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INTRODUCTION water from some other mater-

What your microwave oven ial-in this case, yarn pack-


did for your kitchen, radio-fre- ages. In the same way that a
quency drying can do for your microwave oven cooks food
process. Radio-frequency by heating the water mole-
(RF) drying is increasing in cules in the food, radio waves
popularity in the textile indus- dry a yarn package by heating
try because it is fast, effec- the water molecules within the
tive, and economical. package. Radio waves do not
This bulletin will review the significantly heat the yarn
benefits of using RF to dry molecules in the package, so
yarn packages. RF dryers can the yarn cannot be overdried
also dry most other textile as easily as with conventional
products, including loose convective heating. The rate
stock, hanks, muffs, cones, of RF drying depends on
tops, bumps, tubular knits, moisture content, which
and hosiery. means that the wettest areas
dry faster than less wet areas,
WHAT IS RADIO- resulting in uniform final mois-
FREQUENCY DRYING? ture content.
The package drying pro-
Radio-frequency drying cess benefits in a number of
uses radio waves to evaporate ways from the fact that the ra-
dio waves act mainly on water
molecules.

BENEFITS OF
RF PACKAGE DRYING
Quality
RF drying results in excel-
lent shade and hand. With
conventional forced-air drying,
the outside of the package is
often overdried, resulting in
color streaks and a harsh
hand. Forced-air drying can
also distort package shapes.
With radio-frequency drying,
energy is concentrated on the
wettest parts of the package tend to "catch up" to the
so the outsideof the package packages that started out less
does not overdry. Steam es- wet. (However, drastic differ-
caping from the inside of the ences in moisture levels can-
package swells the fibers, im- not be corrected in an RF
proving the hand. Because no dryer.)
air is forced into the pack- Figure 1 shows the differ-
ages, they retain their shape. ence in drying characteristics
between convective and RF
drying. The convective drying
With conventional drying rate is linear over the initial
methods, it is difficult to drying period while the RF
achieve a uniform moisture curve asymptotically ap-
content in and among pack- proaches zero moisture as
ages. In an RF dryer, final drying proceeds. In other
moisture content within a words, the wetter the pack-
package can be controlled age, the faster the rate of
within plus or minus one per- drying.
cent after hydro-extraction '.
Also, packages of different Just-in-Time Processing
moisture content can be dried One company decreased
at the same time in an RF batch time for drying rayon 20
dryer. Because the wettest hours by installing a radio-fre-
packages dry fastest, they will quency dryer. Previously, the
process called for yarn pack-
ages to be hydro-extracted
Drying Time of Package Dryers down to a moisture content of
65 percent and then loaded
Drying Time in Minutedlb Poly-Cotton onto large metal pin frames
0.16 I I and rolled into steam-heated
0.1 4 ovens. The packages were
baked for 32 hours to reduce
0.12 the moisture content to ap-
proximately 10 percent.
0.1 Now the baking time has
0.08 been reduced 11 hours, to ob-
tain a moisture content of 20
0.06 percent. After baking, the
0.04 packages spend 45 minutes
in the RF dryer to redude the
0.02 moisture content to 8 percent,
0 at a rate of 1650 pounds of
120kW Thies "S" Avesta Port yarn per hour.
RF Dryer As seen in Figure 2, radio
waves dry packages faster
than a variety of other dryers.
For customers processing
'i
!small lots, RF dryers save prevent access to potentially
even more time because lots dangerous places in the dryer
with different colors can be where the high intensity field
dried together. between electrodes could
burn flesh. Radio waves do
VersatiIity not produce any long-term
RF dryers can successfully changes in the-tGman body.
dry a wide variety of
shades- from pastel to dark. Low Production Costs
They can also dry a wide vari- When RF drying is pre-
ety of fibers, including nylon, ceded by centrifugal extrac-
acrylic, cotton, spandex, rub- tion, drying costs are compa-
ber (in elastic bands) and rable to pressure dryers and
blends. Also, wet shipments of cheaper than port dryers and
yarn can be dried on the cone oven dryers. A study by the
in an RF dryer without having Instit ute of Textile Technology
to be rewound. reported that at $3.50 per
1000 pounds steam and
Good Working Conditions $0.05 per kilowatt-hour, the
RF dryers give off no fumes energy cost to dry 50/50 PO-
or gases, little noise, and are lyesterkotton yarn packages
xcoolto the touch. Steam from was $0.036 per pound of yarn
the processed goods is in a port dryer, $0.019 per
vented outside the plant, so it pound of yarn in a Avesta
does not affect indoor air tem-
perature. Conventional con-
vective heaters produce emis-
sions when dyes and other
Energy Cost of Package Dryers
chemicals are heated while Energy Cost in Dollars/lb Poly-Cotton
the packages are drying; be- 0.04
cause radio waves heat only
the water, these emissions are
reduced in a radio-frequency 0.03
dryer. Furthermore, because
air is not forced into the pack-
ages, the working environment
is kept clean of lint.
0.02

Operator Safety 0.01


RF dryers are as safe or
safer than conventional dryers.
Special shields on the ma- 0
chine keep the operator from RF Dryer Thies 'IS" Avesta Port
being exposed to harmful lev-
els of radio frequency. Safety
devices built into the dryer
dryer, $0.0113 per pound of SUPPLEMENTARY
yarn in a Thies Type Sdryer, RESOURCES
and $0.008 per pound of yarn Anon., Dielectric Heating for In-
in an RF dryer. Figure 3 dustrial Processes, The Electric-
shows this comparison of var- ity Council, Capenhurst, Eng-
ious yarn package dryers. De- land, Publication EC444413.83.
pending on the operation and Burkinshaw, S.M. and Marshall,
layout of the RF dryer, it may v\I:J., Continuous Dyeing of
require extra labor cost when Piece Goods Using Radio Fre-
used in tandem with a centri- quency Heating, Part 2-Migra-
fuge. tion Induced During Dyeing,
Journal of Society of Dyers and
Low Maintenance Costs Colorists, vol. 702, pp. 336-347,
November 1986.
RF dryers require much
less maintenance than con- Duckworth, C., Engineering in
ventional dryers. Less than Textile Coloration, Dyers Com-
two hours per week is enough pany Publications Trust, Brad-
ford, England, 7983.
for cleaning the filters and
checking the cooling system.
Conventional systems require
an average of more than four
hours of maintenance per
week.
SUMMARY
Radio-frequency drying is a
fast, effective, and economical
way to dry yarn packages. It
has a number of process and
quality benefits because it
heats only water, not yarn. In
addition to improving and
speeding up the process, it is
safe, clean, and versatile.
REFERENCES
Holland, J.M., Application of
Radio Frequency Dryers in the
Textile Industry, Textil-praxis In-
ternational, vol. 40, no. 6, pp.
xiii-xv and 640-650, June 7985.
Dawson, C.H., Economic
Aspects of Yarn Package
Drying, Global Trend in Dyeing
Science and Technology, AATCC
Conference Book of Papers, pp.
69-74, June 7-8, 7989.