In an industry first for coir production, investment in a state-of-the-art drying facility ensures the issues caused by a two-year long monsoon in Sri Lanka, can never happen again.

Sri Lanka is the world’s largest exporter of coir fibre products. Since the introduction of industrial coir manufacturing in the country in the 1900’s. Driving market growth is the rising demand for cocopeat (coir pith), which is being used across the globe as a natural and eco-friendly growing medium.

Monsoon season is ordinarily concentrated from September to November but in recent years, unprecedented rainfall has affected the whole coir industry. This is because coir pith is typically dried by natural sunlight, however, continuous rain meant that the coir was insufficiently dried – causing knock on effects for growers who use coir substrate to plant crops.

As a result, over 1 million US Dollars has been invested into the first ever completely automated coir drying facility to be produced, and to ensure that this situation will be avoided in future.

The new 30-metre-long drying facility is powered by a biomass boiler fuelled with wood chips from a renewable source.

After 12 months of dedicated research and development from manufacturers in Germany, the facility will dry the coir as it runs along a conveyer. The heat source from the biomass boiler powering it will go through a number of heat exchangers and, controlled by a number of sensors, six different types of heat will be applied at various stages, according to the moisture content of the raw material. The machine will only require one person to control it as it’s fully automated.

The drying facility will ensure more consistency of the coir fibre products and on-time delivery to customers, every time.