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of Food


28 (1996) 27 I -2X2

Copyright D 1996 Elsevier Science Limited

Printed in Great Britain. All rights reserved


Design and Control of Drum Dryers for the Food Industry.

Part 1. Set-Up of a Moisture Sensor and an Inductive
G. Rodriguez,

J. Vasseur

& F. Courtois

ENSIA-INRA Food Engineering Department. 1, Av. des Olympiades, F-91305 Massy

Cedex, France
(Received 5 March 1995; accepted 23 August 199.5)

The aim of this work is to analyse different ways for controlling the final
moisture content of a product dried on a drum dryer; and to reduce its
unevenness in order to obtain a high-quality product and to increase dryer
productivity A new way to determine product moisture content by means of
product temperature measurement
is presented, which is convenient for a
moving and low thickness film. The product temperature is directly related to
moisture content, because drying on a drum dryer takes place by boiling: this
relation comes from the experimental desorption isobal; or boiling curve of the
This measurement
allows the detection of wet zones, and the
correction of the moisture profile across the width by means of an additional
inductive heater Copyright 0 1996 Elsevier Science Limited.

Water activity
Concentration of noncondensible gases (kg air/kg water)
Dry matter load (kg DMlm)
Film thickness (mm)
Outlet mass flow rate (kg/h)
Inlet mass flow rate (kg/h)
Inlet steam flow rate (kg/h)
Nominal inductive power (kW)
Pressure of saturated steam at Tpe (bar)
Total pressure (bar)
*Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.


G. Rodriguez, J. Vasseul; E Courtois

Steam pressure in the cylinder (bar)

Temperature measured by an infrared thermometer
Boiling temperature (K)
Product temperature (C)
Local final value of product temperature, just above the knife (left,
middle, right) (C)
Drum speed (rpm)
Dipping satellite drum speed (rpm)
Final value of moisture content (kg water/kg DM)
Local final moisture content vs width, just above the knife (left,
middle, right) (kg water/kg DM)
Feed product viscosity (Pa s)
Gap between drum and dipping satellite (mm)



Drum drying is currently used in the food industry to dry heavy pastes and thick
liquids, such as cooked starch, baby food, mashed potatoes, concentrated
caseinates, maltodextrins, yeast creams, fruit pulps, etc. The obtained dried product
is porous and easy to rehydrate, ready to use. Nevertheless, problems are sometimes
encountered with the output product quality because of some perturbations
in the
drying processes, such as fluctuations in the initial moisture and thickness of product
(Trystram, 1988; according to the degree of starch gelatinisation, temperature,
example), accumulation of noncondensible
gases in the drum with local bad heat
transfer, e.g. on both sides (Abchir, 1988).
These perturbations produce wet zones on the drying film, and unevenness in the
moisture content of the final dried product. The same problems are observed in the
paper industry (Udino, 1983; Vanot & Develey, 1988). The usual way to overcome
these problems is to overdry the product so that even the wetter zones are
nevertheless dry, resulting in a lower productivity due to the reduction in drum
rotation speed, a lower product quality, and a higher cost than is necessary.
studies of the process (Abchir et al., 1988; Kim & Piyarat,
1986; Trystram et al., 1988; Vasseur & Loncin, 1983) show the complex interaction
between all operating parameters. These studies allowed us to select and to classify
both the input and the output variables (Fig. 1).
Input variables. Drum speed Vrc and steam pressure pv are the most important
variables of the process with regards to the final product moisture content Xf and
outlet mass flow rate m,. For an increase in Vrc, the influence on Xf is due to the
reduction in the drying time available and change in the quantity of product
smeared over the drum Cs (see Fig. 2(a)). Final moisture content is also conditioned
by steam pressure pv: Xf obviously decreases with increase in the steam pressure
(pv) due to the higher drum surface temperature profile. Figure 2(b) shows the nonlinear relation between WC and TV for a constant Xf value (TV is the saturated steam
at pv). Dipping satellite speed Vrs increases slightly the quantity of
product smeared on the drum Cs, but the effect on Xf is not considerable because
of the auto regulation effect of the cylinder (increase of steam flow). All these

Design and control of drum dryers for the food industry


non-condensible gases
changes in Xo, pv, p, .. .

