This paper, and two associated papers [Hede, P. D.; Jensen, A. D.; Bach, P. Ind. Eng. Chem. Res. 2009, 48, 1905 and 1914], address the fluid-bed coating of placebo enzyme granules (i.e., sodium sulfate cores, with a size range of 400-500 mu m) using two types of coatings: sodium sulfate and PVA-TiO2. The coating experiments were conducted in a medium-scale top-spray MP-1 fluid bed, and many rheological experiments were performed on the coating formulations to support the interpretation of the fluid-bed coating results. In this first part of the study, a thorough introduction to the inorganic salt and polymer film coating is provided, along with a presentation of the equipment and materials being used in this and the following papers. Results from agglomeration studies over a broad range of process conditions are presented, showing that the tendency toward agglomeration is always less for the salt coating process than for the polymer coating process, under similar process conditions. Based on the experimental results, an agglomeration regime map is suggested for each of the two types of coating solutions, based on values of the drying force and the coating solution spray rate.