Industrial drying: Finding the right fit
Finding the right drying chamber for your use
Drying is a key component of virtually every industry segment, which means that there’s a compatible drying oven out there for each and every application. Choosing the right oven from the wide selection of available equipment can be a challenging task for engineers and laboratory technicians. Which technology delivers high-quality results? Are there ovens that offer high energy efficiency? Keep reading to learn more about the most important criteria—and how a knowledgeable supplier can help.
Drying systems for different requirements
Each different drying application has specific needs. For quality assurance, the product must be subjected to precisely defined conditions in an industrial oven. This is the case, for example, with plastics such as thermoplastic elastomers. For sensitive products like solar cells, drying systems are used to ensure that the product can be stored under specific climatic conditions. And for some products, the use of drying technology already plays a decisive role in the manufacturing process itself. This category includes carbon fibers and many other products.
In pharmaceuticals production, reliable drying that conforms to specified process parameters is a key determinant of product quality, since it also impacts downstream process steps such as tableting and encapsulation. Here, excessive moisture content in a product quickly jeopardizes the efficacy of the medication. Food production is another area where removing water can increase shelf life. In the case of baby food, certain climatic conditions also result in the denaturation of proteins, which in turn leads to improved digestibility.
Which method is right for which application?
The same basic principle holds true for every version of air drying:
- A high temperature is applied for a defined period of time.
- Moisture is removed from the air, and therefore also from the product.
- The air is then cooled again.
High-quality dryers achieve the desired results even at relatively low temperature ranges—and reduce energy consumption in the process. On the other hand, applications that require rapid water removal call for high-powered equipment. One unique dryer variant is the conveyor oven, a machine specifically designed for continuous drying. Here, a large number of products pass through the dryer on a conveyor belt until the product surfaces are free of water.
No matter what drying method is used, compliance with applicable regulations is just as mandatory as it is in other areas of production. The actual regulations can vary widely depending on the industry: For example, food producers must adhere to stricter drying rules than manufacturers of machines and other industrial equipment. But the most demanding regulations can be found in the pharmaceutical industry, which manufactures products that are absorbed by the human body or often injected directly into the bloodstream.
Choosing the right technology: Natural vs. forced convection
Which technology is best? What are the differences between air drying, vacuum drying, and freeze drying? And which methods enable highly energy-efficient drying? When choosing the right technology for thermal drying, the focus should always be on two criteria: the level of quality it delivers and how much it can help production personnel through efficient processes and user-friendly operation. Two industrial drying methods have proven particularly effective in practice: natural and forced convection. In both versions, an exchange of air is used to transfer heat to the product being dried. Forced convection allows rapid, uniform drying, whereas the main benefit of natural convection is high efficiency, which results in processing that is less time- and energy-intensive.
With their drying ovens that feature natural or forced convection, manufacturers like BINDER offer solutions for all possible uses.
Finding the right product with ease
A wide range of industrial drying ovens is available to choose from. BINDER offers eleven different series to deliver the right solution for every industry. These ovens cover many different applications, including:
- Drying in research and medicine
- Long-term heating (heat aging)
- Materials testing
- Aging tests
- Tempering and annealing
- Kiln firing
Due to the large number of different versions and methods available, discussing all of your necessary drying oven specifications in detail with a supplier is a good idea. By doing so, you can arrive at a solution that perfectly fits your individual application. Suppliers like BINDER can also help you narrow down a preselection with just a few short questions, meaning that you’ll spend even less time finding the solution that’s right for you.