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Author Topic: Vacutherm iDry input  (Read 23093 times)

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Offline schwanee

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Vacutherm iDry input
« on: August 04, 2018, 07:41:26 PM »
Curious if any of yíall have purchased or have any experience with vacutherm a new iDry vacuum kiln?

I am considering the purchase of one and would love to hear what anyone thinks about it.

From what I can tell there would be many positives for me:
-compared to other vacuum kilns the price is great! (Starting at $40k)
-fast drying times (they state 1Ē per week from green)
-I donít need a high volume kiln, I just want to be able to dry in a matter of weeks and not years. (Vacutherm States 1-2000 BF per load)

Just as background info, I mill mostly  hardwood live edge slabs for retail and custom projects of my own.

Thank you ladies and gents for any information.

Offline Southside

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Re: Vacutherm iDry input
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2018, 10:26:30 PM »
Have not heard of them, but from the research I did last year I would be leery of quality and longevity at that price point. The controllers and components of a vac kiln are not cheap.
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Offline schwanee

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Re: Vacutherm iDry input
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2018, 10:56:05 PM »
Thanks south side. Itís a new model they have so there is not much out there that I can find. It is a discontinuous vacuum kiln.

Offline GeneWengert-WoodDoc

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Re: Vacutherm iDry input
« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2018, 07:42:39 AM »
I have worked on drying oak with the Vacu-Therm kiln process and equipment for 30 years with Jim Parker and then with his son.  Jim and I both enjoyed flying airplanes.  I have found their advertisements to be technically accurate.  Their intermittent vacuum process does indeed work well and seems to be economically reasonable too.  I have one client using a new kiln from them and he likes it...I am not sure if it the same model you asked about.

Regarding the capital cost, assume 1500 bf average per load and 50 loads per year and 10 year amortization of the $40,000 cost.  That is 75,000 bf per year or around $40,000 / (75,000 x 10). = $4/75 = $0.05 per bf capital cost...reasonable.
Gene - Author of articles in Sawmill & Woodlot and books: Drying Hardwood Lumber; VA Tech Solar Kiln; Sawing Edging & Trimming Hardwood Lumber. And more

Offline WDH

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Re: Vacutherm iDry input
« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2018, 09:50:53 PM »
A member here just bought one last week.  Has not been delivered yet. 
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Offline Glenn1

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Re: Vacutherm iDry input
« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2018, 09:49:50 PM »
I spoke with  Jim just last week.  The new IDry is a continuous unit and not a discontinuous kiln that they made in the past.  Their high end vacuum kiln works on 4" to 6" of mercury and this new unit works on 8" of mercury.  This means that some air is kept in the kiln so that you can sticker your boards and the air will dry the stack.  Their high end unit does not leave air in the system so it needs metal plates that radiate heat.  With this new system and using 8" of mercury, water will boil at 155 degrees.  They are just now starting to offer a 2" membrane that fits on top of the stack.  The air that is pumped out of the unit now goes into the membrane so that the stack gets 1800 psi downward pressure.  

The stack can be up to 13' x 42" (48") x 55" high.  They will be at the International Woodworking Show in Atlanta later this month.  As far as I know, it is the largest industrial woodworking show in the world.  If you have never been there, you will be amazed!
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Offline schwanee

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Re: Vacutherm iDry input
« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2018, 12:07:08 AM »
Thatís some great info that I havenít heard yet Glenn. Thanks!

Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Vacutherm iDry input
« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2018, 01:10:55 AM »
I know very little about vacuum kilns, but am fascinated by their use.  

Running quick numbers on this moderate vacuum kiln, itís equivalent to about 4 psi or about 32,000 feet altitude, approximate cruising altitude of a commercial aircraft.  

Power consumption is listed as 6kWh average.  With an average published 2018 electrical cost in Alabama of approximately .1259 $/kWh, that comes to 6000/1000*24*.1259= $18.13 per day or $543 per month or $6,516 per year in electricity costs.

It costs $1,500 for a 2 year service contract.  

My primary usage would be 2 inch and thicker, so at the website published 1 week per inch thickness I would need a minimum of 2 weeks, so would cost $543/2= $271 per load or 18 cents per bdft for a 1500 bdft load assuming my math and assumptions are correct. 

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Offline Crusarius

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Re: Vacutherm iDry input
« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2018, 08:45:24 AM »
you should get one so we can hear how it works :) Ever since I put some slabs into a vacuum chamber here at work I been wanting to do more with vacuum. Sure seems like a great way to dry slabs quickly and without damage.

Offline boardmaker

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Re: Vacutherm iDry input
« Reply #9 on: August 08, 2018, 09:12:18 AM »
I wonder if the 1 week per inch rule is with air dried wood or green?  
I think the price tag is reasonable.
Sure would like to hear feedback from some already in use.

Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Vacutherm iDry input
« Reply #10 on: August 08, 2018, 11:25:46 AM »
Please tell me more about you putting the wood in the vacuum chamber. Was it heated?  What happened?  
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Offline Crusarius

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Re: Vacutherm iDry input
« Reply #11 on: August 08, 2018, 12:01:25 PM »
I did 2 separate events.

First event: some 3/8" to 1/2" thick spalted maple slabs about 18-20" long. Left at ambient temperature and set to about 30k feet. When the slabs were placed in the chamber they were pretty dry on the ends and very wet in the center. I left them in the chamber for about 2 hours, maybe 3. Been a while my memory is foggy. 

What I noticed when I pulled them out was the center was visibly dry and felt dry as well. The ends that were dry before putting them into the chamber were now moist to the touch. of course this is all subjective since I did not have a moisture meter and I never thought about weighing the samples first. 

Second event: I placed 5 spalted maple cookies into the chamber. Cookies were 2-3" thick. Left it at ambient temp just added vacuum. I think I went to an equivalent of 30,000 feet. The reason for this was to kill the bugs in the wood.

What I did notice is when I put them in they felt wet to the touch. when they came out they felt dry. The chamber surfaces were all covered in condensation when I removed the cookies. Surprised how much water came out of them with only 8 hours in the chamber.

I need to do some more experimenting but after filling the chamber with water the one time I am a little leary to do it again. Next time I will weigh the samples and check them with my moisture meter. When I was playing around I thought the vacuum just sucked the water out of the wood. I did not realize everyone still adds heat to evaporate the water. I think just straight vacuum would be safer way to quickly dry wood.

Offline GeneWengert-WoodDoc

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Re: Vacutherm iDry input
« Reply #12 on: August 08, 2018, 05:45:58 PM »
YellowHammer.  I do believe the 6 kWh is for 2000bf.  The cost also would be slightly less for a two week run. So, we might have $130 per MBF for energy and $100 capital costs etc.  The price difference between green and KD for some species and grades of 8/4 is $500 per MBF and higher, so there is a good profit margin, but it is probably not there for pine 2x4s, although they would dry in 4 days perhaps and not 14, so that would drop the drying costs for them to around $100 per MBF.  

Two special considerations:  1) You can custom dry small quantities and probably get a premium price.  2) You can dry 12/4 oak in under 30 days.  Who can dry 12/4 oak conventionally in less than a year?  The cost of conventional drying of 12/4 oak is really high, if someone wants to take the risk...no less than $1000.
Gene - Author of articles in Sawmill & Woodlot and books: Drying Hardwood Lumber; VA Tech Solar Kiln; Sawing Edging & Trimming Hardwood Lumber. And more

Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Vacutherm iDry input
« Reply #13 on: August 08, 2018, 11:35:34 PM »
The thick wood is where I see this being very useful, drying wood that others canít, to set the market.  
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Offline japarker4

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Re: Vacutherm iDry input
« Reply #14 on: August 09, 2018, 12:01:46 PM »
Come see the iDRY running at the IWF Atlanta Tradeshow August 22nd - 25th.  I'll be there answering questions and drying wood.

We're kind of new to this forum, but I'll try to monitor it and answer any questions. 

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Offline KODAK

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Re: Vacutherm iDry input
« Reply #15 on: August 09, 2018, 12:52:49 PM »
The cost of conventional drying of 12/4 oak is really high, if someone wants to take the risk...no less than $1000.
Being new to this forum, could you expand on what you mean by that? $1000 to pay to have that size dried or the potential value in drying that load??

Offline Tom the Sawyer

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Re: Vacutherm iDry input
« Reply #16 on: August 09, 2018, 07:32:50 PM »
japarker4,

Welcome to the Forum, will be interesting to follow how your equipment performs.

You might want to get an SSL, or update the one you have.  Your link returns as an insecure site and is blocked in MS Edge.
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Offline GeneWengert-WoodDoc

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Re: Vacutherm iDry input
« Reply #17 on: August 09, 2018, 11:14:06 PM »
Air drying costs for 12/4 oak in a shed might be $0.60 per day per MBF...land, taxes, security, insurance, interest on inventory, etc.

Kiln drying is $20 per day...energy, operator salary, capital cost, maintenance, loading, profit.

Then there is stacking and moving.

12/4 is likely 365 days air drying and 50 days kiln drying.  Easily $1200.  Then add degrade, as likely 15% minimum quality loss.
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Re: Vacutherm iDry input
« Reply #18 on: August 21, 2018, 11:53:11 AM »
The thick wood is where I see this being very useful, drying wood that others canít, to set the market.  
I'm at the same place as you, and spoke with Jim a couple of months back about his new iDry system.
One thing that he commented was that thick oak would not see the same amount of accelerated drying rate with the iDry as other species (presumably due to the tyloses).  It would still dry faster, just not as fast.
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Re: Vacutherm iDry input
« Reply #19 on: August 21, 2018, 02:20:56 PM »
YH,  just go ahead and buy two.  I will run one in GA and you run one in AL and we can see if there is a difference. . . . . . . :D :D :D
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