Drying | 3 MINUTE READ

NPE2018 New Technology Focus: Drying

Industry 4.0 meets resin-drying at NPE2018.


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While a desiccant-wheel dryer normally requires a water utility for cooling, Conair is showing a new generation of Carousel desiccant-wheel dryers featuring an air-to-air aftercooling option. That now frees up these dryers to be moved anywhere in a plant because they are self-contained without a water connection.

The air-to-air aftercooling option reduces the temperature of return air from the drying hopper, improving the moisture-absorption efficiency of the desiccant. Conair’s Carousel PlusX series portable dryers and dX series mobile drying/conveying systems represent a complete redesign of Conair’s Carousel Plus desiccant-wheel dryer and its former W series and MDCW series mobile drying/conveying systems for 15 to 400 lb/hr.

Processors can specify dryers equipped with either an optional air-to-water aftercooler or the new air-to-air aftercooler. The air-to-air unit can sustain drying efficiency while handling return-air temperatures of up to 375°F and dewpoints of -40 F. At the same time, it saves water, maximizes dryer portability, and makes installation and setup faster and easier.

Novatec and Advantage Engineering are showing the DryTemp+, a patent-pending machine that combines a portable desiccant-wheel dryer and a fluid temperature-control unit (TCU) in a single footprint. The product is aimed at processors that don’t dry centrally. 

The unit features a 7-in. touchscreen Siemens pendant PLC, which accesses both drying and mold-temperature-control parameters. The PLC can provide trending and data logging and will be Ethernet equipped so it can be used for QC logging of jobs with resin, mold temperature, and drying parameters recorded.

The DryTemp+ dryer is a NovaWheel desiccant dryer sized for 25 to 150 lb/hr, featuring Novatec’s over-dry protection. The TCU comes with one or two circuits, a display screen, capacity of 30 gpm at 30 psi and 30 to 250°F temperature capability.

Dri-Air Industries is tapping into Industry 4.0 buzz at NPE2018, launching the Dri-Air Dryer 4.0. Dri-Air says the new line adjusts to conditions and changes in the operation autonomously, gathering information and adapting on its own. Connectivity is part of Dri-Air’s 4.0 initiative, and for customers with multiple systems, a central dryer control can be installed in a convenient location displaying each dryer’s operating parameters and other important data. When a dryer needs servicing, an icon flashes showing what needs to be done, with directions for service and the parts required. The dryer’s control monitors motor performance, reporting this data to the main control.

As a new Dri-Air 4.0 dryer is installed, it is automatically added to the group display, and the list of spare parts required is updated. An inventory package that tracks and stores the spare parts is under development.

Wittmann Battenfeld’s theme for NPE2018 is Pathways to 4.0 and one of the pieces of equipment on that path is its new Aton H beside-the-press segmented-wheel dryer, which it describes as being “fully integrated with 4.0 capabilities.” Wittmann Battenfeld says this is its first display of a 4.0-functional dryer.

In a “Wittmann 4.0” connected work cell, when a new mold starts up, all the equipment in the cell, including this new connected dryer, pulls up that part’s setup recipe. The values are saved so operators don’t have to go around to each piece of equipment and set up the TCU, dryer, robot, etc. Everything is controlled through the machine interface. Two Aton H dryers will be involved in active molding machine cells at the company’s booth.

Collecting and sharing data are an integral part of Industry 4.0 connectivity and Maguire Products will showcase an energy-monitoring capability on the newest member of its VBD line of vacuum dryers. The VBD-600 intermediate-range model has 600 lb/hr of drying capacity. The energy monitoring will be displayed on a new touchscreen controller.

Novatec is taking collection and sharing of data a step further with the debut of DigiTwin, a virtual electronic twin of a physical machine that measures and follows every behavior of the physical machine and every key component. The key here is that it is not culling data from the machine-controller PLC, but directly from the multiple sensors located throughout the machine. Novatec calls DigiTwin the ultimate component and machine monitoring system that observes, tracks and predicts performance. At its booth, Novatec will show a physical dryer side by side with the digital model of that same machine next to it. Novatec compares DigiTwin to a “virtual x-ray or MRI” for the dryer, looking under the sheet metal and within the machine for its actual status.

Novatec is also highlighting a new at-the-press drying product for molders tackling highly tailored nylons and other specialty materials. These specially equipped NovaWheel portable dryers have adapted two technologies established in Novatec’s central drying offerings—Moisture Manager and OverDry Protection.

Also on the 4.0 front, Piovan will introduce FACS 4.0, an auxiliary-equipment control and monitoring system designed by Universal Dynamics and based on Winfactory 4.0, Piovan’s OPC-UA compliant supervisory software.