If you need a deeper understanding about how EXAIR’s products can be applied and help your process or product, feel free to contact us and we will do our best to give you a clear understanding of the benefits when using our engineered compressed air products. We can also explain proper implementation of accessory items such as compressed air filters and regulators.
Recently I took a call from an existing customer that is questioning their Heavy Duty Line Vac Kit setup. They are experiencing around a 38 psig pressure drop from before the filter in the system to the inlet of the Line Vac. At first glance, they assumed this was due to the filter restricting the flow. They then posed the question, “Do I have to run this filter or can I take it out? I mean I already have a filter at my compressor.” The answer is yes, install the filter. It will keep dirt, scale and condensate from entering the Line Vac or other components downstream. In the case of a Line Vac, a filter will also prevent this unwanted debris from getting into the material being conveyed.
However, this is a great question, especially when assuming the filter is causing the pressure drop – but that was not the case for this application. So more questions were asked to our customer to determine what the root cause of the pressure drop could be. Seeing a pressure drop across a filter can be caused by several factors.
One would be an inappropriately sized filter. This can restrict the volumetric flow of air through to the point of use causing a pressure drop. All of the filters supplied with our product kits are auto-drain, have 5 micron filter elements and appropriately sized to operate the product at 80 psig inlet pressure so this was not the problem.
The next issue could be that the filter is clogged, this brought on another question. If you see more than a 5 psig pressure drop across a filter from EXAIR then we suggest changing out the filter element as it could be clogged and not permitting the full volumetric flow through. This installation was fairly new and a quick test without a filter element installed proved it was not the filter element that was clogged.
That brought us to the last variable, the length, size, and number/type of fittings between the filter and the Heavy Duty Line Vac. This length of pipe was more than 30′ in length and was only appropriately sized for a 10′ length or shorter run. The customer was using a 1/2″ Schedule 40 black iron pipe to feed a 2″ Heavy Duty Line Vac at 80 psig inlet pressure. The 2″ Heavy Duty Line Vac Kit will utilize 75 SCFM at 80 psig inlet pressure. That will need a 1/2″ Sched. 40 pipe that is 10′ long or less in order to not have friction loss within the feed pipe. Armed with this information the customer is researching whether or not the line needs to stay that long. If it does, they will have to re-plumb the system with a minimum of a 3/4″ Sched. 40 black iron pipe.
Luckily this was all able to be discussed within a few hours of time and the customer is on their way to an optimal supply system for their in-line conveyor. One brief phone call took this customer from lackluster performance and thinking a product was not going to work for what they need, to performing beyond their expectations, and being able to keep up with their production needs.
If you have a product or any part of your compressed air system that you question why it may be performing or not performing a certain way, please do not hesitate to reach out to our knowledgeable team of Application Engineers. We are always interested in finding a solution to your needs.
In this blog, I would like to turn your attention to our accessories that support our Intelligent Compressed Air® Products; the Filter Separator and the Oil Removing Filter. EXAIR products use compressed air to coat, conserve, cool, convey and clean. So, to keep our products running properly and efficiently, we need to supply them with clean, pressurized air. If we look at the two types of filters that we offer, we can see how they 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 have a 5-micron filter and work very well if you get a slug of liquid in your compressed air system. They use mechanical separation to remove the large particles of dirt and water from the air stream.
Most facilities use some type of compressed air dryer in their system to dry and condition the compressed air. But, if a system failure occurs, then water, oil, and dirt can be pushed into the compressed air lines and perhaps into your EXAIR products.
Even if you have good quality air, it is still important to keep your products protected. I would consider the Filter Separator as a minimum level of protection that should be used.
The Oil Removal Filters are used to keep the compressed air even cleaner yet. They work great at removing very small particles of dirt and oil. The 0.03-micron media of the Oil Removal Filter is designed to “coalesce” the fine liquid particles into large droplets.
Thus, allowing gravity to remove it from the compressed air stream. Some common issues allow for dirt and oil particles to collect in “dead” zones within the air lines. As it piles up and grows, portions can break off and get into the air stream affecting pneumatic devices.
The Oil Removal Filter will be able to help eliminate this long-term problem in your compressed air system. As a note, Oil Removal Filters are not great for bulk separation. If you have a system with lots of water, you should use a Filter Separator in front of the Oil Removal Filter to optimize the filtration.
Now that we went through each type, how do we use them together to get the best supply of compressed air? We always want them to be installed upstream of a Regulator. This is because the velocity is lower at higher pressures.
