Drying technology is one of the largest consumers of production-line energy for any industry, including food, feed, fibers and polymers. An industrial dryer reduces moisture content using thermal energy to produce specific product attributes. It can be a major investment for any company; however, the major cost is not necessarily from the initial investment, which includes design and assembly. Instead, it usually is found in the long-term, daily operation of the dryer. This is where the ability to control the drying process is important to consistently optimize energy usage and achieve the desired quality needed every time. Even over a short period of time, the value of savings realized by energy efficiency, increased throughput and higher quality product can easily outweigh the investment cost for the dryer itself.
Manual control is the most common way to adjust production and power during the drying process, but the operator selections can be limited. Also, the choices made often are based on expertise developed through years of experience and local knowledge. With changing product characteristics and multiple variables, being able to adjust the drying conditions is not always straightforward.