Moisture is an essential asset in the manufacturing process, however when it pertains to powder & bulk solid handling, excess moisture can destroy products. With continual on-line moisture measurement, manufacturing plants are able to discover money savings, from transportation costs from the weight of excess moisture, to savings in water usage for dust suppression and clean-up. Manufacturers likewise minimize the amount of wear and tear on equipment from the dust and ash buildup, preventing blockages on the conveyor which could potentially result in shutting down the boiler.

Benefits of moisture measurement and control include:
* Reduce dryer usage and energy costs
* Properly control the in-feed and dryer exit
* High quality product through instant accurate moisture control
* Consistency of final product
* 100 percent product inspection
* Dust and fire elimination
* Reduce purchase costs from water weight
* Plant production efficiency monitoring
* Blended monitoring for control of moisture and resin
* Reduce downtime

frac sand machine imageNear Infrared Technology and Moisture Control
Moisture measurement is extremely important during mineral processing from mining to the final product. Moisture measurement is critical in all aspects of the mining process. Thus, mining companies are constantly adjusting moisture to maintain the quality of their product.

Ideally a moisture control system should be able to accurately detect moisture in raw materials, preferably at different stages of the manufacturing process, be easy to maintain, and tough enough to withstand the harsh, abrasive nature of the raw materials and the mixer environment.

Controlling the Ash Residue

Preventing airborne dust and controlling weight of the ash, it is recommended that a sensor is installed after combustion and moisture spray. From past installations and depending on the matrix of the ash, the optimum moisture range is 15 to 18 percent with a target of 15 percent for control of dust and weight of the ash. The moisture content lowest point is 12 to 14 percent before the ash becomes airborne, and above 25 percent moisture the ash turns into mud that contains surface moisture (liquid) making it heavy and expensive to haul away.

Advances in real-time sensing, data collection, and data analysis and interpretation helps to determine the characteristics of the materials prior to processing providing process efficiency and optimization. Regular measurements of moisture in most manufacturing lines remains a necessity for control of drying, thereby reducing treatment costs.

With continuous online moisture measurement, manufacturing plants will find significant money savings: from savings in transportation due to weight of excess moisture, to savings in water usage for dust suppression and clean-up. Plants also reduce the amount of wear and tear on equipment due to the dust and ash build up and prevent blockages on the conveyor resulting in shutting down the boiler.

Typical accuracy with a NIR sensor is about ±0.2 percent for ash moisture applications with a moisture range of 0 to 30 percent moisture. The sensor should be installed several inches above the conveyor belt. Once installed operators can continuously monitor the process and control the moisture content either manually or automatically. For monitoring and control, the sensor(s) can be directly connected to the users PLC or any laptop. In addition, look for instrumentation that can monitor the system even with small gaps in product flow and is unaffected by ambient light without impacting the accuracy.

Adrian Fordham has been president of MoistTech Corp. (Sarasota, FL) since 2013, seeing the company’s growth to more than 50,000 installations worldwide. He can be reached at 941-727-1800 or For more information on MoistTech Corp., visit

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