Better drying for your high-value cosmetics.
In the cosmetics industry, the production of ingredients requires careful consideration of safety, quality, and sustainability. This becomes increasingly true when your process involves volatile solvents. Bepex, being a leader in thermal technologies, is no stranger to developing complex drying systems to remove and recover volatiles from high-value solids.
We were recently approached by a company that specialized in the production of specialty chemicals for a variety of industries. One of their products was used widely as a base for cosmetics, increasing the demand for high quality and high purity.
A problem in need of solving.
They took raw material from their plant and shipped it to a toller, who processed it through a spray dryer to remove moisture. Due to the presence of a solvent, they utilized a large heated nitrogen stream, demanding an equally large operating expense. The volume of heated gas required high-horsepower blowers, further adding to the inefficiency and high cost of the existing solution.
Though the initial spray drying process removed a bulk of the moisture, the remaining moisture was diffusion limited and required more residence time than the spray dryer could provide. They had to ship the partially dried product to another toller who used a batch drying process to get the product to the final required moisture in the parts-per-million (PPM) range.
Their process was admittedly high-cost and had an equally high risk of lower quality, either through process inefficiency or contamination through excessive handling.
The search for a solution.
We started discussions with the project engineer and their lead North American tolling engineer to better understand the client’s needs. We conducted a bench test with their raw material to evaluate their application and help propose a solution. Given the necessity to remove a solvent, we immediately ruled out any of our direct thermal processes. Instead, we investigated using an indirect thermal process. Indirect thermal processes employ a barrier/surface between the thermal media and the material to be dried.
We were able to tailor a bench testing program to evaluate the feasibility and begin making process assumptions. After receiving their feed samples, we performed two primary tests for evaluation. The first test evaluated the material’s tendency to stick along a temperature gradient. That data helped us determine where the transition phase occurs and what conveyance challenges we may face in the pilot demonstration.
The second test developed a drying curve for their material. This plotted the time-temperature correlation and informed us of when we can expect to get into the diffusion-limited moisture requiring higher temperatures or longer residence times.
Designing the perfect fit.
With the right Bepex equipment and a custom system design, we created a one-facility process for the client.
We took our findings from the bench evaluation and began designing a system for pilot scale evaluation.
The proposed system included our Solidaire Paddle Dryer for the initial drying step, our TorusDisc Dryer to provide the residence time necessary for the diffusion limited moisture, and a second Solidaire to cool the dried material prior to packaging.
Our process differed from what they were using because it:
- Used far less nitrogen
- Used less horsepower
- Took up a drastically smaller footrprint
- Had a higher ability to control the final moisture content
- Produced a higher quality, higher purity end product
Let Us Help
Improve your volatile process with a more controlled drying system. A short discussion is typically all that is needed to find a better way to dry.