Output variables

Input Variables


(Dryer -_

Fig. 1. Schematic representation

of the influence of variables


(input) on objectives


variables induce nonlinear responses with response times and delay depending on
the set points.
Variations in initial moisture content (X,), product viscosity (p), thickness of
product layer (e) and the gap between dipping satellite and drum drier (rj) are
considered as disturbances. The variations of these factors produce an unevenness in
film thickness, meaning that dry matter load (Cs) is not the same everywhere.
Vasseur & Loncin (1983) have proved that the evaporation rate increases at low
thickness of product smeared on the drum (Fig. 3).
Output variables. The most important
are moisture content X, which will be
measured by means of product temperature (T C) and mass flow rate (mr) linearly
depending on Cs and Kc. Figures 4 and 5 show the influence of WC and pv on final
moisture content and mass flow rate.
Several models of the process have been proposed (Abchir et al., 1988; Trystram
et al., 1988; Vasseur & Loncin, 1983). Simulation results have shown that WC and PLJ
are the most important input variables for controlling product moisture content vs
time. However, this global action is not sufficient to correct unevenness in moisture
content across the drum width. The wetter zones are commonly on the drum edges.
To reach the desired moisture content in these zones, it is necessary to overdry the
central zone, resulting in a lower productivity and a higher cost because of the drum
speed decrease. A method to overcome this kind of problem is proposed.
State of the art

of moisture measurement

Detection of a small change in the product moisture content is not easy to realise
due to the small thickness of the film and the motion of the product. The traditional
method used to measure the final moisture content is to take product samples and
dry them in an oven at 105C for 24 h or in an infrared heated balance, but the
response time is too long for control. In industry, on-line measurement
of -Yf is
sometimes made by capacitive sensors, conductivity sensors, microwave sensors or

G. Rodriguez, .I. Vasseur;1;: Courtois


infrared sensors (Goldstein et al., 1991; Richard et al., 1988; Slight, 1976). Most of
these methods are difficult to calibrate and work on ground product in thick layers
after having left the drum. The results may be affected by the particle size, the
product temperature
and thickness, the colour (Jones, 1986; Swift, 1971), and
besides, these methods are quite expensive. This is why real time moisture
measurement techniques are rarely encountered for industrial drum dryer control.






Drum Drier VIC (m/r&)

(b) 180






Dmm speed VR: (rpm)

Fig. 2. (a) Influence of drum speed over Xf (Trystram, 1988). (b) Relation between steam
temperature (TV) and drum speed (WC) when keeping Xfconstant
(Xf-0.02 kg/kg). Influence
of Vie on flake thickness (Trystram, 1988).

Design and control of drum dryersfor the food industry

wet product


Fig. 3.




Schematic diagram of the pilot drum dryer.

We have looked for cheaper sensors, able to measure on-line the moisture content
in order to control the process with precision and rapidity.
Previous studies on the drying mechanisms (Abchir, 1988; Vasseur & Loncin,
1983) have shown that drying on a drum dryer takes place by boiling, since air
velocity around the dryer is under 6 m/s. That means that the product attains its

m Oswins Model



X Experimental



by Bassals Method



Product TempeI;lture(C)
Fig. 4.

Desorption isobar (1 bar) obtained in the laboratory of product (maltodextrin

17(20%), native wheat starch (3.3%) and water (76.7%)) fitted with Oswins Model.

G. Rodriguez, J. Vasseq l? Courtois








Product temperature (C)

Fig. 5.

Validation of moisture estimation from direct (oven) and indirect measurement

(temperature measurement at two emissivities and isobar equation).

boiling temperature
Tpe, which is a function of X, defined by the fact its steam
pressure at Tpe (i.e. PTpe) is equal to the total pressure P, over the product
(generally atmospheric pressure). Therefore,
if product temperature
is measured,
the corresponding
moisture content X is known through knowledge of the
desorption isobar. This property facilitates the use of cheaper sensors, able to
measure on-line the moisture content with precision and rapidity.



The product to dry is smeared in a very thin film on the hot metallic surface of a
rotating drum (kc), internally heated with steam @v). In all our tests, a dipping
satellite was used for distribution on the drum (see Fig. 3) determining the specific
load Cs, leading to a stationary state defined by its input m,, m, and output mf mass
flow rates. The product dries during contact with the hot wall, for about 314 of a
rotation, before being scraped by a knife. The product to be dried in our tests was
a model product of maltodextrin D.E. 17(20%), native wheat starch (3.3%) and
water (76.7%).
The DUPRAT pilot dryer is made of cast iron, 600 mm long, 414 mm diameter,
and 22 mm thick. The speed range is O-10 rpm, the useful drying surface is 0.44 m2,
and the evaporating flow rate is 30 kg/h maximum. The energy consumption varies

of drum dryers. SociCtC DUPRAT,

20, AV. daubibre, 63800 Cow-non, France.

