At the giant NPE show in Chicago this June, Baltimore-based Novatec, Inc. will introduce what it describes as a "revolutionary" new dryer/crystallizer for PET. This patented infrared rotary-drum (IRD) unit reportedly uses much less energy than a conventional desiccant dryer, providing lower cost and fast ROI. The IRD reportedly can crystallize PET and reduce its moisture content to less than 50 ppm in under 15 min in one continuous operation. It's aimed at processors of thin sheet, film, and bottles. As shown in the diagram, a controlled flow of PET enters a large, rotating, stainless-steel cylinder that has an auger-like helix welded inside. Banks of IR heaters emit radiation that passes through the air without heating it, so all of the energy is directed into the resin. IR energy heats the resin particles from the inside out (the opposite of usual), driving the moisture to the surface to be evaporated. A stream of ambient air is forced through the drum to carry off the moisture. As the cylinder turns, the resin tumbles, exposing all the particles to IR heating. Due to the internal helix, cylinder rotation also transports the material along the drum in 8 to 13 min. The system has no desiccant, valves, regeneration heater, or cooling coil. Material temperature and other functions are monitored on a Siemens touchscreen controller. Five sizes of IRD process 400 to 8000 lb/hr. Larger sizes can be designed.
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