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Air Flotation Drying


Spooner Industries of Ilkley, West Yorkshire (UK) has developed a new improved range of air flotation dryers that provides compact and economical solutions. The range offers non-contact drying, eliminating any roll contamination issues and providing high heat transfer rates, resulting in shorter dryers. The integrated design incorporates fan, heater, and damper controls for each zone mounted within the dryer enclosure. The range is modular with independent retraction on each zone.

This provides a compact dryer and allows building and testing of each zone separately in Spooner’s factory, with the dryer zones then being shipped ready for installation on site. Once on site, parallel retraction makes for easy access for cleaning and maintenance. The ModuleDryerTM project began when Voith Paper developed a concept for a new generation of machines in which open draws are reduced to an absolute minimum. It combines high evaporation rates with excellent web handling, allowing simultaneous turning and drying or cooling of the web. The key element is the unique Spooner nozzle system employed in the turning sections. This nozzle system allows the web to be turned through a given angle in a stable manner without any loss of heat transfer. As its name suggests, the ModuleDryerTM is fully modular and can combine the full range of heating, drying and cooling technologies. Multiple zoning allows the system to be tailored to satisfy individual customer requirements. Advantages of this concept are overall shorter machines, superior web stability, reduced downtime and energy savings. The High Performance Compact (HPCTM) Dryer was developed in response to the industry’s requirement for a high performance drying system.

The HPCTM dryer combines web handling and the mass transfer capabilities of a conventional flotation system to achieve the heat transfer capabilities and compactness of a typical IR system. The web is supported throughout on a dynamic air pressure pad with high clearance, achieving non-contact web handling. This makes the system effective over a wide range of processes and substrates. The Spooner air float nozzles are located above and below the web path and supplemented by an equal amount of air impingement nozzles. This configuration creates twice the heat transfer of conventional air flotation dryers. Spooner HPCTM technology provides drying of both low and high tension webs, evaporation rates of up to 200kg/m2/h, unlimited operating widths, operating temperatures of up to 450oC, operation nozzle velocities up to 70 m/s, unlimited machine speeds and variable re-circulation. Additional ways to improve operating efficiency is through energy saving and heat recovery systems designed, manufactured and installed by Spooner. These energy recovery systems offer a typical payback period of circa 2 years and can reduce energy consumption by approximately 20%. Spooner’s Ilkley HQ also boasts a Pilot Facilty with in-house testing equipment available for a wide variety of processes. The comprehensive range of pilot equipment is available to all customers and most applications. In addition to the UK, Spooner has a network of agents and representatives across the globe, providing a local point of contact for almost every client, wherever their location.