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Product Profiles: The Roller Mill

The Roller Mill is one of the powerful machines we use to make many of the products artists use every day. Making paint involves much more than simply mixing pigment with a vehicle. Milling brings out the peak intensity, luminosity and covering power of pigments. Properly milled paint is stable and workable, totally consistent from batch to batch.

Paint starts as a precisely calculated mixture of raw ingredients that must be passed through the mill under the control of a skilled craftsman. It's essentially the same physical process involved in hand dispersing small batches with a Glass Muller, on a much larger scale.

Three rollers rotate at different speeds, drawing in the primary paste at the Feed Roller and processing the product. The mill applies shear force between the Feed, Mid and Apron Rollers (the chute at the front is the "Apron") to break apart pigment clusters and produce a homogeneous dispersion. Several passes through the mill are required to ensure each particle is enveloped in the vehicle. Finally, the "knife edge" of the apron collects beautiful ribbons of color which can then be packaged for the studio.

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