Moisture is a major menace for the fertilizer industry. Most commercial fertilizers especially,those that have a high concentration of nutrients, are hygroscopic and thus have a high solubility in water. So they readily absorb water vapour or moisture during production, storage and bagging and form a saturated solution leading to caking, oozing, lumping. The end result is often qualitative and quantitative loss.
Some prominent moisture problems :
- Caking & lumping
- Loss in fertilizer's free flowing properties
- Loss of physical, nutrient and chemical properties
- Danger of explosion of Nitrate based fertilizers
- Health hazards due to ammoniacal fumes of decomposed hygroscopic fertilizers
- Slippery floors due to the hardening of the fertilizers on the floor of the warehouse
- The storage of fertilizers for a long period brings about detrimental changes in its character and measures to overcome this have to be taken to avoid loss in fertilizer quality.
Moisture problems during packaging/bagging :
The fertilizer, when taken out of silos for bagging, is very hot and thus, extremely hygroscopic. It is essential to control humidity levels in the area during this period for free flow of fertilizer, through auto-bagging machines into the polythedine bag without lumping and caking.
Almost, all types of fertilizers are essentially stored at ambient temperature conditions but the relative humidity needs to be controlled at 40%. If the relative humidity goes above 40% the prills being very hygroscopic, absorb moisture causing them to stick to each other, rendering the product useless. Another side effect of high humidity is that in contact with hydrocarbon, the Ammonium Nitrate become explosive in nature. Hence, it becomes very important that humidity be kept or held below 40% RH.
Surround Your Fertilizers With Dry Air During Production, Packaging and Storage:
Dry-Air a necessity for fertilizer industry :
- Prevention of lumping and caking during storage
- Smooth bagging of fertilizers
- Prevention of explosion of Ammonium Nitrate based fertilizers
- Prevention of clogging in the pneumatic tools
- Prevention of corrosion in pipe lines