The last home I purchased had an all-seasons room, but the sellers told me the air conditioner that controlled the room temperature wasn’t working. When I moved in and tested the unit, the sellers were correct that it did not run. I started breaking it down and thought that maybe it could use a good cleaning. During this I found the filter, black and covered with pet fur. It was a washable filter so I cleaned it and let it air dry as I continued to clean remaining areas of the unit. When I put the filter back in and tried running the unit it was a miracle, it was running and producing cool air. I did nothing other than clean and clear the filter, no replacement parts, no tweaking and no repairmen.
I tell this story to many people now as it also relates to appliances, cars, lawn mowers and now I emphasize filters for compressed air systems. Using auto drain filters and oil removal filters is imperative to keeping your air clean before it gets to your tooling and equipment. Keeping water condensate and particulates contained to your filters is critical to the operation and life of your tooling and equipment. Older compressed air lines can begin to rust or corrode inside, creating scale which can jam and cause inefficiencies. Sediment and other contaminants will build up and could cause damage to your compressed air systems.
EXAIR carries multiple sizes and types of compressed air filters available from stock. Our Particulate and Coalescing filters can be found in our catalog and online (use the link above). If you have an application and need help selecting and sizing the right filter for your needs please contact one of our application engineers by calling 800.903.9247.
I read a white paper from Parker Hannifin about compressed air filters. The idea behind the paper was to remember your filter replacements. Compressed air can be dirty with water, oil, pipe scale, etc. As the filters capture the contamination, it will start to build pressure drop. Remember, pressure drop is a waste of energy in your compressed air system.
Majority of EXAIR products use compressed air for cleaning, cooling, conveying, static elimination, coating and more. To help keep them running efficiently, it is important to supply them with clean, dry, pressurized air. EXAIR offers a line of Filter Separators and Oil Removal Filters to supply quality air to your equipment. In this blog, I will explain the two types of filters that we carry and the maintenance requirements. Filters and preventative measures can play an important part in your compressed air system.
Filter Separators are used to remove bulk liquid and contamination from the compressed air stream. They utilize a 5-micron filter with a mechanical separation to help remove large amounts of dirt and water. This type of filter would be considered the minimum requirement for filtration. Most of the Filter Separators come with an auto-drain to automatically dispense the collection of oil and water. EXAIR offers a variety of port sizes and flow ranges to meet your pneumatic flow requirement. For maintenance, the filter elements should be changed once a year or when the pressure drop reaches 10 PSID (0.7 bar), whichever comes first. I created a list in Table 1 below showing the correct replacement element kits for each model number. And for any reason, if the bowl or internal components get damaged, we also have Rebuild Kits as well. Just remember, the air quality is very important for longevity and functionality of your pneumatic systems and even for EXAIR products.
The Oil Removal Filters can make your compressed air even cleaner. They work great at removing very small particles of dirt and oil. They are made from glass fibers and can remove particles down to 0.03 micron. They are designed to collect small particles and to coalesce the liquid particles into a large droplet for gravity to remove. Because of the fine matrix, Oil Removal Filters are not great for bulk separation. If you have a system with lots of oil and water, I would recommend to use the Filter Separator upstream of the Oil Removal Filter. As with the Filter Separator, the filter element should be changed once a year or at a pressure drop of 10 PSID (0.7 bar). EXAIR also offers a variety of port sizes and flow ranges. Table 1 below shows the replacement Element Kits as well as the Rebuild Kits. If the application requires very clean compressed air, the Oil Removal Filter should be used.
By using EXAIR filters, they will clean your compressed air to prevent contamination on parts, performance issues, and premature failures. As an ounce of prevention, you should add the replacement elements in stock and enter them in your preventative maintenance program. With quality air, your pneumatic system and EXAIR products will provide you with effective, long-lasting performance without any maintenance downtime. If you would like to discuss the correct type of filters to use in your application, you can speak with an Application Engineer. We will be happy to help you.
The first time I ever bought a brand new car was in 1995…it was a Ford Escort Wagon. My plan was to pay it off quick and run the tires off it. Well, I DID actually put new tires on it several times over the 11 years and 200,000 miles I had it. But, aside from fuel & tires, that car cost me less than $2,000 in repairs over all that time…an achievement that my mechanic said was due largely to the aforementioned planned maintenance, which largely consisted of regular oil changes, which, of course, included a new oil filter, every 3,000 miles. For the record, I didn’t run the wheels off it; I sold it when I took a job that included a company vehicle. Also for the record, I found out the fellow I sold my car to was still driving it after I left that job (and company vehicle.) He, too, believed in regular oil changes, and he might still have that 1995 Escort on the road for all I know.
