Industrial drying as we know it, has its roots in natural drying processes, essentially the removal or reduction of moisture content in bulk quantities. Depending on the amount of bulk material that is needs to dry, the makeup of the material and the required quality of the final product, different types of dryers and processers have come into existence. Industrial dryers come in different models and sizes, often custom built catering to the individual use and requirements of various end-use industries.
The two common types of industrial dryers are contact and convective dryers, both of which use different drying processes to reduce moisture. Contact dryers are most suitable for what is considered difficult-to-handle products, such as liquids and pastes. The process of drying in a contact dryer involves the product to be brought into direct contact with a hot surface, and the water or the solvent is removed by evaporation by the transfer of heat from the wall to the product. And because the solvent that is being evaporated can be recovered, it is a preferred industrial dryer by consumers. While they are generally a more expensive investment for consumers, their high energy efficiency makes them popular with consumers.
Convective dryers on the other hand are the more popular, common ways of thermal drying. The process of drying convective dryers uses the circulation of hot air or gases to evaporate the water/solvent from the product, and require a large volume of flowing air, circulating over the product. Convective dryers can be divided based on type of air flow: parallel flow, cross flow and counter flow, each of which is recommended for different products. Parallel flow dryers are generally used for flammable products, where the high temperatures can be used without heating the product; cross flow dryers are used where control on the drying process is required; and counter flow dryers are used in to achieve a very low moisture final product and is considered the most energy efficient option.
Customization in Industrial Drying: A Growing Trend
Industrial dryers can have a variety of applications across industries such as oil and gas, wood, paper, food, chemical production and many more, with end users looking for controllable process of effective reduction of moisture. The end use industry and production setting help decide the construction of industrial dryers, such as the use of stainless steel. Based on the requirement by scale and quantity, industrial dryers can be lab scale, batch scale and industrial scale dryers, which are usually the largest and are the most efficient of the three.
A major driving factor for innovation in the industrial drying market has been the need to provide customized drying solutions to cater to the different requirements of manufacturers across industries. While most dryers in the market come with standardized capabilities, consumers prefer customized set-up for machines that work in specialized process chains. And since these machines are tailor-made and then integrated into existing processes, these dryers are calibrated to be unique to the process chain that they are a part of.
Industrial Drying: Where is it Headed?
In the pursuit of innovative product offerings to expand business, manufacturers in the contact and convective dryers market are looking to establish and retain long-term relationships with their consumers. To achieve this, companies are looking to multiple ways to refine their online strategies and improved customer engagement. With the increasing emphasis on the energy efficiency and sustainability, consumer preference for greener manufacturing processes involving industrial drying is gaining traction, and manufacturers with product innovations that reduce total costs and have less of a negative impact on the environment are likely to stay ahead of the game.
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