Dry air is important for an effective and
efficient compressed air system. All atmospheric air contains some level of
moisture. As air is compressed, the moisture molecules no longer have room to
exist mixed with the air. They have to go somewhere else instead. Without
proper treatment, that moisture ends up in your system!
Common symptoms of moisture-riddled systems:
For many years moisture in a system was simply accepted as a nuisance of using a compressor. Mechanical problems inevitable arose and maintenance departments continued to live with them. Regularly draining out condensate from compressors was a standard part of compressor operation. However, this solution failed to improve the general efficiency of the compressor and systems with moisture continue to exhibit a variety of problems.
Most commonly, precipitated moisture dilutes a machine’s lubrication. Less lubrication leads to greater wear and tear in the machine. As the parts grind together more harshly, the chance of failure increases. On the whole, the machine has a shorter lifespan. Parts failures lead to shutdowns, production loss, and unplanned downtime, which costs money and creates unpleasant conditions.
Users of undried air also may experience rust and corrosion inside production machines. Not only does this buildup have an immediate effect on the system, but also it can carry downline and cause more problems for production. If temperatures lower enough, the moisture buildup could even freeze, blocking the systems and potentially causing leaks.
Not only will moisture damage the mechanical elements of a system, but it can be very harmful to the process’s products as well. Moist conditions are ripe for bacteria growth. The system’s swift-moving air can easily sweep up the small bacteria. These and other contaminants are damaging to many products, but can have especially devastating results in processes concerning food & beverage or medical applications. Even in less sensitive capacities, poor air quality has negative effects. For instance, paint often loses its adherence and finishing properties if applied using a moisture-riddled compressed air. Knitting machines begin to stick with traces of oil or water vapor and moisture can damage fabric if damp air is used to blow off lint. In general, if the air being used is not high quality, the end product probably won’t be either.
Moisture in a compressed air system can
compromise air quality, limit operational abilities, and contribute to
long-term equipment damage.
Choosing the right drying method:
Luckily with some simple adjustments and regular
maintenance incorporation, you can prevent the devasting damage of air
The best approach when addressing compressed air moisture is to talk to a system engineer. Someone who understands the components both of your particular process and the operating conditions of various equipment options. CASCO USA has a team of engineers ready to work through your set-up with you. Also, our online resources strive to educate on which air treatment methods are best for your system.
Every process can tolerate different levels of the moisture. To design the most accurate setup, knowing the particular needs of the system are important. Think about how dry the system needs to be. A good way of measuring this quality is by knowing the pressure dew point (PDP). PDP describes the water content in the air. Often it signifies how much moisture a particular system can tolerate. Other important considerations are ambient temperature an inlet temperature. Higher temperatures can generally tolerate more moisture than lower temperature, but it takes more energy to dry systems out in these conditions. Knowing what the typical temperature range is and any common seasonality are important for design purposes.
With all this information in tow, you can work to
decide the absolute best match for what your system needs.
How to dry compressed air:
Many options exist to dry compressed air. For
applications that can tolerate more moisture, an air receiver tank and water
separator may be sufficient. These devices work by cooling air to ambient after
its been heated in the pump. Temperature plays a large role in the success of
this drying method and often additional equipment is needed.
Adding an air dryer to the system could be the final step in reducing moisture. Refrigerated air dryers cool compressed air after it comes out of the compressor. As the air cools, it can contain less moisture. Some applications may be better suited for a desiccant dryer. The desiccant beads inside the dryer absorb the remaining moisture. Applications requiring high levels of dryness generally need a desiccant dryer. Read more about the different types of air dryers.
Regardless of which drying method you use, the purpose is to remove the moisture before it can move downline. Choosing a reliable air dryer helps to make sure the rest of the system runs correctly. The experts at CASCO USA are ready to improve your system. All you need to do is reach out!
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