So, yeah, I’m a big believer in the importance of fluid filtration. If you’re a regular reader of the EXAIR Blog page, you likely are too. The two main culprits that cause the most problems in a compressed air system are solid particulates and water. These are easily addressed with a Filter Separator, like EXAIR Model 9004 Automatic Drain Filter Separator. It has a 5 micron particulate element, and a centrifugal element that imparts a spinning motion to the air flow. Since water is denser than air, any droplets of moisture are “flung” to the inside wall of the bowl, while the moisture-free air continues on through the discharge.
Another common impurity in compressed air is oil. Since oil-less compressors came along, this is easy to eliminate at the source…literally. However, for other types of compressors (piston types in particular,) as they age, the oil that lubricates the moving parts can seep by the piston rings and get to the air side. Oil doesn’t carry the same wear and corrosion problems that dirt & water do, but it causes particular problems in air conveyance and blow off applications: anything in your air is going to get on your product. Ask any paint booth operator, for example, what happens when a metal surface hasn’t been cleaned of all traces of oil. It really does look a “fish eye.”
The most common type of oil removal filter uses a coalescing element. Oil entrained in pressurized gas flow isn’t as dense as water – so centrifugal elements won’t remove it – and it tends to act like particulate…but very fine particulate – so typical sintered particulate elements won’t remove it. Coalescing elements, however, are made of a tight fiber mesh. This not only catches any trace of oil in the air flow, but also much finer particulate than those sintered elements. EXAIR Oil Removal Filters, like the Model 9027 shown below, provide additional particulate filtration to 0.03 microns. That’s some pretty clean air.
For best results, we recommend both the Filter Separator and Oil Removal Filter. Make sure you install the Filter Separator upstream of the Oil Removal Filter…that way, its 5 micron element catches all the “big” particles that would quickly clog the very fine coalescing element, necessitating an element replacement. In fact, this arrangement will allow the Oil Removal Filter to operate darn near indefinitely, maintenance free.
If you have questions about keeping your compressed air clean, moisture free, and oil free, give me a call.
Russ Bowman Application Engineer EXAIR Corporation Visit us on the Web Follow me on Twitter Like us on Facebook
EXAIR’s Intelligent Compressed Air Products have no moving parts and require no maintenance. Most EXAIR products require no direct maintenance, and will continue to require no maintenance if the supplied air is clean. Keeping air clean, in EXAIR’s case, can be done with a simple water/dirt or oil filter separator close to the application of the product – usually within 10 feet. The reason for the filters is that many products have very tight orifices that could get clogged from contaminants such as particulate, condensate, and lubricant.
Oil is commonly present in a compressed air supply, whether that’s intentional or not. Many air compressors are lubricated by a constant supply of oil, inevitably some of this oil ends up in the air supply. As the compressor wears, more oil is permitted to pass and ends up in the distribution system. While this is kept to a minimum with proper maintenance, it is impossible to prevent unless using an oil-free compressor.
Sometimes oil is present in the air supply intentionally. Many pneumatic devices require a precise amount of oil to keep the internal moving parts lubricated. In the case of EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Products, we recommend particulate-free, moisture-free, and oil-free air.
EXAIR offers a line of Oil Removal Filters. These coalescing style filters are used to remove very fine water vapor as well as any residual oil. These filters are highly recommended to be installed just prior to dryers that contain a media that would be compromised by lubricant passing through it. Coalescing filters utilize an element typically made up of glass fibers that “coalesce”, or combine, the fine water vapor and oil aerosols until the droplet size becomes large enough that it drops off into the filter bowl. With a coalescing filter, the most common cause of pressure drop increase is due to particulate clogging the element. Because of this, a particulate filter should always be installed just prior to coalescing filters. Check out this video demonstrating an Auto-Drain Filter and Oil-Removal Filter in action:
Without filtration, oil in the air supply will pass through the point of use device and into your product or process. The elimination of this problem is such a simple solution. Don’t neglect your compressed air system and ensure you’re delivering clean, dry, oil-free air to all of your EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Products.