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Seed Drying Equipment

CFW produces seed drying equipment designed to maximise the life of seeds for viability and usability. CFW is a well-established industry leader in dryers and fans, and supplies products and services to a wide variety of customers who rely on economical production in adverse conditions. Both batch and continuous drying equipment is available.

Many fynbos plants can be dried, considerably extending their life. Ornamental fynbos that can be dried includes most proteas, as well as Leucadendron cones. The fact that dried proteas retain their shape enhances their value as a viable commercial flower plant, and a substantial proportion of production consists of dried cut flowers for export. Large fluctuations in market demand occur as fashions change in South Africa and overseas, leading to annual cha

Seed drying helps to ensure a long shelf life for seeds by preventing fungal growth and premature germination. The appropriate moisture content is the single most important factor contributing to seed longevity. Excessively high moisture produces conditions suitable for the breeding of harmful insects such as weevils, mould growth and increased seed respiration which can raise temperatures (sometimes high enough to cause a fire).

The drying technique influences the quality of the final product considerably. Drying seeds by direct sunlight can harm viability, especially in the case of dark seeds, because the temperature is difficult to control. Slow drying can lead to fungal infestation.

Ceiling fan ventilation combined with air conditioning is the safer option for seed drying and is quick too. Accurate airflow and balanced air exchange is important to ensure consistent drying. Hot air drying can also be used, but care must be taken to avoid excessively high temperatures that can lead to case hardening. This occurs when the surface dries out quickly, leading to inadequate drying of the core and possible misleading results from moisture content testing that measure mainly the surface. When the moisture subsequently redistributes itself across the seed, seed will be subject to all the same decay processes that drying is designed to avoid. The use of relatively low temperatures also reduces safety risks.

A number of heated-air drying designs are used. In general, more fans, or fans with more powerful motors, are needed for continuous drying systems than for batch systems. Once seeds have been dried, continued airflow without heating may be applied to cool the seeds while preventing condensation.

nges in the choice of species. Peak demand is seasonal, but reliable.

Various air drying techniques, such as forced-air drying and dehumidification, can be used to speed up the drying process. A common technique for small-scale operations is to dry flowers in dark rooms with fans to circulate the air over the flowers. Darkness helps to preserve the colour, which normally lightens considerably. Faster drying through the use of fans and desiccant dehumidifiers also contributes to preserving colour, reduces the risk of damage from microorganisms and fungi, and makes it possible to put the product on the market sooner.

Larger operations use industrial dryers, often similar to those used for grain drying, to dehydrate both ordinary dried flowers and for flowers preserved with glycerine, sometimes twice if the flowers are treated to colour them. The dryers are temperature-controlled to maintain temperatures of about 15-24 °C, with fans or to remove air moisture. To ensure even temperatures and prevent deformation and product losses, the air circulation must be as even as possible. Fan selection and sizing undertaken by drying professionals has the best chance of creating the optimal drying environment.

Contact Us

Address

Cape Town, South Africa (HQ)

3 Parin Road, Parow Industria, 7500, Western Cape

Johannesburg, South Africa

4 Chilworth Road, Founders View North, Modderfontein, Edenvale, 1645, Gauteng

Phone

Cape Town, South Africa (HQ)

T +27 (0)21 931 8331
F +27 (0)21 931 3165

Johannesburg, South Africa

T +27 (0)11 452 5830 / 5146
F +27 (0)11 452 5132

Email

Cape Town, South Africa (HQ)

environmental@cfw.co.za

 Johannesburg, South Africa

environmentaljhb@cfw.co.za

Mailing address:

P.O. Box 1542, Parow, 7499, South Africa

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