Design and control of drum dtyers for the food industry

classically from 1.15 to 1.2 kg steam/kg water removed.

the pilot drum drier is shown in Fig. 3.

The schematic


diagram of

Principle of moisture estimation from temperature measurement

In boiling type drying, the product temperature
reaches 100C at atmospheric
pressure as long as activity of water in the product is a,=l, which is usually the case
at the beginning of the drying process; the heat flux is then very high. At the end of
drying, for a, < 1, the boiling temperature of the product goes over 100C and the
difference between product and metallic wall decreases, leading to a
low heat flux at the end of drying.
The desorption isobar (1 bar) was obtained using Bassals method (Bassal &
Vasseur, 1992). This method consists of drying a product in a pure steam
atmosphere until it reaches equilibrium. This curve determines the relation between
moisture content X of a product and its boiling temperature Tpe.
To describe the desorption isobar, we used the transformed (Bassal & Vasseur,
1992) Oswin model to take into account the effect of temperature (eqn (1)).



X=(kl +kzTpe)

[ 1 -a,




k,, kZ, k3 and k4 are the parameters to be identified P, is the total pressure over the
product (bar), P.l.pe is pressure of saturated steam, at Tpe (bar) and Tpe is the
boiling temperature of product (C).
Remote temperature sensor
In order to measure on-line the product temperature without contact, we used an
infrared thermometer. Different factors were taken into consideration:
0 the film is thin, and in motion with the metallic wall;
0 the product emissivity has to be as high as possible (E >OG30) for the chosen
sensor waveband (opaque product), and quite independent of moisture content
variations (it is a temperature measurement).
The selected sensor was a near infrared thermometer: range 0-2OOC, with a 7-14
pm spectral range, emissivity can be set from 1;=0.4 to 1. Its target is 20 mm distant
and the response time is about one second. Due to the emissivity difference between
the wall and the product, this sensor also detects the absence of product over the
drum, when some problems occur upstream.

This section describes
moisture measurements

successively the results obtained for temperature

and for the correction of wet zones with an additional


G. Rodriguez, J. Vasseq l! Courtois


Optimized Parameters used to Fit the Isobar Desorption with the Oswin Model for a Model
Product of Maltodextrin D.E. 17(20%), Native Wheat Starch (3.3%) and Water (76.7%)
Modified Oswin Model Parameters



Validation of moisture estimation method

Figure 4 shows the desorption
isobar (1 bar) of our product obtained from
using Bassals method and described with
Oswins model (1992). A nonlinear optimisation method (Simplex) was used to
estimate the parameters of the model from the experimental results (Table 1). We
observe in Fig. 4 that the newly adjusted model is close to the experimental points
especially between 118 and 145C, which is the temperature working range at the
output of the drum dryer. We can thus deduce the moisture content Xf from the
measurement of Tpe with a good precision.
In order to validate the use of the desorption isobar with the dried product
coming out of the drum, samples at different temperatures were taken just before
the knife and their moisture contents were determinated in the oven. Two different
emissivities were tested for the IR thermometer: &=0.85 and 0.95.
Figure 5 shows a good agreement between the experimental moisture content
obtained from drum drying experiments through classical oven methods and through
the isobar equation and temperature
measurement for ~=0*85. We can also check
that the emissivity variation has little influence on the moisture content deduced
from the temperature.
Conclusion, the final product moisture content can be achieved by an infrared
giving through the isobar a local value of Xf, which is
precise (error 7% for T=118-148(Z), without contact and quite cheap compared to
other methods of moisture measurement.
Correction of unevenness in moisture content across the drum width
6 is a recording of product temperature
at three points across the width of
the drum: left, middle and right (Ti, T,, T,). We can see both variations vs time and
vs width: the left temperature
for example is lower than the middle one, which
means that the product is wetter in this zone.
The same situation is observed in the paper industry (Udino, 1983; Vanot &
Develey, 1988), where nonuniform moisture profiles are attributed to basic weight
variations, felt nonuniformities,
uneven dryer roll conditions, etc. In order to correct
these uneven moisture content distributions, process modifications have been made
by adding complementary energy sources.
Several additional sources of energy have been proposed:

Design and control of drum dryers for the food industry








time s

Fig. 6.

Evolution of final product temperature at three locations on the width of the drum:
T,, T,, T,. (Vrc=1.23 rpm, Vrs=30 rpm,pv=S bar.)

