Vitenam Case Study

Inspection & Repair of Infant Formula Spray Dryers: Vietnam Case Study

Project: Inspection and Repair of 2 Large Infant Formula Spray Dryers (13m diameter x 20m high)

Location: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

In May 2023, Bioscan completed the inspection and repair of two of the largest infant formula spray dryers in South-East Asia in only a 5-day shutdown window.

Roof-inspectionAbove photo shows the inspection of the roof being performed

As the access into the dryers was extremely complex and Bioscan could not use their gantry platform, we decided that the best method would be using rope access. 3 Rope Access Technicians were deployed to the site and a 100% inspection was performed on each dryer, which lasted a total of 5 days. This included the setup and removal of the rope systems, inspection, repair and polishing of 10 defects.

Roof RepairAbove photo shows a repair in the roof being performed

The client had been previously required to use scaffolding for these dryer inspections, which required a total of 2 weeks. Bioscan was therefore able to significantly reduce the client’s shutdown time by almost 10 days, therefore allowing for substantial cost savings and huge increase in their productivity of infant formula. Also, without Bioscan needing to use scaffolding, there was no introduction of wooden materials into the dryer and the risk of damage from the scaffolding installation/removal was eliminated.

Cone InspectionAbove photo shows the inspection of the cone being performed

Utilising Bioscan’s expertise and electronic inspection technology, combined with rope access methods to locate all types of visual and non-visual defects, the client was extremely satisfied in knowing they could continue production of their high care infant formula products in safe conditions.

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Preventive Maintenance Inspection

Determining the Frequency of Preventative Maintenance Inspections

Reducing the frequency of preventative maintenance inspections of spray dryers and other vessels can often have a negative impact. Implementing a more frequent annual inspection routine gives companies numerous benefits such as;

Increased life span of assets, reduction of costs long term by discovering issues in their early stages, improves budgeting/planning strategies for major corrective actions, lowers overall operating costs, reduces cross contamination and product recall risks, increases productivity long term, improved reliability and customer confidence.

Case study

After completing a repeat inspection of a spray dryer for a client in January 2021, Bioscan’s findings resulted in the client facing major corrective actions. In total there was an area of 25cm x 3m in the upper chamber which required immediate attention. This area had developed severe stress corrosion cracking in the weld seams, which was unable to be repaired without the requirement of cutting out the parent metal and replacing it for new. The client had not planned for this amount of repair works to be performed during their 72-hour shutdown schedule.

Photos of the unrepairable stress corrosion defects found:


The client was now facing a lengthy shutdown period and extensive costs for the corrective actions. Costs that could have been either significantly reduced or eradicated altogether if a more frequent annual inspection programme had been implemented.

In addition, a further 50 cracks were identified in the 2021 inspection. During the previous inspection performed in 2016, a total of only 15 defects were found and repaired. Bioscan determined that as the client had decided upon an inspection frequency of 5 years for the spray dryer, the issues found in 2021 could have been resolved in their earlier stages or better planned for with an annual inspection.

This low-cost short term thinking towards inspections had led to very high costs and an increased shutdown to perform the required corrective actions, this in turn had a negative overall impact on the productivity of the plant.

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Detecting Hidden and Non Visual Defects

Detecting Hidden and Non-Visual Defects

All inspection methods (visual, cameras, robots, or dye) have their place in the food and beverage industry. But none are as effective at detecting hidden and non-visual defects as Bioscan’s electronic inspection technology.

A case study

In October 2020, Bioscan was contacted by a client who believed they had potential cross-contamination issues arising from a spray dryer. The client had already performed several internal visual and dye penetrant inspections to try and identify possible defects but were unsuccessful.

After setting up Bioscan’s access equipment, our expert inspection technicians began to locate areas of potential concern. They quickly established that in the lower cone of the spray dryer, there were many defects. These were faults that could only be identified by Bioscan’s electronic inspection device; they would not have been detected by visual, camera, robot, or dye penetrant methods.

The images below show two of the areas where Bioscan’s technicians discovered there was a serious concern, as audio and visual feedback from the electronic inspection device were consistent. However, no defects were currently visible to the eye, only the product residues covering the surface.

Image1 Casestudy Dhnvd

In total there were around 5m² of areas with potential defects, both in the spray dryer’s weld seams and the sheet metal itself. After discussing the situation with the client, Bioscan’s team then lightly polished these areas to reveal the extent of the damage. The images below show the extremely porous corrosion pitting and cracking, and the likely cause of the client’s cross-contamination issues.

Image2 Casestudy Dhnvd

Below are some microscopic images of these areas, to show the client the product residues building up inside the defects during production cycles.

Image3 Casestudy Dhnvd

Due to the extent of the damage that the corrosion pitting and cracking had caused to the parent material of the stainless steel, these areas were unrepairable. But the client now had the knowledge of where the likely cause of the cross-contamination was coming from and could plan ahead for the corrective actions.

Without Bioscan’s expertise and electronic inspection technology offering the ability to locate these hidden, non-visual defects beneath the surface of the product residues, the client would have continued to run the risk of producing their food products in unsafe conditions.

To find out more about our services and experience, you can explore our website or reach out to us at

Get in touch today to schedule an electronic inspection!

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