IRD (Infrared Rotary Drum) is an innovative and patented technology to heat up free-flowing bulk solids by IR (infrared) radiation. Instead of heating the particles from the outside for an extended period of time by means of hot air and then expelling the water at immense cost and effort, the new technology employs infrared radiators that heat the given material from within in mere seconds. Solids may enter the process as granules, flakes, regrind, powder or even as a pastry sludge.

The particular heating processes are accelerated dramatically by IR irradiation. Drying, coating, annealing or even roasting and comparable processes are carried out in an IRD more efficiently as in fluidized-bed or vacuum driers. Compared to traditional technologies a significant reduction of time and energy consumption is achieved by applying IR radiation on solids. The drying process takes only minutes, as opposed to hours, while energy consumption goes down by approximately 80 percent. This is also due to the advanced physics of IR drying. Drying agents and conditioning of process air is avoidable with IRD.

Drying of solids practically can be carried out in an industrial manner in IRD alone. Especially in the plastics industry IRD is well established already. Future applications are coming up in foods, chemical and pharmaceutical industries.

Quartz glass emitters are applied by choice; these enable a deep penetration of solids by the IR radiation. The heater modules are supplied by 42Inventions GmbH of Vormwald – Germany and are installed into IRD by the various licensed partners. Special characters of these IR heater modules are the high efficiency on energy and their applicability in harsh and dusty process ambient.

IRD: Universal Drying Process for Bulk Solids is Getting Rolling
A revolutionary new industrial technology from Germany is preparing to take the market for the drying of bulk solids by storm. The IRD (Infrared Rotary Drum) has achieved substantial success in the plastics industry, already operating in more than 50 facilities worldwide. Urban Stricker, the inventor of the technology, is convinced that this new process will soon be used in heating processes for bulk solids of all kinds in many other industrial fields, as well. The prospects in markets such as foods and pharmacy are indeed promising.
The graduate engineer for material science, who has already been prized for the development of many other technologies, developed the IRD in connection with the drying of plastics resins. The process, which was first introduced in 1998, takes the opposite approach to traditional techniques used for drying. Instead of heating the particles from the outside for an extended period of time by means of hot air and then expelling the water at immense cost and effort, the new technology employs infrared radiators that heat the given material from within in mere seconds. The water escapes without noticeable resistance into the normal ambient air.
The result is an extensive reduction of both time and energy. The drying process takes only minutes, as opposed to hours, while energy consumption goes down by approximately 80 percent. („Scientific Base“). This technique can be coupled with an individually synchronized rotating-drum-technology, leading to the additional possibility of a direct and continuous conveyance of material in processing. („Process Engineering“).
The procedure was perfected over several years of development and has now been in use in industrial application of all kinds for approximately 2 years. Over the course of the last year, Stricker has made the technology available to several partners by the means of licensing. It has been the inventor’s experience that “competition between different technology- manufacturers guaranties a fast accommodation of the needs of the clients. An open licensing assures better market penetration.” Distinct advantages for partners: Stricker’s company, 42INVENTIONS, from Vormwald near Siegen / Germany, delivers specially constructed infrared-radiator-modules, who’s efficiency and reliability are substantially greater than any available elsewhere in the market. („IR-Modules“)
One of the first IRD-licensees is the up-and-coming Kreyenborg Machine-Construction-Group from Germany’s Münster. Jan-Udo Kreyenborg, the managing partner of the mechanical engineering firm, draws first conclusions after almost a year: “The overwhelming response in the market has more than met our expectations.” Kreyenborg will be showing the IRD at German trade fairs this October, among them being „Powtech“ in Nürnberg and „Fakuma“ in Friedrichshafen.
The UK based UPM Group who will celebrate 30 years of serving the world wide plastics Industry in December 2005 have made significant investment over the past two years in R & D for IRD to perfect the fully automatic operation based on all new software and controls which has been reflected in their success in both the UK and European market place. UPM has also manufactured IRD for the Japanese License Partner Sojitz who reports growing interest.
The Japanese industry is considerably more cross linked than its European counterpart, the branches of the later being more clearly distinguished from one another. Thus, it is not surprising that Sojitz is already attending to customer requests from other industrial fields. “There are very interesting prospects with Japanese chemical firms”, says Stricker. “It was clear to me soon after the start that IRD is suited not only for plastics resins, but for any bulk solid,” a vision coming true for him. IRD is already being used for synthetic powders and fibers. “Exotic” application may be found in, for example, the drying of sand or even Bamboo fiber. („Application“).

The material scientist sees the foods and pharmaceutical industries as especially promising. “We already have excessive experience in the drying of powders, as are necessary in the production of pills, for example. And materials such as coffee or rice are very similar in shape and texture to granulates. Customizing the technique to the given material is a relatively simple process,” says Stricker regarding further prospects. Opportunities for more partners that will supply the given industries will arise: “the potential is almost overwhelming!”