Industrial Parts Dryers Information
Industrial parts dryers are machines used to dry product parts or components. The machines are used in industrial production processes. The dryers use heat, forced air or some combination of the two to dry parts. The parts are either placed in the dryer or moved through it on a production line, depending on the configuration in use. While each dryer model offered to the market comes with standard capabilities, most manufacturers customize the set-up of the machines to work within specialized process chains.
For centuries parts manufacturers have understood the detrimental effects moisture and contaminants have on their products. Hand drying and manually operated drying machines were the primary solutions used to address this issue until the latter part of the 19th century. At that time the power of natural gas, and of electricity shortly after that, began to be harnessed for heating, spurring the development of industrial parts dryers. In response to increasing demand during and after World War II, manufacturers introduced a new generation of advanced industrial parts dryers that mirror modern models. A major factor driving innovation in the design of these models was the need to provide for more customized drying solutions. Those mid-century models were all dryer ovens using heat to eliminate moisture. “Air knife” models using strong blades or curtains of forced air to blow dry industrial parts began to emerge in the late 20th century.
Industrial parts dryers use two primary technologies—or a combination of the two—to operate: heat and forced air. Those two forms of drying are incorporated into any type of industrial parts dryers.
Types of dryers include:
- Rotary dryers
- Rolling bed dryers
- Conduction dryers
- Convection dryers
- Fluidized bed dryers
- Pharmaceutical dryers
- Suspension and paste dryers
- Dispersion dryers
The primary feature of an industrial part dryer is the type of technology allocated to dry items or components. Dryer oven-style machines using heat have been the norm across most applications for decades. Air knife models are becoming increasingly popular due to their ability for drying parts faster and more efficiently. In combination with exhaust fans, such dryers mechanically remove moisture from the cabinet area, helping to speed the drying process. They add heated, high volume air to the process cabinet area using a series of air knives. The exhaust air is in the form of ambient air, which is blown over the parts by the air knives to cool and eliminate moisture.
A prominent feature in differentiating dryers is the method used to load parts. Options for loading include basket load-style dryers where baskets of parts are manually placed in the machine or a conveyor belt-style configuration. Conveyor belt dryers are assimilated directly into an existing industrial assembly line. For energy efficiency, numerous dryers use recirculated air to raise the temperature for drying purposes, thereby reducing total energy consumption.
Other features of the devices include:
- Customizable configuration features such as multiple configurations to suit different production requirements
- Multiple heat zone configurations
- Programmable controls for factors like temperature and time
- Air blower configurations for forced air models such as an “air curtain” or rotating blower
- Hot air recirculation
- Safety features such as automatic shut-off
- Stainless steel construction for extended life
- Non-contaminating heaters
Low loss duct design for improved efficiency
Industrial parts dryers are commonly viewed as just one stop in a part’s life on a busy and continuous industrial assembly line. Drying and removing contaminants from newly manufactured parts and components is critical to ensuring reliability, safety and in eliminating defects. However, uses for these dryers go far beyond just industrial part assembly lines.
Uses for industrial parts dryers include drying:
- Precision machined parts
- Medical device parts
- Pharmaceutical products
- Aerospace parts
- Food and beverage products
- For maintenance
- Agricultural outputs such as coffee beans, grains or peas
- General drying for maintenance, manufacturing, rework and remanufacturing
Among the more important specifications for industrial parts dryers are:
- Heating temperature range for oven types
- Air blower power and air delivery mechanism for air knife types
- Power source (e.g. electric or natural gas)
- Overall dimensions
- Tank size for basket load types
- Device configuration
- Venting configuration
Stainless steel is the most popular material used in industrial parts dryers for the exterior casing, framing and interior construction. The stainless steel is manufactured into a variety of parts to create the ovens, conveyor belts, venting systems and other systems common in industrial parts dryers. Dryers built with a central processing unit and additional computer components offer digital and programmable controls for remote and automated usage.
When using industrial parts dryers in highly specialized and custom configured assembly lines, the most important selection variable is the ability for customization and proper integration into the process chain. In parts manufacturing processes where assembly lines are not used, a basket load dryer is a better solution than a rolling bed type. Power source considerations are also important—a facility with access to natural gas benefits from a natural gas-powered dryer. In addition, the tolerance of the parts, components to heat or blasts of air is critical to selecting the right drying process.
Calibration and Standards
Machines are highly customized and integrated with existing processes, making each dryer’s calibration settings unique.
Government and industry standards industrial parts dryers conform to include:
Consult the manufacturer’s guidelines to determine the calibration and standards requirements. Local and federal guidelines exist online along with contact information for the manufacturer.