Fluid Bed Processing and Formulation

About the course

Fluidised beds are widely used in industry due to their characteristic fluid like properties of good mixing and heat transfer. Applications of fluid beds range from combustion in power stations, catalytic reactors to the engineering of particles via methods such as low density agglomeration and encapsulation.

This new course focuses on the use of fluid beds in particle engineering area and covers:

  • the basic principles behind fluidisation

  • the importance of particle properties

  • the impact of bed design on the structure and optimal operation of fluid beds, both batch and continuous.

The course is grounded in practical experience gained across numerous industrial sectors by a range of speakers from academia, equipment manufacturers and end users. The scientific principles of fluid bed operation will be reinforced by a number of practical demonstrations which show the theory in practice. Please note that due to Covid-19 we may be unable to run hands-on, face-to-face lab demonstrations during this year’s Fluid Bed Processing course.

Expected outcomes
On completion of this course you’ll be able to:

  • apply an understanding of how material properties, operating parameters and equipment design can have an influence on product properties
  • manipulate operating parameters to influence materials properties and quality parameters
  • recognise how fluid bed processes can be scaled up and appreciate the challenges in start-up and shut down
  • understand how scientific principles can be applied to the processing of real industrial products for better performance, quality and economics
  • learn from how challenges are tackled across different industries
  • choose and design appropriate equipment for fluid bed processing
  • learn from extensive academic and industrial experience, demonstrations, theory and real industrial case studies
  • and, importantly learn from attendees what others are doing in the field of fluid bed processing

Who should attend?

This course is suitable for you if you’re:

  • a R&D scientist working in industries such as pharmaceuticals, detergents, foods, agrochemicals or specialty chemicals and need a broad overview of the subject of fluid bed processing

  • a scientist or chemical engineer who would value a deeper understanding of how science can be applied to real fluid bed processing problems

  • a process technologist, plant manager, involved in R&D or a process technician who needs a thorough practical grounding in the subject of fluid bed processing and how it can influence the properties of the final product

  • a university researcher who requires a deeper insight into real industrial problems, unmet needs and potential new research themes.


Provisional course programme (this programme is still subject to change)
Please note that we may not be able to hold lab demonstration sessions at this year’s course due to limited capacities in our lab facilities. 

Day One 
Basic Science and Understanding

Registration: 09:00 – 09:30 

  • Introduction to fluid bed processing
    •    Overview and key features of fluid bed processing and key features
    •    Objectives of processing and how/where it is used 
    •    Fluid bed designs – pros and cons
    •    What can happen if it goes wrong
    •    Introduction to the key scientific topics of the course
    Professor Andrew Bayly, University of Leeds

  • Fluidisation basics
    •    Basics of fluidisation. 
    •    Particle properties, disengagement zone, elutriation, pressure drops
    •    Includes a demonstration
    •    Safety
    Professor David York, Visiting Professor, University of Leeds

  • Benefit of mass transfer in the fluid bed
    •    Drying and cooling operations
    •    The importance of particle properties and interactions with the fluid bed
    Professor Andrew Bayly, University of Leeds

  • Particle agglomeration in fluid beds
    •    Examples which illustrate the science of agglomeration
    Tom Wytrwat, Neuhaus Neotec

  • Fluid atomisation in fluid beds – basic science mechanisms
    Phil Threlfall-Holmes, TH Collaborative Innovation & Visiting Professor at the University of Leeds (formerly of AkzoNobel)

  • Use and characteristics of twin fluid nozzles in fluid beds
    Speaker to be confirmed

  • Plant and process design for fluid bed coating and matrix-encapsulation
    focused on the operating conditions and plant design for encapsulation processes
    •    Managing residence time and especially residence time distribution to achieve uniform layers
    - long, slim fluid bed design
    - weirs
    •    Challenges in plant design for coating of fertilizers with biopolymers
    •    Internal or external filters? Pros and Cons
    •    Spouted bed design for matrix-microencapsulation – why and when to use
    •    Closed loop design for matrix-microencapsulation - Advantages
    Didier Schons, Glatt Ingenieurtechnik

  • Importance of powder material properties in fluid beds 
    •    Geldart classification
    •    Impact of size distribution, moisture and temperature 
    •    Characterisation
    •    Causes and consequences of unintended agglomeration
    Nigel Somerville Roberts, NSR Innovations Ltd (formerly of Procter and Gamble) and visiting researcher, University of Leeds

Day Two 
Applications and Case Studies

  • Basics of fluid bed design
    Influence of shape, distributor plates, weirs, air distribution, static and vibratory beds
    •    Wurster design
    •    Continuous vs batch operation 
    •    Cyclones, internal filters
    Nigel Somerville Roberts, NSR Innovations Ltd (formerly of Procter and Gamble) and visiting researcher, University of Leeds

  • How liquids spread, coat or agglomerate in fluid bed processing
    •    Mechanisms of wetting and spreading
    •    Impact of shape and liquid properties
    Professor Nik Kapur, University of Leeds

