Choosing the Right Fluid Bed Dryer (Rapid Dryer)

Choosing the right fluid bed dryer is essential for your business needs. In this article, we’ll explain what a fluid bed dryer is and compare three leading options available in the market today: VJ Instruments Fluid Bed Dryer, Sherwood Scientific Laboratory Fluid Bed Dryers, and Retsch Rapid Dryer. Our goal is to help you make an informed decision and select the product that best suits your requirements.

Overview of Fluid Bed Dryer

In the granulation process, the Fluidized Bed Dryer (Fluid Bed Dryer) is the most widely used equipment. It is utilized for drying materials to achieve the desired moisture content in tablet formulations, which is essential for perfect compression. Fluidized Bed Dryers are known for their single-stage operation and are extensively used to convert solutions, suspensions, and slurries into dry powder within seconds, eliminating the need for intermediate handling. The high-speed and controlled temperature of this process ensure optimal efficiency.

Principle of Fluid Bed Dryer/Rapid Dryer

Drying is a unit operation that involves the heat mass transfer process of removing unwanted water, menstruum, or solvent by evaporation from liquids, solids, and semi-solids. It entails the migration of moisture from within the material to its surface and the evaporation of unbound water into the surrounding atmosphere.

Drying Process of Lab Fluid Bed Dryer

The primary purposes of solid drying include increasing shelf life, making materials more manageable, preservation, enhancing flow properties, reducing transportation costs, and drying various coatings and substrates to remove moisture content and volatile substances.

Different Types of Fluidized Bed

Fluidized beds come in various types, including:

  • Slugging Bed: In this type, air bubbles occupy the entire cross-section of the vessel and divide the bed into layers.
  • Boiling Bed: The air bubbles or gas bubbles in this type are approximately the same size as the solid particles.
  • Channelling Bed: In a channelling bed, air or gas forms channels through which most of the air passes.
  • Spouting Bed: In a spouting bed, air forms a single opening through which some particles flow and fall to the outside.

Construction

Fluid Bed Dryer, also known as a fluidized bed dryer, operates on the principle of fluidization. It involves the passage of high-pressure hot air through a perforated container containing a wet mass of granules. Over time, the granules begin to suspend in the air, entering a fluidized state. The fluid bed dryer typically comprises a stainless steel chamber with a removable perforated underside known as the bowl. Key components include an air handling unit, product vessel, exhaust filters, exhaust blower, control panel, air distribution plate, spray nozzle, and solution delivery. The choice of distributors used during the drying process ensures even and stable fluidization.

Working of a Fluidized Bed Dryer

The main principle involved in a fluidized bed dryer is “fluidization.” The material to be dried is placed in a bowl-type vessel, and air is introduced from the bottom, heated to the required temperature by heaters. The air is filtered through the filters and then passes through the material bed. The airflow is generated by fans within the equipment, and its rate and operating temperature can be adjusted through the control panel. As the air flow increases, the bed expands, and the particles of the powders rise in a turbulent motion, leading to drying. The vaporized liquid is carried away by the drying gases, and in some cases, exit gas is partially recycled to save energy.

Parameters to Be Controlled in Fluidized Bed Dryers (System)

To enhance the operation, efficiency, and reproducibility of a fluidized bed dryer, several parameters need to be controlled. These parameters are categorized into three groups:

Apparatus/Equipment Parameters:

  • Position of the air distribution plate: Influences the pattern.
  • Shape of the instrument: Annular-based design often yields better results.
  • Nozzle height: Vital, especially when fluidized bed dryers are used as coating machines.

Process/Operating Parameters:

  • Temperature: Increased temperature leads to faster drying.
  • Humidity: Lower humidity of inlet air accelerates drying.
  • Airflow rate/gas velocity: Controlled airflow is essential for optimal drying.

Product Parameters:

  • Moisture content of the feed material.
  • Feed rate/batch size.
  • Product moisture content.
  • Particle size, shape, and diameter.

Advantages of Fluidized Bed Dryer

  • High rates of moisture removal due to excellent gas-particle contact, resulting in high heat and mass transfer rates.
  • High thermal efficiency, especially when part of the thermal energy for drying is supplied by an internal heat exchanger.
  • Lower capital and maintenance costs.
  • Reduced contact time for drying.
  • Ease of control.

Disadvantages of Fluidized Bed Dryer

  • High pressure is needed to suspend the entire bed in the air, leading to high energy consumption.
  • Large amounts of air are required for recirculation in high thermal efficiency operations.
  • Not suitable for handling mainly wet materials, resulting in poor fluidization and low flexibility.
  • Inappropriate for drying processes involving flammable or toxic solids, as it poses a danger of fire or explosion if limits are exceeded.
  • Potential for fine particle entrapment in filter bags and particle attrition or agglomeration.

Here’s a comparison of three popular fluid bed dryers available in the market:

Item ModelSherwood Scientific 501Retsch TG 200VJ Instruments Fluid Bed Dryer-Lab
Warranty Period1 Year2 Years1 Year
Product NameSherwood Scientific Laboratory Fluid Bed DryersUniversal Rapid DryerVJ Instruments Fluid Bed Dryer
Technical Specs   
Minimum Particle Size5 μm with sealed tub assembly68 μm100 μm
Sample Volume2-L, 5-L, or 1-L (four 250 mL samples), depending on tub assembly used. Max weight 11 lbs (5 kg)One 6-liter container or three 0.3-liter containersOne 6-liter container or three 0.3-liter containers
Max Moisture Content (%)808080
Timer0 to 9 hours and 59 min0 to 60 min1-99 min / Continuous through HMI – Digital
Drying TimeLess than 15 minutes depending on quantity and moisture content of sample5 to 20 minutes5 to 20 minutes
Max Temperature392 ° F (200° C)248° F (120° C)212° F (100° C)
Min Temperature68° F (20° C)104° F (40° C)86° F (30° C)
Heater Wattage (Watts)200020002000
Height10.25 Inch (26 cm)36.25 Inch (92 cm)43.3 Inch (110 cm)
Depth20 Inch (50.8 cm)118.125 Inch (46 cm)118.11 Inch (45 cm)
Width12.625 Inch (32 cm)11.875 Inch (30 cm)22.04 Inch (50 cm)
Power220 V 50 Hz 11.8 A220 V 60 Hz200-240 V 50/60 Hz 16 A
Weight21 Kg 25 Kg
Price$18,300 to $23,180 (₹15L to ₹17L) with accessories approx.$13,420 to $18,300 (₹11L to ₹15L) with accessories approx.$8,540 to $10,980 (₹7L to ₹9L) with accessories approx.
ComplianceProp 65 NA (no Prop 65 chemicals)CEGMP, ISO, CE

 

After examining the comparison chart of VJ Instruments Fluid Bed Dryer, Sherwood Scientific Laboratory Fluid Bed Dryers, and Retsch Rapid Dryer, it is evident that VJ Instruments Fluid Bed Dryer is a promising alternative that offers the capabilities of both Sherwood Scientific Laboratory Fluid Bed Dryers and Retsch Rapid Dryer. Notably, it is a reliable, affordable, and trusted product.

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