Lower velocities mean lower pressure drops which is great for supplying the proper amount of compressed air to EXAIR products. If you are using a combination of both filters, the Filter Separator will be upstream of the Oil Removal Filter. The Filter Separator will knock down the large particles and liquid slugs allowing the Oil Removal Filter to remove the smaller droplets and particles.
EXAIR offers a range of sizes to help support our products. They range from ¼” NPT ports up to 1 ½” NPT ports. The size of the ports determines the flow rating for each unit. EXAIR also has Mounting Brackets to mount the filters to walls or frames.
To support each type of filter, we have replacement elements and bowl kits. Since the function of the filter is to remove debris, we recommend to change the filter element once a year or when it reaches 10 PSID pressure drop; whichever comes first.
If we can analyze the compressed air systems, I would like to categorize it into a good and premium quality. For the good quality of compressed air, you can have the compressed air run through the Filter Separator. For the premium quality of compressed air, you can have your compressed air run through the Filter Separator and then through the Oil Removal Filter.
With clean quality air, your EXAIR products will provide you with effective, long-lasting performance without maintenance downtime.
Preventative maintenance for compressed air demand products is a simple as keeping the compressed air clean and condensate free. It is simple because all it takes is a filter and keeping the filter element clean, just like you do for your home furnace and/or air conditioner.
I received a phone call from a customer that needed replacement elements for EXAIR filters. They were using four different models of Filter Separators and Oil Removal Filters. The filters had been in service for one year, and the internal elements needed to be changed. They requested a quote to replenish the replacement elements that they stocked as a preventative measurement. What an idea!
Majority of EXAIR products use compressed air for cleaning, cooling, conveying, static elimination, coating and more. To help keep your EXAIR products 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. The 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, whichever comes first. I created a list in Table 1 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 for pneumatic products 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 0.01 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. 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 cross contamination, performance issues, and premature failures. As an ounce of prevention, you can add the replacement elements in stock and enter them in your preventative maintenance program. With clean quality air, your pneumatic system and EXAIR products will provide you with effective, long-lasting performance without 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.
Compressed air isn’t called manufacturing’s “Fourth Utility” (the first three being electricity, water, and natural gas) for nothing. Pneumatic tools are popular because they’re often so much lighter than their electric counterparts. Compressed air can be stored in receiver tanks for use when other power supplies are unavailable or not feasible. Many compressed air operated products can be made to withstand environmental factors (high/low temperature, corrosive elements, atmospheric dust, oil, other contaminants, etc.,) that would make electric devices very expensive, unwieldy, or impractical.
One of the most valuable considerations, though, is that your compressed air system is, by and large, under your control. The type and capacity of your air compressor can be determined by your specific operational needs. The header pressure in your supply lines is based on the applications that your air-operated devices are used for. And the performance & lifespan of every single component in your compressed air system is determined by the care you take in maintaining it.
Debris: solid particulates can enter your air system through the compressor intake, during maintenance, or if lines are undone and remade. If you have moisture in your air (more on that in a minute,) that can promote corrosion inside your pipes, and rust can flake off in there. Almost all of your air operated products have moving parts, tight passages, or both…debris is just plain bad for them. And if you use air for blow off (cleaning, drying, etc.,) keep in mind that anything in your compressed air system will almost certainly get on your product.
Your compressed air system may be equipped with a main filter at the compressor discharge. This is fine, but since there is indeed potential for downstream ingress (as mentioned above,) point-of-use filtration is good engineering practice. EXAIR recommends particulate filtration to 5 microns for most of our products.
Water: moisture is almost always a product of condensation, but it can also be introduced through faulty maintenance, or by failure of the compressor’s drying or cooling systems. Any way it happens, it’s also easy to combat with point-of-use filtration.
EXAIR includes an Automatic Drain Filter Separator in our product kits to address both of these concerns. A particulate filter element traps solids, and a centrifugal element “spins” any moisture out, collecting it in the bowl, which is periodically drained (automatically, as the name implies) by a float.
Oil: many pneumatic tools require oil for proper operation, so, instead of removing it, there’s going to be a dedicated lubricator, putting oil in the air on purpose. Optimally, this will be as close to the tool as possible, because not all of your compressed air loads need oil…especially your blow offs. If, however, a blow off device is installed downstream of a lubricator (perhaps due to convenience or necessity,) you’ll want to do something about that oil. Remember, anything in your system will get blown onto your product.
