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.
As an avid outdoors man, I have learned a lot about myself during these days of quarantine and social distancing; mainly I don’t quarantine very well. With all the climbing gyms closed, traveling strongly discouraged, and social distancing in place my lifestyle has been brought to a grinding halt much like many of us. opening up, which will be good for all of us.
So, in place I have taken upon myself to learn a new hobby that I can do solo and safely. In the past weeks I have spent learning about mountain biking and all that comes with it. This includes the maintenance required to work on a bike, specifically the front derailleur which controls the front major gear changes (and gets damaged if crashed). Realigning the front derailleur is one of the hardest fixes that one can do on a bike as it has three different adjustments that need to be made at the same time. Thus, I embarked on a week long project of learning how to make the adjustment and man was it frustrating.
Performing tricky maintenance can be one of the most frustrating and stress inducing things when all you really want is for something to work without any hassle. Whether its hours just trying to figure out what the issue is or actually fixing it, let’s be honest, it never goes as planned. The same can be said for maintenance on things such as compressors, cars, and production equipment. Here at EXAIR we strive to eliminate this frustration and hair pulling maintenance and replace it with maintenance free products.
EXAIR’s lines of compressed air products such as our Vortex Tubes, Super Air Amplifiers, and Super Air Knives have no moving parts. No moving parts means no wear down parts and no wear down parts means little to no maintenance. Besides the occasional air filter element change out or something getting lodged inside the product EXAIR’s compressed air products will run almost indefinitely as long as they are supplied with a source of compressed air, typically run through a standard 5 micron filter separator.
Although you cannot really prevent dirt from collecting in a filter separator (that is, in fact what they are meant to do) you can prevent dirt, dust, and debris from getting into your products by using one of EXAIR’s Filter Separators. Filter Separators remove water condensate, dirt, dust, and debris from your compressed air line before it enters your compressed air product. This prevents the particles from disrupting small air outlets or lodging in the small pathways inside our compressed air products and keeps the product running like new.
All in all, maintenance is not fun to have to deal with and can be costly at times. By using EXAIR’s engineered compressed air products you can eliminate at least one thing to worry about on your list of maintenance that needs to be performed. With a little bit of preventive measures you can keep our products running like new for years and years.
If you have any questions or want more information on any EXAIR’s of our products, give us a call, we have a team of application engineers ready to answer your questions and recommend a solution for your applications.
Cody Biehle Application Engineer EXAIR Corporation Visit us on the Web Follow me on Twitter Like us on Facebook
Compressed air is the life blood of a manufacturing plant, and the air compressor would be considered the heart. To keep things “fit”, it is important to check all areas and to optimize your system to keep your plant running safely and efficiently. You do not have to be a doctor to do these “operations”. If your compressor fails, the entire facility will stop working. In this blog, I will cover some simple preventative maintenance that can really help you.
As margins get tighter and cost of manufacturing climbs, industries are looking into other areas to be more economical. A big focus today is the compressed air system. Compressed air is considered to be a “forth” utility behind gas, water, and electricity, and it is a necessary to run your pneumatic systems. But it is the least efficient of the utilities. So, it is very important to use this utility as practical as possible and to use a PM program to keep it going.
If we start at the beginning of your compressed air system, this would jump us to the air compressor. This is the machine that uses an electric or gas motor to spin a crank. It compresses the ambient air into a small volume to generate stored energy to be used by your pneumatic systems. Because the air compressor is complex and intricate, I would recommend a trained service personnel to do the maintenance. But, if your staff is familiar with air compressors, I wrote a blog to help look at certain parts periodically. You can read it here: “6 Basic Steps for Good Air Compressor Maintenance (And When to Do Them)”.
The next part after the air compressor is to look at the aftercoolers, compressed air dryers, receiver tanks, filters, and condensate drains. Some facilities may only have some of these items.
