Imagine you’re enjoying a nice shower. A cascade of warm water is soothing your body – and spirit – then, someone starts the dishwasher. Or a load of laundry. Or flushes the toilet. Suddenly, the “soothe” turns to “scald” or “freeze,” depending on whether you’ve been robbed of hot, or cold water. So, what happened?
What happened is, all of those “loads” on your house’s water supply that can ruin your shower experience are controlled by simple on/off valves…they open to permit a certain amount of water FLOW to pass. When the dishwasher starts, or someone decides to wash a load of whites, the HOT water from your nice warm shower is diverted, leaving a stream of cold water. When a toilet flushes, or it’s a load of colors, the COLD water is diverted…and that’s not just unpleasant, but downright painful. Either way, (in my house anyway,) a teenager is getting read the riot act.
The same phenomenon can apply in a compressed air system, if simple flow control valves are used to throttle the appropriate supply of air to a pneumatic device. If someone, for example, hooks up an air gun to blow off their tools or parts, the valves on EVERYTHING else will need to be opened up some to keep those devices working the same. In the case of an air gun like this, it usually happens too quick to make the necessary adjustments (by hand) and you’re probably left with a machine tripped off-line, or a ruined part.
Pressure Regulators can prevent this by keeping (or regulating) their downstream pressure to a set value. If a load elsewhere in the system is activated, the Pressure Regulator opens up, automatically, to keep its output constant. When that load is secured, the Pressure Regulator closes back down accordingly. Either way, no single load affects the operation of any others.
That’s only half the value of the use of Pressure Regulators, though. The other half is, well…the value. Just looking at a typical function of many EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Products – blow off – they’ll all pretty much accomplish the task if you run them, unrestricted, straight off your header. That’ll give you a good, strong blast of air flow…and it may be more than what’s required, and a waste of good air. Pressure Regulators will prevent this by allowing you to “dial in” the supply pressure to whatever it takes to get the job done, and no more.
Compressed air isn’t free. Heck, it isn’t even cheap. Don’t use any more than you have to, and get the most out of what you do use. Pressure Regulators are one important step in doing this. If you’d like to talk about optimizing your use of your compressed air system, give me a call.