If this is the case, or you just want to have the cleanest air possible (keep in mind there is no downside to that,) consider an EXAIR Oil Removal Filter. They come in a range of capacities, up to 310 SCFM (8,773 SLPM,) and the coalescing element also offers additional particulate filtration to 0.03 microns.
In closing, here’s a video that shows you, up close and personal, the difference that proper filtration can make:
If you’d like to discuss or debate (spoiler alert: I’ll win) the importance of clean air, and how EXAIR can help, give me a call.
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Compressed air filters help to keep the air clean and condensate free to protect equipment from dust, dirt, pipe scale, oil and water. Even though the compressed air system will typically have a main dryer, additional treatment is often necessary. For this discussion, we will focus on the oil removal process and filter type.
After the compressed air has passed through a particulate filter, the dirt, dust and water droplets have been removed. Oil that is present is much smaller in size, and mostly passes though the particulate filter. The installation of a coalescing filter will provide for the removal of the majority of the fine oil aerosols that remain. The coalescing filter works differently than the particulate filters. The compressed air flows from inside to outside through the coalescing filter media. The term ‘coalesce’ means to ‘come together’ or ‘form one mass.’ The process of coalescing filtration is a continuous process where the small aerosols of oil come in contact with fibers of the filter media. As other aerosols are collected, they will join up and ‘come together’ and grow to become an oil droplet, on the downstream or outside surface of the media. Gravity will then cause the droplet to drain away and fall off the filter element.
Some important information to keep in mind –
Change the filter regularly, not just when the differential pressures exceeds recommended limits, typically 5 PSI
Coalescing filters will remove solids too, at a higher capture rate due to the fine level of filtration, using a pre-filter for solids will extend the life
Oil free compressors do not provide oil free air, as the atmospheric air drawn in for compression contains oil vapors that will cool and condense in the compressed air system.
If you would like to talk about oil removal filters or any of the EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® Products, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or one of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.
E-Vac Vacuum Generators are a highly efficient, versatile compressed air vacuum pump. Their versatility allows them to be adapted to many applications such as pick and place, clamping or vacuum forming. They’ve also been used in more unique applications like wood veneer pressing and basketball deflation.
EXAIR manufactures (3) types of E-Vacs – Low vacuum generators for porous materials, like cardboard, generating up to 21″ Hg with vacuum flows as high as 18.5 SCFM. Our high vacuum generators, designed for use with non-porous materials like glass or steel sheets, produce vacuum levels up to 27″ Hg and up to 15.8 SCFM of vacuum flow. The adjustable generators provide flexible vacuum performance, up to 25″ Hg and 81 SCFM, which can be easily adapted to meet the application.
When making a selection, there are a few key areas you want to consider:
Is the material porous or non-porous?
This will allow you to select the proper type of vacuum generator to fit the application and the type of vacuum cup best suited for the process.
What is the weight of the part and how will it be lifted?
If the part is being lifted where the vacuum cups will be positioned horizontally, like on top of a sheet of glass, you want to use a safety factor of 2 times the actual weight of the part. In processes requiring the cups be positioned vertically on the part, such as picking up a sheet of plywood and hanging it on an overhead conveyor, a safety factor of 4 would be used.
How many Vacuum Cups do I need?
Consider the quantity and placement to evenly distribute the weight for safely moving the material.
Depending on the maximum vacuum the generator produce, how much weight can each cup lift?
Once you have selected the type and number of cups needed, you can then begin to look at which additional accessories items you might need.
Filters – supplying clean, dry air is key for maintaining optimal performance. An automatic drain filter can be used to remove any water or contaminants in the supply line. If there is oil present, consider using an Oil Removal Filter.
Mufflers – help to reduce the noise level without restricting the airflow. We offer 2 different styles – Standard and Straight Through. Standards mufflers are a good choice where the supply air is clean and dry. These mufflers can only be used with the porous and non-porous generators. The Straight Through mufflers reduces sound levels by up to 26 dBA and are the better choice in processes where dirt or particulate may be present.
Tubing and Fittings – polyurethane tubing is available in 10′ sections up to 50′ for processes requiring the vacuum cups be placed in a location that wouldn’t allow for direct mounting to the NPT vacuum port on the generator or where multiple cups are needed. You want to keep the length of tubing as short as possible though for effective pickup and release time.
Check Valve – will maintain vacuum on the load if the supply pressure were to drop or be lost during operation.
For additional assistance selecting the proper E-Vac and accessories for your process, please contact an application engineer at 800-903-9247.