Novatec’s PowerSmart control system boosts efficiency

Sept. 16, 2019
A new optional control system from Novatec manages the energy used by the company’s central dryers.

A new optional control system from Novatec manages the energy used by the company’s central dryers.

PowerSmart automates much of the drying process based on data collected during drying. The system not only provides the user with data, such as the temperature and dew point in a hopper and dryer, but it also automatically adjusts the process to maximize efficiency. Power Smart goes beyond the condition monitoring and reporting normally associated with Industry 4.0, Novatec’s Mark Haynie said.

“It is a way of maintaining the properties of the resin, as well as optimizing the power [usage],” said Haynie, the company’s dryer product manager.

When coupled with other Novatec dryer features, such as Moisture Manager and OverDry Protection, PowerSmart can ensure resins are adequately dried without operator involvement.

OverDry Protection is a feature that monitors both the inlet and outlet temperatures of the hopper to ensure that moisture-sensitive materials do not get overdried by getting too much heat. Moisture Manager monitors the dew point in a hopper and can protect resins from being exposed to too much air with a low dew point, which can lead to overdrying.

Along with Moisture Manager and OverDry Protection, PowerSmart ensures resins are dry enough to avoid surface defects in the final product — but not too dry. Overdrying can cause parts that are made of certain resins, such as nylon, TPU and polybutylene terephthalate, to be brittle or inflexible. Accurate and automatic drying minimizes energy consumption and reduces energy bills.

PowerSmart monitors the material usage rate in the drying hoppers and then adjusts the machine’s energy use to match the actual moisture level, resin demand and inlet temperature.

In many cases, processors leave drying hoppers running even if there is no immediate demand to ensure the resin is ready for processing when it’s needed. Leaving hoppers running all the time can waste energy, but companies often are concerned that employees will forget to start the hoppers early enough to ensure resin is ready when needed. To deal with this problem, PowerSmart automatically puts the hopper into a sleep mode once the resin is dried. It reactivates the drying process when more resin is needed. In sleep mode, the hopper uses about as much energy as a 200-watt lightbulb, while maintaining the moisture level of already-dried resin.

Novatec reports several customers received significant rebates from power companies because of power savings resulting from their PowerSmart installations. A substantial portion of the cost of a new system is covered by these rebates.

“As more and more power companies begin to offer these rebates, rather than build new plants, this technology will continue to make major inroads into plastics processing,” Haynie said.

Bruce Geiselman, senior staff reporter

[email protected]


Novatec Inc.  Baltimore, 410-789-4811,

About the Author

Bruce Geiselman | Senior Staff Reporter

Senior Staff Reporter Bruce Geiselman covers extrusion, blow molding, additive manufacturing, automation and end markets including automotive and packaging. He also writes features, including In Other Words and Problem Solved, for Plastics Machinery & Manufacturing, Plastics Recycling and The Journal of Blow Molding. He has extensive experience in daily and magazine journalism.