PULLMAN, Wash. — METER Group today announced that it has acquired Drying Technology, which the company said will accelerate the availability of closed-loop moisture control for continuous lines for METER Food customers.
Delta T sensor technology and patented algorithm reduce moisture content variation in foods, aiming to improve production efficiency and quality while lowering energy consumption and waste. This system consistently and precisely maintains the target moisture content inside a dryer using real-time data and an exclusive control algorithm. METER said.
As part of METER Food’s SKALA platform, Delta T Moisture Control adds closed loop drying intelligence for continuous lines. Coupled with METER’s patented drying algorithm for manufacturers that dry or bake foods in batches using ovens, smokers and cure rooms, SKALA Delta T Moisture Control extends METER’s ability to help processors predict exactly when a batch has been dried to the correct moisture level, according to the company.
Food manufacturers must ensure that their products are dry enough to inhibit the growth of mold and microorganisms while also mitigating the risk of excessive over drying, unnecessary energy consumption, reduced product volume and quality.
Without moisture sensors inside the dryer, it is hard to detect moisture variations, much less automatically readjust this add point in response to load changes as they occur. This lack of control within drying processes is a notorious cost center for food manufacturers that also threatens production rates and product shelf life.
METER’s new moisture control module combines rugged temperature sensors installed inside the dryer with a patented control algorithm to measure moisture changes entering the dryer and adjust the setpoint automatically, the company said. This not only reduces moisture variance, but also time and moisture barriers by more than 30%.
“This acquisition benefits METER Group and its customers on multiple fronts,” said Takuya Ohki, vice president of food, METER Group. “As only 10% of Drying Technology’s customers manufacture food, METER Food will bring our drying intelligence solutions to new markets while also offering Delta T closed loop control to our installed customer base. It’s the perfect complement to our portfolio, extending our ability to support manufacturers worldwide.
“While ROI improvement calculations vary, average energy costs drop between 4 and 10%. Some factories are ROI-positive in as little as a month, others take as long as six months, with the average being just under three months. Impact on the bottom line depends so much on the size of the company, number of lines, amount produced and the cost of finished goods. For example, one customer saw an $8 million increase in profits due to increased yield in the first year.”