Can NIR Technology Improve Sand Drying Efficiencies?

As the global population continues to grow, so does the demand for new and modern infrastructures. The construction industry is expanding to meet these demands, from the construction of new homes, factories, and warehouses to the development or repair of roads and other transportation infrastructure.

Can NIR Technology Improve Sand Drying Efficiencies

Image Credit: KPM Analytics


Sand production is at the top of the list of in-demand construction materials as a result.

Concrete, mortar, render, and many other building materials all use sand in some capacity. For sand production companies that supply raw sand to manufacturers of building materials, sand moisture is a crucial production parameter.

The moisture content of the raw sand can change by the time it is ready for processing because it is frequently stored outside and exposed to the elements. Incorporating strategies to monitor the drying process can thus significantly cut down on both time and energy requirements.

How are Sand Producers Drying Their Products?

Early in the process, sand drying systems are purchased by sand processing plants in high volume. Running these systems requires a lot of energy because of the amount of sand that passes through them during a single production run.

However, sand production companies might unnecessarily be increasing their energy costs if they do not know the moisture levels of the sand before it enters the dryer and how much moisture is left in the sand after drying.

NIR (near-infrared) technology can be useful in this situation.

Can NIR Technology Improve Sand Drying Efficiencies

Image Credit: KPM Analytics

Process NIR instruments are an easy and dependable choice for quick temperature and moisture measurements of almost any substrate. For many different applications, in harsh or difficult operating environments, NIR technology offers accurate and repeatable data.

Two Ways Implementing NIR in Sand-Drying Process Can Generate a Fast Paycheck

One sand processing company recently noticed irregularities in their sand-drying procedure. Regardless of the incoming moisture content, they would have their dryers set to maximum settings to ensure that the sand was completely dry. Their bottom line started to suffer as a result of the rising cost of energy.

To address two of their problems, the company contacted KPM Analytics and inquired about in-process NIR technology.

  • Challenge 1: To gauge the moisture content of the sand before it enters the dryer. Before starting a production run, this would enable the operators to adjust the dryer settings and feed rate.
  • Challenge 2: To verify the moisture content of the sand following drying, assisting the operators in deciding whether the sand could move on to later production stages.

How NIR Technology Answered These Sand-Drying Challenges

MCT460 Series measuring sand moisture entering a drying system.

MCT460 Series measuring sand moisture entering a drying system. Image Credit: KPM Analytics

Challenge 1 solutions: The company installed an MCT460 Series in-process NIR analyzer on the conveyor that led incoming sand into the dryer in collaboration with KPM Analytics.

The company was able to track the moisture of the raw sand accessing the dryer in real-time, allowing them to initially manually and then eventually automatically adjust the dryer settings based on the real-time moisture readings. This was particularly helpful for drying out sand during or after inclement weather

The MCT460 Series’ durable design allowed it to withstand the demanding conditions of the sand drying process for long-term performance.

Challenge 2 solutions: Given the positive results from their NIR installation at the beginning of the sand drying process, the company installed an additional MCT460 Series system after the sand had been dried. This became an important tool to ensure that the process was efficient and that the sand was acceptable to proceed to later stages of production.

The operators were able to eventually automate the entire process because they had a better understanding of how long it might take for a single batch of sand to finish drying, thanks to the two in-process NIR systems. The company, most importantly, achieved a quick and significant return on investment by reducing dryer fuel costs by 10% to 40%.

Methods to Measure Moisture Where It Matters

NIR technology works well to measure moisture, temperature, and other parameters for raw materials before or after processing, from chemicals and powders to paper and textiles.

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by KPM Analytics.

For more information on this source, please visit KPM Analytics.


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