Spray Drying in Food Manufacturing


Spray drying is a unique liquid-to-powder process that requires both skill and attention to detail. At its core, it involves an initial ingredient conversion through specialized chemical reactions and processing. This liquid is then dried into a custom food-grade powder through water evaporation. PacMoore has developed a deep understanding of this technology and through it, are able to offer highly customized outputs based on your specifications.

The Spray Drying Process

How does this process work? Here is a general breakdown of the contract spray drying process:

  • Develop a customized liquid in-feed. The chemical reactions and processes that take place in liquid batching prior to your product hitting the dryer is where much of the magic happens. Our team will help you perfect your formulation to achieve the particle size, texture and flavor characteristics you require.
  • Next comes atomization. During this stage, the liquid is fed into the dryer, where a rotary atomizer spins rapidly, dispersing the product into small liquid droplets. The rotational velocity allows us to control particle size.
  • Third is drying. Hot air runs up the length of the dryer as the droplets fall, causing product moisture to evaporate quickly, converting the liquid into a powder. We can control moisture during this phase by fine-tuning the temperature of the heated air.
  • Last is recovery. After drying is complete, a bag filter or cyclone recovers the powder from the exhaust, which is then sent to be packaged.

From start to finish, PacMoore’s quality control efforts ensure your product perfectly hits your specifications, while meeting all food safety standards.


From moisture levels to particle size, color, pH and more, each product run on our lines are vastly different from each other and require unique processing parameters. Our GEA designed full-scale and pilot spray dryers are capable of handling a wide range of inputs while still maintaining efficiency. The liquid blend that you send us or that we can create for you is fed into the system and atomized using a rotary atomizer on our production system or via a nozzle on the pilot dryer. A primary cyclone collects and discharges powder that is passed over a sifter and magnet before packaging. Our production spray dryer has a nominal water evaporative capacity of up to 3,000 pounds per hour with a 400°F inlet temperature and a maximum temperature of 500°F. After completion, our Clean-In-Place (CIP) system and trained operators thoroughly clean the system for the next scheduled production.

For product development projects where yield is crucial, PacMoore’s GEA (FSD™) 4.0 pilot spray dryer handles smaller batches effectively. The system has a nominal water evaporative capacity of approximately 30 pounds per hour, making it easy to cost-effectively validate products before producing large batches on our full-scale system. Whether you’re early in product development or producing for grocery shelves, PacMoore has the ability to scale to meet the demand.


The consistent nature of particle size produced by spray drying is one of the reasons it is so widely employed. However, there may be situations in which you would want larger or smaller particles. In these cases, you are able to control atomization via various nozzle sizes. Other variables include raising the concentration of the feed solution.


In most circumstances, spray drying is a quicker process than freeze drying as it does not require chilling the product first. The process of freeze drying, also known as lyophilization, requires rapid refrigeration of the material until it is frozen. It is then placed under a vacuum, heat is applied, and water is removed via sublimation, bypassing the melting phase.

In spray drying, the product goes directly from liquid to powder via the application of heat after the liquid has been atomized. Therefore, this method usually is cheaper, faster and produces a higher output, yet can only be used in powder applications. Freeze Drying can be applied to many additional food categories.


The contract spray drying process is ideal for applications within the food industry and others including:

  • Food
  • Beverage
  • Ingredients
  • Pharmaceuticals & Excipients
  • Flavors
  • Extracts, colorings and other products


As an expert spray drying company, the PacMoore team knows the spray drying process inside and out through years of producing for some of the nation’s top food manufacturers. Contact us today to learn more about our contract spray drying services and how PacMoore can help you meet your goals.

Key equipment breakdown:

  • Full scale GEA 18” Diameter spray dryer
    • Evaporation capacity of roughly 3000lbs/hr of water
    • Single fan system, one chamber, one cyclone, one baghouse
    • Agitated liquid storage tank – 9,000 gallons
    • Reaction liquid blending tanks – 900 gallons
    • Heat exchanger
    • Breddo liquefier
    • 2 stage high pressure homogenizer
    • VFD rotary atomizer
    • CIP system
  • Pilot GEA Niro FSD 4.0 spray dryer
    • Evaporation Capacity: Roughly 30lbs/hr
    • Two fan system, one chamber, one cyclone, one baghouse
    • Bi-Fluid Spray Nozzle
      • 4 sizes available (1.0 mm, 1.3 mm, 1.6 mm, 2.0 mm)
      • Additional sizes can be purchased upon need
    • Fluid bed for one-step agglomeration

More Information:

Download our Spray Drying Sell Sheet or the Buyer’s Guide to Spray Drying here.

Food Processing Capabilities