Custom Processing Services Blog

Which Products & Materials Are a Fit for Industrial Flash Drying?

Justin Klinger, Jun 23, 2022 9:52:00 AM


The flash drying process was invented in the 1950s by chemist and inventor Lloyd Hall, as a solution to a meat-preservation challenge. Since then, the methods have evolved and the flash dryer has become indispensable industrial drying equipment.

Flash drying systems are a key capability for manufacturers across many industries. That’s because the flash drying method can be used on a wide range of raw feed materials without overheating and degrading the product.

So, what industries, raw materials, and products are best suited for flash drying? And what should you consider if you’ve got a more challenging material that needs moisture removed in a fast, high-volume process? Let’s take a look.

What Industries Use Flash Drying Services?

Virtually any industry that needs moisture removed from wet material can benefit from access to flash drying services. Food and beverage, pharmaceuticals and supplements, industrial chemicals, effluent processing, agricultural products, ceramics, and minerals are a few applications where flash drying is often an important step in manufacturing processes.

That’s because flash drying offers a great deal of flexibility in terms of raw feed characteristics, temperature, capacity, particle size, and more. For example, wetter and/or agglomerated clumps of material can be processed in a flash drying oven — even though you wouldn’t subject a raw feed with those characteristics to a fluidized bed drying process.

Raw feed materials that can be flash dried include:

  • Powders with excess moisture content
  • Cakes (including centrifuge cakes)
  • Granules
  • Flakes
  • Slurries

Because flash drying helps de-clump material, it can sometimes be called for as a pre-drying step before another drying process.

Flash Drying Basics

At its simplest, a flash dryer disperses the wet raw material into a stream of heated air (or gas). That heated air moves the material quickly through a drying duct. As the raw feed moves on the heated stream of air, the moisture on the surface of each particle is flashed off. At the end of the drying duct, cyclones and/or bag filters separate the dried material from the heated air stream. 

Pros & Cons of Flash Drying

Besides the above-mentioned flexibility, flash drying offers many advantages to manufacturers. Batches can range in size from small to very large, and material particle size and shape requirements aren’t very fussy. Even heat-sensitive materials can be candidates, since flash drying time on the equipment is short enough to protect product quality

Flash drying typically doesn’t result in as much product loss as other methods, and the nature of the process makes it suitable for recovering organic solvents from materials, which can save money and support sustainability initiatives.

On the other hand, the process can cause some particle attrition due to interparticle collisions as the material is forced through the drying duct. Materials whose particle sizes need to be preserved may need special consideration.

Other materials that may need extra consideration, planning, and consultation with experts in toll processing include combustibles — but just because it’s a challenge doesn’t mean flash drying is out of the question. Specialty techniques such as creating an inert drying environment can make it possible to flash dry materials you might not expect.

Get Started With a Flash Drying Expert

Before they begin any project, your contract manufacturer’s team of material scientists and equipment operators needs to review safety data sheets (SDS) for any and all materials subject to services. The more information you can provide based on your own experiences working with the material, the better.

When you’re working with a trusted toll processor, you’re working with an expert team that’s solving challenges like yours every day — and the knowledge and experience they’ve gained over years in the industry are put right to work for you and your products. That’s one great reason to establish a working relationship with a toll manufacturer.

Another key benefit of working closely with your tolling team is access to a much wider range of manufacturing and processing equipment than you likely have in-house. And it’s already installed and running optimally with experienced operators. Whether you need to scale up production fast to meet a spike in demand, or your R&D team is investigating new formulations or production methods, a toll processor can help you get there faster, and often at a lower overall cost.

Take a closer look and easily compare the benefits of in-house manufacturing versus working with a toll processor. Just download our free guide by clicking the link below.

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Posted in:Drying