  • Basic modelling for fluid bed processing
    •    DEM and CFD Models
    •    Heat balance
    Dr Ali Hassanpour University of Leeds

  • Fluid bed drying – mechanistic modelling and scale-up
    Ian Kemp, Consultant (previously GSK)

  • Operation: start up and shut down and handling difficult materials
    Speaker to be confirmed

  • Case studies of continuous and batch operation  
    •    Pros and cons of continuous vs batch
    Henning Falck, Neuhaus Neotec

  • Powder morphology and powder performance - case study food 1: three-in-one coffee mix
    Tobias Kockel, Nestlé R&D Konolfingen, Switzerland

  • Particle engineering and characterisation of output particles
    Lieselotte de Smet, Xedev/ProCept

  • Trouble shooting forum/expert consultation session

Day Three 
Applications and Case Studies continued plus New Developments and Innovations

  • Powder morphology and powder performance – case study food 2: thicken-up clear
    Tobias Kockel, Nestlé R&D Konolfingen, Switzerland

  • Innovation example  – industry – high gravity fluidized beds 
    Prof. Dr. ir. Juray De Wilde, Université Catholique de Louvain (UCLouvain)

  • Case study – fluid bed granulation modelling and scale-up
    Ian Kemp, Consultant (previously GSK)

  • Case Study: particle coating and controlled release    
    Barry Friend, Colorcon

  • Case Study: the "economic aspects" of fluid bed operation, fluid bed dryer cost & efficiency optimization
    Jarrod Hart, Imerys

  • Case Study: combining spray drying with a fluid bed
    Professor David York, University of Leeds and Nigel Somerville Roberts, NSR Innovations Ltd 

Expanding understanding and application of fluid beds

  • Innovation example - academic - structured fluid beds: towards more responsive processes
    Speaker to be confirmed

  • Instrumentation and control: sensors, soft sensors and control loops
    Tobias Kockel, Nestlé R&D Konolfingen, Switzerland

During the course there will be an open forum where you will have an opportunity to bring up your practical problems/individual challenges for suggested solution and discussion with experts in the field.

Course finish time: before 16:00 (exact timings to be confirmed)


Course director
Professor David York - University of Leeds

Course co-director
Dr Jim Bullock, Director, iFormulate Ltd

Confirmed Speakers
Professor Andrew Bayly, University of Leeds
Henning Falck, Neuhaus Neotec
Dr Victor Francia, Heriot-Watt University
Barry Friend, Colorcon
Jarrod Hart, Imerys
Dr Ali Hassanpour, University of Leeds
Professor Nik Kapur, University of Leeds
Ian Kemp, Consultant (previously GSK)
Tobias Kockel, Nestlé R&D Konolfingen, Switzerland
Didier Schons, Glatt Ingenieurtechnik
Lieselotte de Smet, Xedev/ProCept
Phil Threlfall-Holmes, TH Collaborative Innovation & Visiting Professor at the University of Leeds (formerly of AkzoNobel)
Veerle Timmerman, Xedev/ProCept    
Prof. Dr. ir. Juray De Wilde, Université Catholique de Louvain (UCLouvain) 
Tom Wytrwat, Neuhaus Neotec
More speakers to be added...


Fee information

Please note that although we hope this course will go ahead, it is dependent on any Covid-19 restrictions in place at the time of the course. As this course takes place at the University, there may still be a limit on the number of delegates we are able to seat in the lecture theatre. We strongly advise that you do not book any travel to the course until we have confirmed it will go ahead as planned and we will inform you of this at least four weeks prior to the course to allow you to make any suitable arrangements. If we do need to cancel the course a full refund will be issued


Fees are VAT exempt

Fees include:

  • cost of tuition

  • electronic course materials

  • lunches

  • light refreshments

View our terms and conditions

Venue details

Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences
University of Leeds

Detailed directions (including the exact location for the course registration and presentation room) will be sent out with the delegate joining instructions.

How to find us

The nearest public car park is Woodhouse Lane (multi storey) at LS1 3HQ. The car park is open 24 hours. Charges apply (£6.00 up to twelve hours). Please click here for information and location details. Please note this car park is a fifteen minute walk to/ from our building and delegates should allow ample time to park and register for the course. 

Car parking for visitors is unavailable at the University.

There is also limited on-street parking in the vicinity of the University.


You are responsible for your own accommodation, if required. A list of hotels close to the University will be sent with your course joining instructions.

What our delegates say

“Fantastic introduction to fluid bed drying process. Been given lots of industry insights that have stimulated many development
opportunities for our industry.”
Volac International Ltd

“Great opportunity for me to learn about possibilities of this technology, beginning from the basics, practical experiments and real
Fosfa a.s.

“A great combination of fundamental basics and years of industrial expertise.”

Contact us

CPD Conference and Events Unit
Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences 
University of Leeds,

T: +44 (0)113 343 5746

E:  cpd@engineering.leeds.ac.uk


This course is supported by iFormulate.

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