Are All Toll Drying Processors The Same?
Justin Klinger, Jul 10, 2020 2:42:43 PM
It doesn’t sound too difficult, does it: Dry some material.
Sure, it has to hit precise moisture specifications, but how hard can that be? Just find any old toll processor. They all do the same thing in the same way with the same equipment, don’t they?
Well, not so fast.
Drying is a critical part of the production process. A misstep here can be costly. Finding the right toll drying expert could mean the difference between a headache-filled process and a smooth, successful relationship.
In a previous article, we shared the 5 Contract Drying Keys You Need to Know, with an overview of contract drying services, plus a review of toll processing. In this blog post, we’ll explore that article’s 5th key, “Choosing a Partner,” in more depth. Specifically, the differences you may not instantly see when evaluating toll drying service providers.
Toll Drying Is More Than Just Drying
At this point, you may not be exactly sure what toll drying method is best for your drying needs. For instance, there are differences between flash drying and fluid bed drying when it comes to efficiency, capabilities and cost.
Let’s assume most toll drying professionals can help you determine which of those two is best for your particular needs. They may even have the right specialized drying equipment for this drying task.
Yet, do they have enough experience to ask you the right questions for a successful process? Do they have skilled labor that knows your material? Does the toll processor have dedicated facilities? Can they coordinate logistics to make the process smooth?
The point is, there’s more to toll drying than simply hitting the right moisture specifications. Yes, this fact makes your decision on choosing a partner more complex. But don’t worry; we’re here to help!
Comparing One Toll Drying Professional To Another
A typical toll processor performs many tasks: blending, milling/grinding, separation, extrusion, extraction, and more. Any particular toll processor may be more skilled in one task than another. Even more tricky, they may be more skilled in one drying method than another. So, the needs of your material may not be their wheelhouse.
When evaluating one toll processor versus another, some things are clear differentiators. Since we’re talking toll processing services, let’s continue with drying methods. As previously mentioned, there are different ways to handle different materials and dry to different levels, including flash drying, fluid bed drying, and thermal heat transfer drying.
Successfully implementing these drying methods requires certain things, the most important being the equipment. Naturally, each toll dryer will have a slightly different equipment lineup and, like any industry, using certain machines adds instant credibility.
The size of the equipment can really matter. A large flash dryer, for instance, can process truckloads of material quickly. Perhaps another method could achieve the same drying quality, but it wouldn’t be as efficient nor as cost-effective.
That’s a huge point. The right toll dryer will discuss (and even obsess about) your bottom line. Their job is to provide a service that enhances your process so you’re more successful; your margins need to make sense.
Big Brains Go A Long Way
Perhaps the most important way to distinguish a top toll dryer from the rest of the pack is to evaluate their thinking. What does that mean? It’s really looking at a few, but important, aspects of toll processing that significantly impact the entire relationship, project after project.
First, consider a toll processor’s technical support. Some companies simply want to perform a service and move to the next job. They’re not capable of offering insight and guidance, so they don’t (at least they shouldn’t; no advice is better than the wrong advice).
On the other hand, the best-of-the-best processors:
- have mastered all drying techniques
- can trace products from arrival through departure
- have a track record of meeting quality standards
- are especially focused on contamination-free toll processing and
- will comfortably share their procedures with you
How do you know if a potential toll drying partner has the right stuff? Ask them.
It’s OK to ask specifically about their certifications (listen for ISO 9001:2015, cGMP, FSMA, and PCO). Next, ask about their experience with certain materials, including yours, knowing that a solid contract drying processor has experience with many, many materials.
Next, find out about their quality control procedures. Don’t just read their policy; have a discussion about their history of consistently delivering materials on time, within the right packaging and at the quoted price. Finally, talk about the company’s values and their philosophy of doing business. This alone could be a deal-breaker.
ALL of their answers to these questions should add up to a smart toll drying professional; the kind you’ll feel good about calling a “partner.”
You now know that all toll drying processors are not the same, and you know how to evaluate them. Yet, it’s easy to get confused about all of the drying options available from toll manufacturers. Maybe you’ve even heard about “contract manufacturing,” and you’re considering that. We’ve created a quick guide that clears up the differences. To read it, just click the button below.