Optimonia dryers with heat pump technology

OPTIMONIA, an industrial condensation dryer for fruits, vegetables, spices and herbs, is one of the most competitive dryers with a closed system on the market. It owes its value to several sophisticated and unique technical solutions backed up by a thorough project implemented by OPTIMONIA’s team experts.

The following subsystems and solutions are built into OPTIMONIA heat pump closed system:

  • A cold condensing chamber as a precondition for a closed drying system (water flows out of the dryer, not steam).
  • A heat pump (which reduces energy consumption 3 to 5 times compared to traditional open systems and 10 to 20 times compared to other closed systems).
  • Partial and fully automated regulation (automatic process regulation – degree of automation at the customer’s request).

Due to innovative solutions, Optimonia dryers have the following advantages of a closed drying system:

  1. High quality dried product.
  2. Economy – low handling costs and significant electricity savings.
  3. Increased drying speed for certain types of food.
  4. High drying process control.
  5. The possibility of drying at low humidity.
  6. No soiling of products during drying.
  7. The possibility of drying in an inert gas atmosphere, such as e.g. carbon dioxide and nitrogen.

Other closed drying systems

Vacuum dryers use reduced pressure to lower the boiling and evaporation temperatures of water and thus reduce the drying temperature and increase product quality. An obstacle to the wider application of vacuum dryers is their price, which grows significantly with the increase of capacity – especially if the capacity goes above a few hundred pounds of dried food in one filling. These dryers are up to 10 times more expensive than condensing dryers, both in terms of purchase price and exploitation.

A lyophilizer is a special kind of vacuum dryer, which achieves extremely low pressure in order to create conditions necessary for sublimation, i.e., direct transition of ice into gas. To achieve and maintain these conditions, you need an extremely complex and, therefore, expensive device, as well as extremely high energy consumption. Undoubtedly, high-quality dried products are obtained in this way, but the question is how justified is it from the economic point of view, where the price-quality ratio determines the use of a technology. Compared to a condensing system with a heat pump, products slightly lag in quality compared to products from a lyophilizer. Under conditions of economically justified business and increasingly expensive energy, we do not ignore the fact that a lyophilizer is 10 to 20 times more expensive in terms of purchase price and 15 to 20 times more expensive in terms of exploitation.

What singles out condensing dryers from other closed systems is a 10 to 20 times lower starting price and 10 to 20 times lower electricity consumption in one drying cycle. We especially emphasize that condensing drying is the only ‘natural’ way of drying that is directly replicated from real conditions, i.e., drying takes place at atmospheric pressure.

Combined drying systems

Combined heat pump systems provide partial energy savings because they mainly use electric heaters as an additional energy source, in addition to a heat pump. Such systems are semi-closed as they occasionally perform air exchange with the external environment, so the quality of dried products is lower than in closed systems.

Open drying systems

An open system is a traditional drying system.

Dryers with an open heating system use different types of energy: fossil fuels, wood and electric heaters. 

This method of drying is obsolete for several reasons, primarily because these systems are large consumers of energy obtained mostly from fossil fuels and wood; also, they are large emitters of carbon dioxide and harmful gases, which is environmentally unacceptable nowadays. Drying in such systems poses a risk of contaminating products while being dried, as the process takes place at high temperatures, creating products of the worst quality.

The demand for products canned
without preservatives and chemicals
is growing in the food market. This is
achieved by drying, which is a completely 

natural way of preserving food.