6 Reasons to Seriously Rethink That Off-the-Shelf Industrial Dryer
Balancing budget constraints and the upfront cost of capital equipment is an issue facing every manufacturing plant and converting company. When it’s time to purchase process heating equipment, it’s tempting to consider a off the shelf product instead of a custom drying solution that’s tailored for the specific requirements of your product and process. If you can find a pre-made oven that seems close to what you need, you may expect to save a lot of money.
Unfortunately, it usually doesn’t work out that way. You may save some upfront cost but trying to run a process on a “standard” dryer will likely result in additional operating costs, higher energy consumption, wasted product and space issues. This cheap oven will cost you much more in the long run.
Going for the cheaper industrial oven that isn’t designed for your needs can also limit your process, and may ultimately mean you’ll have to purchase a new one in a few years’ time.
1. An industrial oven design that’s not quite right can lead to product quality issues.
Putting out a quality product often requires a very precise drying process where temperature and heating time need to be accurately controlled. If the system is not designed for the type of heating needed, product quality will suffer.
2. An inustrial dryer that’s not matched to your needs could cost you more in energy consumption.
When you buy an off the shelf oven, it’s quite possible you’ll get a product that’s oversized for your needs. A one-size-fits-all design must be designed for the highest common denominator, which means it may use much more energy than your process requires. The result? Energy costs that are much higher than expected.
3. You could end up with the wrong heating technology for your process.
Working with a vendor that’s knowledgeable about all the heating technologies used for industrial dryers, you may learn about the advantages of going with a different type of dryer. For example, instead of a conventional hot air oven, you may be able to use an infrared dryer that’s half the size and more energy efficient.
4. Controls may be inadequate for your process.
They may not provide a sufficient level of precision, or may be difficult to use leading to operator errors. You may find yourself wasting a lot of product, and throughput capacity can be affected.
5. A standard design may not support future needs.
If the oven is designed to do one thing only without the ability to adapt for future product needs, it’s likely you’ll need to replace it in a few years’ time. Then you’ll find yourself selling that inadequate oven to someone else who’s looking for a bargain.
6. Are you buying the equipment you need, or being sold what they have?
Having a custom dryer built to your specifications is the difference between buying what you really need and being sold what the vendor has sitting in his warehouse.
Here’s what happened to one of our customers who thought they were getting a bargain with a pre-made dryer. The company was a startup that bought a standard off-the-shelf flotation dryer designed for the graphic arts industry that they were told would do the job.
- The company quickly found out that this dryer was designed for very fast and aggressive drying, whereas their process required slow and gentle heating through multiple zones to produce a quality product. The dryer they were sold used too much horsepower with blower motors that were oversized.
- This dryer design not only wasted energy and drove up costs, but produced an inferior quality product.
- Industrial dryers are designed to run at a certain capacity, typically 70-80%. To get good performance, you need to be running near the capacity the dryer was designed for. In this case, the dryer was only running at about 15% capacity, so the performance suffered. The oversized design provided limited control over temperature and air velocity, resulting in undesirable temperature fluctuations. The result was seriously suffering product quality.
- What’s more, the customer found themselves in a position where they were limited in the products they could produce because of these quality concerns. Now they were forced to spend good money after bad making modifications to the dryer to improve its performance.
Finally, they hired IR Thermal Systems to build them a dryer oven that was designed to be appropriate for their needs. Their custom dryer included 3 zones, and blowers and burners designed to operate in the right temperature and velocity range for their process. With improvements in product quality and the flexibility to increase their product offerings, this new dryer has helped this new business to grow and be successful.