The principal objective of the HiPerDry project is to create a significant advance over the state of the art in hygroscopic polymer drying technology. A three year development programme, which will culminate in the testing and demonstration of a prototype drying system for hygroscopic polymer granules, is proposed. The resulting microwave enhanced superheated steam drying (MW-SHSD) system will boast the following advantages:
- 30 to 50 % reduction in process energy costs as well as run time;
- the ability to efficiently dry heat-sensitive hygroscopic polymers (especially biopolymers) without the risk of material degradation; and
- the build-up of new know-how about the drying and processing of heat-sensitive bioplastics.
Energy consumption is an important competitive factor for European plastics manufacturing SMEs, as they nowadays find themselves facing several socio-economic developments due to the increasing scarcity of resources. Energy prices have continually risen within the last years and will rise more and more. Thus, energy-related costs are becoming a crucial limiting factor for operational profits. The reduction of energy consumption and thus production costs will result in an increase of competitiveness against upcoming overseas markets. Additionally, raw materials for fossil-derived polymers are decreasing. Consumption patterns are thus increasingly changing towards bio-derived polymers. The development and processing of bio-based polymers, though still a niche market, have recently gained a crucial importance with Europe in a leading position in this area.
In order to promote the growth of a very important European collective, not only an innovative process to be developed in this project will provide a gentle means to remove moisture from temperature-sensitive hygroscopic polymers, avoiding partial degradation of the polymer, but also enable significant energy and time reduction in drying. Besides, transfer of the scientific findings and technological knowledge to the SME supply chain and end-users will be secured through establishment of a Best Practice Guidelines on Drying Methods for Hygroscopic Polymers.
Knowledge Transfer Mechanisms - HiPerDry
The figure summarises the knowledge transfer mechanism of HiPerDry and highlights the complementarity of the
participants to execute the project and subsequent exploitation and dissemination of the project results. The
HiPerDry consortium consists of twelve partners from six different EU27 states with complementary and
non-overlapping expertise that are able to deliver successfully deliver all of the interrelated aspects of
this project and to develop a novel microwave-enhanced superheated steam process for high performance drying
of hygroscopic polymers. It contains necessary skills, resources and capabilities from industrial
participants; five SME-AGs, two SMEs and one large enterprise, and four research institutions in the enabling
technologies (superheated steam drying, microwave technology, polymer processing, material science, and
integrated sustainability impact assessment) and the subsequent exploitation and dissemination, ensuring all
stages that sustainability (economic and environmental) is scientifically verified.
The partners in HiPerDry are among Europe's leading plastics industry associations: the Asosiación Española de Industriales de Plásticos (ANAIP) from Spain, the Italian Plastics and Rubber Processing Machinery and Moulds Manufacturers' Association (Assocomplast), the British Plastics Federation (BPF) from the UK, Plastipolis from France and the German Association of Plastics Converters (GKV) represented by TecPart. The consortium is furthermore supported by technology providers: Bierther GmbH (DE), a manufacturer of drying systems for polymer granules, and Faperin (ES), a producer of plastic parts for automotive and electrical applications. Heckmann Maschinenbau und Verfahrenstechnik GmbH (DE) completes the consortium as machinery and system integrator.