reduce their size. In contrast to the standard process, GEA does not press the media to be emulsified into an annular gap – but out of it. This results in much better particle distribution, higher dilution, and reduction in their cohesive forces. The media then collides radially in a chamber. The imploding gas bubbles in the adjustable cloud cavitation can therefore more easily micronize the particles. 

Constantly better product quality

In this way, GEA succeeds in refining the homogenized particles and distributing them more evenly throughout the product. This improves the physical and visual properties, such as viscosity, transparency and gloss – as desired in the processing of pharmaceutical and cosmetic nanoemulsions. Formulas are now more accurately reproducible. Manufacturers require fewer batch circulations for their desired result.

Long service life, wider maintenance intervals

“Every single technical detail in NiSoX follows the GEA principle of improving customer benefit. There is no room for over-engineering here, because that comes at the expense of sustainability”, adds Becker. “Our goal was to significantly extend the maintenance intervals. This makes the production process more efficient and more cost-effective. “The long-term tests are still running, but they already promise a greatly extended service life for wearing parts. The high efficiency and hydrodynamic properties of NiSoX also lead to a significantly lower heat transfer into the product, which increases stability and yield. The durable valve is easy to maintain and allows for efficient cleaning or sterilization. 

The NiSoX-Valve is available for high-pressure applications, with the ceramic versions, for example, covering the entire range of GEA homogenizers and meeting the requirements – from laboratory to industrial scale. 

“Making Science Work” – GEA at ACHEMA: hall 4.0, stand F46

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