July 14, 2021
A 10-year development process resulted in an innovation that changes everything. This groundbreaking dryer is ideal for pharmaceuticals and other sensitive production environments.
To electronics, food and beverage and pharmaceutical industries, dry production environments are a must.
“There’s always a certain amount of moisture in the air and when you compress it there’s a risk of condensation, which can affect the quality of the end product, and also damage the equipment downstream," says Nuri Köse, General Manager of Atlas Copco Turkey. “In mining or construction this is not a big deal, but in a lot of production flows you don’t want water anywhere near the product.”
This moisture can be removed by a desiccant dryer. The principle behind this technology is simple: the moist air flows over a hygroscopic material that attracts water, a "desiccant," and is thereby dried.
Atlas Copco’s Cerades™ desiccant is now transforming the art of drying, and Nuri Köse was part of the team making it happen. Even by Atlas Copco’s high standards of innovation, this desiccant is truly groundbreaking. It replaces the traditional silica beads with an absorbent block that’s more robust, longer-lasting and much, much better at drying.
“We first said over 10 years ago that we needed something different, because with a better desiccant, we would have a better dryers. That was the start of this innovation journey,” explains Yves Goister, Vice President of Engineering for air and gas treatment.
The beauty of the Cerades™ desiccant is that while the water-absorbent material is similar to what’s gone before, it is fixed in a ceramic honeycomb structure similar to what’s used for catalysts in cars. The structure is coated with a relatively thin but very effective layer of active desiccant, which makes the dryers using this technology perform much better than anything else on the market.
Main feature: Energy efficient and extremely reliable.
Used at: Industries such as food and beverage, pharmaceutical, and semiconductor production.
Now all that may sound like a simple concept (genius ideas often are), but in reality it’s the result of a decade of development, several iterations and the close cooperation between R&D and Marketing. “It’s been a push-pull process. The pull came from the marketing side and the push from the R&D side. I don’t think 10 years ago any sales staff thought this solution would come, but they really shaped the product for the market,” says Yves.
“That’s the secret recipe of Atlas Copco,” adds Nuri. “Our engineers have a business sense and our marketers have an engineering sense – no one wants to go to market with ordinary products that everyone else makes too. The recipe for success is that each of us understands how the other works.”
The potential rewards of this innovation are huge, and it was awarded the company’s prestigious John Munck Award for 2021.
“This is a half a billion euro market, so we saw the differentiation as crucial to our success,” says Nuri. “And when you listen to the customers, it’s not that they need a dryer as such; it’s that they need dry compressed air. Cerades™ works in our dryers to answer that need in a way that the competition cannot.”
This product was awarded Atlas Copco's prestigious John Munck Award 2021. This award, established in 1988, is presented each year to the person or team having produced the best innovative technical development contribution.