The Sacmi ATM? First built way back in ’68. Now, in 2018, the ATM35 machine installed at the Marazzi factory in Fiorano Modenese is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary of honourable service and is still going strong!
Up until the 1990s, Sacmi developed a vast range of spray driers using proprietary designs (from the centrifugal distributor to the ring-mounted nozzle array), machines renowned for their reliability. Today, thanks to in-depth innovation that focuses on flexibility, low consumption, reliability and process simulation, Sacmi is projecting that reliability into the smart manufacturing era.
This revolution is rooted in the first few years of the 21st century, when the advent of new calculation tools allowed engineers to exploit the full potential of process simulation and design less energy-hungry machines of outstanding reliability and compactness. Now, because they can be integrated with slip injection, combustion and cogeneration/energy recovery systems, spray-drying units are seen more and more as a “plant within the plant”.
Research into in-tower particle speeds and temperature distribution, optimisation of air flows and greater flexibility throughout the process (the Sacmi ATM can work continuously or be used to produce small lots, with multiple stoppages in a single day having no impact on machine lifespan) have all generated advantages, as has the ability to use different combustion and slip injection systems. These are just some of the “revolutions” that, by maintaining the Sacmi tradition of reliability – as the still perfectly-working machine at Marazzi clearly demonstrates – will secure the future success of the ATM, over 1,400 of which have been sold worldwide.
Modern ATMs are also characterised by ever-greater integration with energy retrieval/electricity generation systems, cutting-edge exhaust air dust removal devices and new slip injection systems: just some of the systems that allow a drastic reduction in spray dryer running costs. Further developments are in the pipeline; these typically focus on micro-simulation of the interaction between slip spray and hot air (the goal being to make the process even more efficient) and the possibility (as standard throughout the Sacmi range) of interfacing with plant supervisors according to 4.0 logic.