• Getting the Right Dryer for Your Industrial Air Compressor

    Working in an industrial setting requires a lot of energy to power all the heavy machinery needed to get the job done. One of the best forms of energy to power these tools is compressed air. When it comes to industrial setting, a large, industrial sized air compressor is the way to go to get the most power and efficiency for the most amount of tools at once.

    The way a compressed air machine works is by filling up a large tank with air, then compressing it down through smaller chambers and tubes, before finally being pushed out of the system via an attached hose. The problem with compressed air is that there is a lot of moisture and micro particles, such as dust and oils, in the air being compressed. It is important to remove this moisture from your system in order to keep it contaminant free and running at full capacity.

    In order to remove this unwanted moisture and liquid condensates in your industrial air compressor, you are going to need an air dryer, a device that is attached to the air compressor or built into the system itself that will keep moisture out of the pneumatic hoses.
    There are three basis types of dryers that are used in an industrial air compressor: refrigerated air dryers, desiccant dryers, and dehumidifying membrane dryers. While all three accomplish the same goal of removing moisture from the system, they each go about this in different ways.

    The most common type of air dryers today is the refrigerated dryer, which using a cooling method to reduce the temperature of the air, allow the water vapor in the machine to condense into a liquid form, and then have it easily drained away just outside the refrigeration chamber. The compressed air itself loses none of its power when it goes through the refrigerated chambers but the moistures are removed, making this not only a very efficient way of removing moisture, but also a safe and cost effective way.

    The oldest type of air dryers are the desiccant dryers, which utilize chambers with desiccants in them to absorb moisture directly from the air without changing its temperature. A desiccant is a small cloth bag containing silica gel which absorbs water at a very fast rate and also retains that water so it does not leak out of the system. The cleansing of this system is a simple matter of going into the desiccant chamber directly and physically removing the desiccants, and then replacing them with fresh ones. This is another highly effective and cost efficient process, just be sure to always take care of the desiccants in the system.

    The final type of air dryers is also the newest and uses a dehumidifier membrane at different stages of the compressed air process to remove all the liquid. This multiple step process is designed to filter out moisture and contaminants as they form in the compressed air system, and by running through several different levels of dehumidifiers, you can be assured that the compressed air in your pneumatic hoses will be moisture free.

    As with all industrial air compressor parts, preventative maintenance is the golden rule to follow, and choosing the right kind of dryer is up to you and what you want out of your industrial air compressor system. Check out a reputable, established air compressor dealer for more information on dryers.

  • Condensate Filters: Do You Need One?

    Condensate filters are not mandatory for the operation of an air compressor. However, discharge of condensate is often regulated by local municipalities. Condensate filters ensure that toxic contaminants are safely separated for easy management of condensate. The combination of oil and water that comprise condensate are difficult to dispose of safely if not filtered. Installing a condensate filter is the environmentally conscious and responsible thing to do.

    An air compressor works by using mechanical force to increase air pressure within a contained tank. As the air is compressed, it heats under pressure as it is introduced into the receiving tank. The initial heating will cause any water molecules in the air to vaporize, but the air cooling that occurs in the aftercooler and receiving tank will condense the vapor into a liquid. This is how water gets into the system. In addition to the ambient air moisture that is drawn into a compressor system at the air intake, the compressor's machinery also contributes to the condensate pool.

    The moving parts of an air compressor must be lubricated to ensure a long operating life with limited wear. Unfortunately, atomized amounts of the oils and lubricants used in air compressors find their way into the pressurized air of the system. As the air is circulated from the compression cylinder to the receiver and output, the condensate will collect in several low areas of the system because the water and oil molecules are heavier. Blowing the condensate out through a release valve will discharge atomized particles of contaminants that include abrasive solids, compressor lubricants, and condensed water droplets, and these substances can be acidic. Continual discharge of these contaminants can be bad for operators and the environment.

    A condensate filter is designed to separate the hazardous chemicals from the safe water for responsible disposal. The way this works is the filtration unit will usually attach to one of the compressor's existing blow-downs. The pressure of the air inside is used to push out water droplets and hazardous chemicals that are trapped inside the system. As the contaminants are introduced into the condensate filtration unit, they pass through a filter that will catch oils and hazardous debris while allowing water droplets to pass through. The end result is a container full of safe water that can be disposed in any drain. The filter is a consumable that must periodically be changed and properly disposed of by following hazardous material handling protocols. Condensate filters are effective in protecting operators while providing safe HAZMAT handling in an inexpensive manner.

  • Condensate Drains: Ways to Deal with Air Compressor Condensate

    Removing condensate is extremely important for maintaining the appropriate air quality level in air compressors. Condensate is the moisture that collects out of the air compressor as the air is cooled. It is crucial that this byproduct is removed from the compressed air system, due to the damage it could cause to the entire machine. Any moisture in the compressor system could lead to the growth of rust or mold in the compressor or piping. It could also damage equipment, tools or accessories connected to the compressor. Additionally, because it can be carried in the air flow, condensate may reach and ruin any products that are being manufactured. There are multiple ways to remove condensate.

