Roller mill, a form of compression mill, consist of a single, double or triple cylindrical heavy wheel mounted horizontally that are stacked and enclosed in a steel frame; one of the roller is run by a motor and the others are rotated by friction as the material is drawn through the gap between the rollers. Roller mills use the process of stress (which is applied by the rotating wheels) and attrition in milling of solids in suspensions, pastes or ointments and some solid materials. The rollers rotate at different speeds and the material is sheared as it passes through the gap. To obtain the desired particles size, the following should be controlled;
- The gap between the rollers
- The speed differential between the rolls
- Feed rate
The design of a roller mill differs depending upon its application and they are usually named according to the work they perform into;
- Crackers – A mill used to crack grain or other type of friable materials.
- Flakers – Mills used to flake grains or other materials
- Grinders (Rollers mill grinders) – Roller mills that are used to grind in a feed mill.
- Crimpers – Roller mills that crimps grains
- Crimper – Crackers a roller mill that crack and at the same time crimp grains.
- Crumbler – A roller mill specially designed for breaking up pellets into smaller particles.
Two variants of roller mill are recognized and they are;
- Multiple or corrugated rollers
- Ribbed or saw-toothed rollers.
Pharmaceutical uses of Roller Mill
- It is used in the preparation of ointment; paste, creams and other semi solid preparations.
- Roller mills are used for crushing seeds prior to extraction.
Advantages of Roller Mills
- Produce more uniform, less fines and oversized particles when it comes to product quality.
- Generates less heat (0-30C) unlike hammer mill that generate up to 100
- Less moisture loss
- Better work environment due to low machine noises level.
- It is energy efficient/energy saving
- Reducing working hazard due to dust generation from the milling material.
Disadvantages of Roller Mills
- Not effective on flibre or two dimensional products. Works best on easy to grind materials like corn, cereal grains etc.
- Additional operator inputs are required since the rolls need to be adjusted to suit grind requirements.
- Michael E. Aulton, and Kevin Taylor (2013). Aulton’s Pharmaceutics: The Design and Manufacture of Medicines forth edition. Elsevier Ltd, NY.
Sud Sushant and Kamath Archana (2013). Methods of Size Reduction and Factors Affecting Size Reduction in Pharmaceutics. International Research Journal of Pharmacy. 4(8): 57-64.