Heyl & Patterson demonstrated the equipment it manufactures for drying frac sand for the shale gas industry during The Frac Sand Insider Conference. Held June 6-7 at the Westin Convention Center in Pittsburgh, the event was intended for new and experienced frac sand producers. During the two-day conference, the Pittsburgh-based dryer maker conducted tours of its pilot plant testing laboratory.

Frac sand manufacturers can use dryers to prepare the sand for the job site and prepare it for disposal after it has been used in gas production. To reach gas that was previously thought to be unreachable, pressure from hydraulic fracturing is used to fracture — or “frac”— underground rock formations to allow a better flow of gas through a well. To prevent the loss of efficiency, frac sand is pumped into the well with a mixture of water and chemicals. The sand remains in the fracture when the pressure is removed, keeping the fracture propped open to allow gas to continue flowing.

 Frac sand must be processed before it is pumped into the ground. Heyl & Patterson’s drying equipment is designed to reach temperatures high enough to remove impurities from sand, break up agglomerates, remove moisture and burn off volatile compounds. Thermal processing helps frac sand meet acceptable parameters of product moisture, grain size, sphericity, crush resistance and solubility.