The Politecnico di Torino is proud to host the 7th edition of the European Drying Conference. The Conference deals with cutting-edge research in the drying field, enabling researchers and technicians to exchange ideas and innovations on drying methods, modelling and applications.
The European Drying Conference series is supported by the Working Party on Drying (WPD), within the framework of the European Federation of Chemical Engineering (EFCE).
The Conference proceedings will be published as ISBN book; in addition it is planned to publish the selected papers in Drying Technology Journal.
To learn more or register for this event, please use the links above or click on the image.
Drying processes - notably spray dryers, fluidised bed dryers and ring dryers - can be optimized without any extra capital investment, by applying model-based techniques in real time. Moisture uplifts in the range of 0.1 – 0.5% of finished product, along with capacity improvements in the range of 5~10%, are typically obtained when spray drying milk powders (skim, whole, MPC, whey, WPC, infant formula). The application of the digital model is carried out in an Advanced Process Control (APC) system.
Models can be mechanistic, first principles, empirical, or indeed a mixture of these types. The models predict the process and product behaviour in response to process inputs, changes in material characteristics, as well as environmental and disturbance variables. Both steady-state and dynamic responses are predicted, thus allowing the APC to drive the process to an optimum and maintain it there.
By combining process and product understanding, the digital twin can, for example account for changing ambient humidity in real time and factor this into the optimisation, while staying on the “safe” side of glass transition / product stickiness.
These systems and techniques can also be used in pilot plants to allow new formulations to be tested and optimised before full-scale production.
The same model-based approach has been applied to the manufacture of instant coffee, starch derivatives, fruit concentrates, and more. This type of process improvement results in lower energy, increased capacity, and more consistent product quality, with little or no disruption to normal operation.
This paper provides an overview of the digital twin approach for real-time optimisation of spray drying, with real world examples and results.