0 high-frequency

dielectric heating has been used directly over the paper sheet
(Jones, 1986);
0 a modular inductive moisture profile corrector
has been situated outside a
heating cylinder (Udino, 1983);
l a modular
infrared heating system has been located inside the cylinder
(Manfredi & Raymond, 1989) or most often, directly over the paper sheet at
the end of the process.
In the last two cases, the modules are individually commanded to control the local
moisture content. Nevertheless, this kind of solution has not yet been used in the
food industry, using a single-step drum dryer. The following results show that such
a process modification can also be implemented in the food industry, in order to
correct the moisture profile and to increase the product quality and productivity.
In this work, two additional energy sources have been tested: a short infrared
heater and an inductive electric heater. The results obtained with the infrared
heater (4 kW over a 40 cm width) were not satisfactory: the energy is not well
absorbed by the product which is transparent to this wavelength IR radiation. Also
the flux density transferred to the drum wall and later released to the product was
not sufficient. The results with the inductive electric heater are given below.
Inductive electric heater
The inductive electric heater was used to correct the unevenness in moisture content
on the left side. It is a low-frequency (50 Hz) inductor, with a ma netic circuit,
producing up to 3.4 kW over a 20 cm width (heated surface 0.26 m #), for a wide
range of gaps (3-10 mm), without impedance adaptation.


G. Rodriguez, J. Vasseur;I? Courtois

Fig. 7.

Zone C
Induction heating of dryer.

Figure 7 shows the inductor installed near the outside surface of the drum dryer
(3 mm gap). When the inductor is energized, an alternating electromagnetic
intersects the portion of the drier shell adjacent to it. Since the wall dryer is
electrically conductive, an eddy current is induced in the wall, and heat is generated
from the resistance to this eddy current.
Three zones are possible for installing the inductor (Fig. 7). However, this
technique brings heat to the wall, which must be heated before increasing the local
heat flux (left side), thus requiring the time of several rotations. Thus, the inductor
location is rather a question of practicability, washability, etc. The environment in
zone A is very humid because of the steam produced by the drying of product. That
is why the actuator was placed under the drum in zone C, between the feed zone
and the knife.
Figure 8 shows the process response when the local actuator is switched on. In the
first part of the test, the system is used without the inductor. The initial unevenness
between left side and middle is obvious, the left side being 15% wetter. When the
inductor is started, the left moisture content decreases rapidly, changing from
Xf=4-2% to Xf=2*8%. The response time is about 100 s, with an applied power of
3 kW.
The inductor efficiency is about 75%, i.e. 2-25 kW is transferred to the wall. The
additional evaporating flux does not consume 2.25 kW (on 20 cm width). In fact,
most of electrical power input also results in a reduction of the energy coming from
the heating steam condensation; only a small part (10%) is net energy to increase
the local mass flux. We must choose an inductive power adapted to the unevenness
to control and to the size of the drum.

We can conclude that drying on a drum dryer takes place as a boiling phenomenon
mechanism; consequently, an infrared temperature
sensor can be used as a local
moisture sensor for the dried product (Xf. This measurement works with a thin

Design and control of drum dryers for the food industry

pv = 4



bar, Vrc = 3 trlmin

Pind = 3000 W


2 (. .,,


., ,,,









*, ,,,










,. ,,.






time (s)

Fig. 8.

Step response of product moisture content (Xi=left and X,,=middle) when the local

is switched on.

film, without contact, is precise and quite cheap compared to other methods. It can
be used to detect moisture unevenness and location of wet zones in real time, and
eventually to detect anomalies such as absence of product on the dryer.
The feasibility of unevenness correction of Xf has been demonstrated,
using a
heating source, i.e. an inductive heater. It increases the drum dryer
productivity, by avoiding over-drying which is the conventional way to overcome
unevenness in industry. Of course for adequate control, the power of the additional
local heating should be related to the moisture unevenness and to the drum size. It
should be taken into account that the controlled electrical power is partially used for
increasing the moisture evaporation rate.
The next step is to include the above sensor and actuator in a control loop in
order to adjust the local additional power to the objective in moisture content. In
fact, the industrial control can combine several actuators - steam pressure @v),
rotation speed (Vrc) and local induction heating (Pind) - with specific dynamics and
nonlinear response, which is a more complex strategy. This will be the subject of
part 2 of this paper.

The authors would like to thank DUPRAT Company and EDF, which provided the
material and invaluable aid in the preparation of this work. The authors would also
like to thank Dr. G. Trystram and Dr. A. Bassal whose comments led to significant
improvements of the text.


G. Rodriguez, J. Vasseul; F Courtois

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