In 2016, Metals and Additives LLC, a leading manufacturer and supplier of powder additives for the battery and plastics industries, purchased the Mastersizer 3000 from Malvern Panalytical. Here, Justin Hoover, Quality Manager at MAC, discusses the company’s requirement for an instrument that was more efficient, versatile and accurate for particle size analysis. He also explains the decision-making process in choosing a new system, the benefits of the Mastersizer 3000 and the company’s experience of working with Malvern Panalytical.

The need for accuracy and efficiency

“We are always looking to expand our capabilities and applications so that our products can benefit our customers in a wide array of industries, even beyond plastics and batteries. Particle size analysis is a key part of the testing of our materials and products,” says Justin Hoover, Quality Manager, Metals and Additives LLC, US.

The majority of the products Metals and Additives LLC manufacture are dry powders and, consequently, the company requires flexibility to move away from wet analysis as the standard method. Although they had used another vendor’s laser diffraction instrument without the dry dispersion module in the past, it really needed an instrument that could perform analysis of particle size distribution on both wet and dry samples.

“Many of our products will agglomerate in the liquids used for analysis. Some are soluble in water, causing compatibility issues with some of the liquids that could be used. We also had problems resolving issues with air bubbles during analysis and the methods were time-consuming, prone to complications and error. Solving this challenge was our key objective.”

“We initially considered purchasing the module for our existing instrument to allow for dry dispersion particle size distribution analysis. However, the cost of adding capabilities, age of the instrument and our overall satisfaction with it meant that we decided to look at other instruments. As we test both dry powders and material suspended in liquid, we needed an instrument that could be versatile, as well as accurate and efficient for the analysis of particle size distribution.”

All-round superior performance

In order to assess the range of instruments available, selection criteria were identified and a number of vendors were considered.

“We compared five instruments for this purchase; our criteria being accuracy, precision, ease of use, report customization, cost of software updates, instrument footprint and instrument cost.”

It was both Malvern Panalytical’s instrument performance and the sales process that set it apart from other vendors.

“The Mastersizer 3000 exceeded the competition in almost every category for the criteria used,” continues Justin.

“It has the smallest footprint, is the easiest instrument to switch between wet and dry modules and we have found it to have the most user-friendly software.

“Other major benefits include free software updates, almost infinite report customization, the most aesthetically pleasing software and hardware; it’s the easiest instrument to maintain, provides high precision results and has, overall, the best price for its class. Malvern Panalytical’s approach to the sales process was also one of the best, particularly the after-sales support.”

Reliable particle size analysis

Taking a holistic view of the results shows that the technology advances made possible through the Mastersizer 3000 have been a game-changer for the company.

“We’ve been using the Mastersizer 3000 for almost a year and our throughput has increased more than we could have imagined. The repeatability is such that multiple analyses overlaid appear as one distribution, and the software is extremely robust. Having access to continuous software updates also adds practical functionality.”

“The design of the wet dispersion module had eliminated our issues with bubbles and the dry dispersion module allows for extremely fast analysis of our dry powders. We’ve been very impressed with the reports generated, especially as we can include our logos and customize these for the applications for which they will be presented.”

“The small footprint gives us more bench space, which is always a scarce commodity in the lab. Now, we can acquire particle size distribution on any of our products, including soluble and difficult materials. The Mastersizer 3000 requires low and easy maintenance; we’ve not experienced any issues. This instrument is a dream for particle size analysis,” Justin concludes.

About Mastersizer 3000

Malvern Panalytical’s Mastersizer 3000 is the latest generation of the world’s most popular particle sizing instrument. Incorporating expert engineering and applications know-how into every stage of its design, it delivers:

  • Class-leading particle sizing performance in a compact footprint.
  • Intuitive software with built-in expertise to ease your workload.
  • Flexible reporting to display your data the way you want it.
  • Rapid and effective wet dispersion.
  • Fast, reliable particle size measurement of fragile and cohesive dry powders.
  • Mastersizer know-how throughout, for results you can rely on.