The aftercoolers are designed to cool the exit air from your air compressor. It uses a fan to blow ambient air across coils to lower the compressed air temperature. It is easy to check the fan to verify that it is spinning and to keep the coils clean from debris.
The compressed air dryers can range in size and type. For the refrigerant type air dryers, you should periodically check the freon compressor with ohm and amp readings, the condensers for cleaning, and the super heat temperature as well. For desiccant type air dryers, you will need to check the operation of the valves. Valves are used to regenerate one side of the desiccant bed. The valves can fail and stick either open or closed. In either way, if the desiccant cannot regenerate, then it will allow moisture to go down stream and eventually destroy the desiccant beads.
The receiver tanks have safety relief valves that will need to be checked to make sure that they are not leaking. If they are, they should be changed.
As for the filters, they collect contamination from the compressed air stream. This will include liquid water, oil, and dirt. A pressure drop will start to increase with the contaminants, which will reduce the potential energy. If they do not have pressure drop indicators, you should have two points of references for pressure readings. You should change the filter elements when the pressure drop reaches 10 PSID (0.7 bar) or after 1 year.
With all these items above, water is created. There should be condensate drains to discard the water. The most efficient types of condensate drains are the zero loss drains. Most condensate drains will have a test button to be pressed to verify that they open. If they do not open, they should be replaced or fixed. Do not place a valve on them and partially open for draining. For float type drains, they will have a pin inside that can be pressed to open. You can verify that all the liquid has been expelled.
The distribution system are the pipes and tubes that run compressed air from the supply side to the demand side of your pneumatic system. One of the largest problems affecting the distribution system are leaks. That quiet little hissing sound from the pipe lines is costing your company much money. A study was conducted by a university to determine the percentage of air leaks in a typical manufacturing plant. In a poorly maintained system, they found on average of 30% of the compressor capacity is lost through air leaks.
To put a dollar value on it, a leak that you cannot physically hear can cost you as much as $130/year. That is just for one inaudible leak in hundreds of feet of compressed air lines. Unlike a hydraulic system, compressed air is clean; so, leaks will not appear at the source. So, you have to find them by some other means.
Most leaks occur where you have threaded fittings, connections, hoses, and pneumatic components like valves, regulators, and drains. EXAIR has two products in our Optimization product line that are designed to help find leaks in your compressed air system.
The Ultrasonic Leak Detectors can find air leaks, and the Digital Flowmeters can monitor your system for loss of air. When an air leaks occur, it emits an ultrasonic noise caused by turbulence. These ultrasonic noises can be at a frequency above audible hearing for human. The EXAIR Ultrasonic Leak Detector can pick up these high frequencies to make inaudible leaks audible.
With the Digital Flowmeters, you can continuously check your system for waste and record it with a USB Datalogger. Air leaks can occur at any time within any section of your pneumatic system. With a Digital Flowmeter, you can also isolate an area to watch for any flow readings; telling you that the air is leaking in that section. With both products included in your leak-preventative program, you will be able to reduce your waste and optimize your compressed air system.
At the point-of-use areas, this is the easiest target area for compressed air maintenance. If you are using open tubes or drilled pipes for blowing, they are loud, inefficient, and unsafe. They can be easily change to an engineered blow-off product from EXAIR which are very efficient and OSHA safe. EXAIR offers a range of Super Air Nozzles and Super Air Knives to simply replace the current blow-off devices that overuse compressed air. If we go back to the beginning of your system, the air compressor is a mechanical device which will have a MTBF, or Mean Time Between Failures. The hour meter on your air compressor is like a life monitor. By using less compressed air, your air compressor will extend that time in MTBF.
Keeping your compressed air system running optimally is very important for a business to run. With a simple maintenance program, it can help you with your pneumatic operations and energy savings. Like stated above, your compressed air system is the life blood of your company, and you do not need a PhD to keep it well maintained. Just follow the target areas above. If you would like to discuss further about the health of your compressed air system, you can contact an Application Engineer at EXAIR. We will be happy to help “diagnose” a solution.
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.