    With manual operation, the operators manually open valves to discharge condensate. This method depends on people opening valves at the appropriate time for the necessary amount of time. It also leads to excess loss because air escapes when the valves are left open to drain the condensate.

    Level-operated mechanical float traps use a float connected by linkage to a drain valve that opens when an upper setting is reached and closes when the drain is emptied. This convenient method is best suited for a fully-attended powerhouse operation with scheduled maintenance. However, it is more prone to blockage from the condensate, as well as getting stuck in open and closed positions.

    Next, there are solenoid-operated drain valves that can be used to manage the condensate. These valves have timing devices that can be set to open for specific amounts of time at pre-set adjustable intervals. This is a very convenient method. These valves also require strainers to reduce contaminants. Contaminants could potentially block the inlet and discharge parts of these devices.

    Finally, zero-loss traps are considered to be one of the most reliable ways of getting rid of condensate. These traps have a float or level sensor that operates an electric solenoid or ball valve to maintain the condensate level in the reservoir below the high level point, or a float activates a pneumatic signal to an air cylinder to open a ball valve through a linkage to expel the condensate in the reservoir to the low level point. Basically, this method wastes no air and is very reliable.

    Obviously, there are many methods to deal with air compressor condensate. Removing condensate is a very important part of air compressor maintenance and upkeep. As long as you remove it, your compressed air system should stay in great shape!

  • Dealing with Condensation in Compressor Equipment

    Compressed air has many industrial applications. The use of compressor equipment can, however, create its own difficulties. One of the problems that the users of compressed air must deal with is condensation that occurs within the equipment.

    When air is compressed, contaminants within the air are concentrated, including water vapor. Condensation occurs when the elements that have been compressed cool as they travel away from the compressor. The end result can be freezing of the air lines, corrosion in the pipes and, ultimately, malfunctioning of the equipment. Additionally, moisture can reduce the effectiveness of lubrication that might be used within the equipment. There are a number of things operators of compressors can do to deal with this nuisance.

    To reduce condensation, the operator should always take drops off the top of main line, which will make for easier draining of the system. Main lines should always be pitched toward a drain or tank. Any valve that is used should be installed ahead of the drain, which will also enhance maintenance. The use of "drip legs" can be beneficial in collecting moisture that develops within air pipes, and should always be placed in the low points of an air line. They are also needed in pipes that run from outdoors into an indoor setting because of differences in the atmosphere, with a warmer ambient temperature and a higher relative humidity producing greater levels of condensation.

    Stainless steel is the best material for use in compressors that do not rely upon lubrication. Oil can actually reduce corrosion in compressor systems using traditional black iron pipes. However, when oil becomes contaminated with moisture, the substance is considered a hazardous material and requires proper disposal.

    A compressed air dryer is a piece of equipment that can be used to reduce condensation.
    Additionally, different types of drains are available to eliminate the moisture that appears. The manual drain is the basic type, although other drains are operated by floats or timers and will automatically eliminate condensation. An elaborate drain has an electronic sensor to evaluate the amount of condensation and remove it when needed.

    Operators of compressor equipment should never underestimate the possibility of condensation, and take the proper steps needed to reduce the risk.

  • Why a Pre-Owned Industrial Air Compressor Might Be Better

    Compressed air is a great tool to use on any job, from outdoor construction work to indoor factory utility, compressed air can power virtually any tool you need. In order to get enough compressed air for those large, heavy pieces of machinery, you are going to need an industrial size air compressor. When it comes to buying an industrial air compressor for your business, many people would immediately shy away from buying a pre-owned model, but there are a few benefits to purchasing a pre-owned air compressor over a brand new one.

    One of the first, and probably most obvious, benefits of buying a pre-owned industrial air compressor over a brand new model is the cost of the unit itself. Brand new models can be quite pricey, and start-up businesses such as machine shops or even auto garages might not have the cash lying around to spring for a shiny new air compressor.

    A pre-owned air compressor system will carry the power and reliability of a large, industrial scale model but often at the cost of a smaller, more personal model. Not only does this save your business a good deal of money, but you get the same amount of power as if you sprang for that brand new model.

    It is a common misconception that just because a product is labeled “used” or “pre-owned” that it is automatically considered lesser quality. When it comes to industrial air compressor units, this is most certainly not the case. A worn out industrial air compressor will have notcable signs of wear, so these units should be avoided. However, most unites will not only run smoothly and efficiently, but if proper maintenance was taken on the unit, it will run as if it were brand new.

    Another selling point to buying a pre-owned air compressor unit is that often times the seller will still have the warranty in place on the unit, adding peace of mind when buying such a big piece of machinery. If, for whatever reason, the unit should break down, the warranty will cover any repair costs, so you do not have to worry about sinking a lot of money into a pre-owned machine.

    An industrial sized air compressor is not a deliate piece of equipment, and as such, it is hard to break it down to the point where it is completely useless. With this in mind, plus knowing about the warranty, history of the machine, and any wear and tear on it, will give you a better understanding of what you are getting when you buy a pre-owned model. This purchase can be the best investment you could make for your business, so be sure to be diligent when it comes to buying your industrial air compressor.