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.
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
When any product / system is designed drawings are made to assist in the production of the designed product. For example if a mechanical part is being machined you may see symbols like these to verify the part is made correctly:
Same with an electrical panel, they use symbols like the ones below to note the type of equipment used in a location.
Then there’s the Piping & Instrumentation Diagram (P&ID)…it depicts an overall view of a system, showing the flow (usually fluid or electricity) through that system’s components, giving the viewer an understanding of the operation, and expected results from said operation.
Some examples of symbols you might find in a compressed air system are:
Air preparation & handling:
Instrumentation and control:
Occasionally, we’re asked if there are standard ANSI or ISO symbols for any of our engineered Intelligent Compressed Air Products…and there aren’t. Perhaps one day they might make the cut, but for now, their standard convention is to choose a shape and call it out by name. It might look something like this:
If you have questions about any of the quiet 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.
If you operate an air compressor, you’re drawing water vapor into your compressed air system. Factors like climate control (or lack thereof,) and humidity will dictate how much. If (or more to the point, when) it condenses, it becomes an issue that must be addressed. There are several types of dryer systems to choose from, usually when you buy your compressor…we’ve covered those in a number of blogs. Some of these can leave a little more water vapor than others, but remain popular and effective, when considering the cost, and cost of operation, of the different types.
So, how do you handle the condensate that the dryer doesn’t remove?
Receivers, or storage tanks (like EXAIR Model 9500-60, shown to the right,) are commonly used for several reasons:
By providing an intermediate storage of compressed air close to the point of use, fluctuations across the system won’t adversely affect an application that needs a constant flow and pressure.
This also can keep the air compressor from cycling rapidly, which leads to wear & tear, and additional maintenance headaches.
When fitted with a condensate drain (more on those in a minute,) they can serve as a wet receiver. Condensate collects in the bottom and is manually, or automatically emptied.
Condensate drains, while popularly installed on receivers, are oftentimes found throughout larger systems where the vapor is prone to condense (intercoolers, aftercoolers, filters and dryers) and where the condensation can be particularly problematic (drip legs or adjacent to points of use.) There are a couple of options to choose from, each with their own pros & cons:
Manual drains are self explanatory: they’re ball valves; cycled periodically by operators. Pros: cheap & simple. Cons: easy to blow down too often or for too long, which wastes compressed air. It’s also just as easy to blow down not often enough, or not long enough, which doesn’t solve the condensate problem.
Timer drains are self explanatory too: they cycle when the timer tells them to. Pros: still fairly cheap, and no attention is required. Cons: they’re going to open periodically (per the timer setting) whether there’s condensate or not.
Demand, or “zero loss” drains collect condensate until their reservoir is full, then they discharge the water. Pros: “zero loss” means just that…they only actuate when condensate is present, and they stop before any compressed air gets out. Cons: higher purchase price, more moving parts equals potential maintenance concerns.
The “last line of defense” (literally) is point-of-use condensate removal. This is done with products like EXAIR Automatic Drain Filter Separators. They’re installed close to compressed air operated devices & products, oftentimes just upstream of the pressure regulator and/or flow controls…the particulate filter protects against debris in these devices, and the centrifugal element “spins” any last remaining moisture from the compressed air flow before it gets used.
Efficient and safe use of your compressed air includes maintaining the quality of your compressed air. If you’d like to find out more about how EXAIR Corporation can help you get the most out of your compressed air system, give me a call.
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ISO 8573-1:2010 is the international standard for Air Quality Classes. It lays the ground rules for acceptable levels of pollutants, particulate, moisture, and oil in a compressed air source.
Specification Example: ISO 8573-1:2010 [2:2:1]
This indicates Class 2 for particles, Class 2 for water, and Class 1 for oil.
Though the standard has detailed standards for maximum particle size, maximum pressure dew point and maximum oil content for different industries and/or environments (see Slide show above) we can generalize a bit and express the levels of air quality like this:
Plant Air – general plant compressed air used for air tools, nozzles etc. Instrument Air – found in laboratories, paint and powder coat booths, used for climate control. Process Air – used in food and pharmaceutical applications, electronics applications. Breathing Air – used for breathing respirators, breathing tanks and hospital air systems.
Achieving the different levels of air quality can be done with 3 basic types of filtration. 1. Particulate – a filter element removes particles larger than the opening in the filter material. Typically done with particles greater than 1 micron. 2. Coalescing – use different methods to capture the particles; 1) direct interception – works like a sieve, 2) Inertial impaction – collision with filter media fibers, 3) Diffusion – particles travel in a spiral motion and are captured in the filter media. 3. Adsorption – the filter element holds the contaminants by molecular adhesion.
The higher the class your air needs to be the more of these filtration methods you will use. Adsorption will remove more and finer particles than a simple particulate filter. And many applications will use a combination of these methods.
EXAIR products, all of which need a source of “clean, dry air” will operate very well utilizing a source of plant air and only a particulate filter. Your process, dictate if you need to supply additional filtration methods for better air quality. For example, an automotive plant using compressed air to blow parts off will not need the kind of filtration a food handling facility will need while blowing a food product off. If you are using a lubricated compressor or have lubricant in your compressed air lines from another source, you will want to use a coalescing oil removal filter.
EXAIR stocks 5 micron particulate filters which are properly sized for each individual product as an option for our customers if they choose. We also stock coalescing oil removal filters for customers who may need to remove oil from the air. Replacement filter elements are also available and should be replaced at least twice a year, depending on the quality of your air.
Remember to ask about filtration if you have any concerns about your air quality. We can assist in sizing up the proper filters to get the air quality we recommend for proper operation and longevity of our products.
When I was seventeen my grandfather took me to a used are dealership and helped me buy my first car. It wasn’t anything special, as it was a 1996 Chevrolet Lumina. It had its fair share of bumps and bruises, but the bones were solid. We took it home and he taught me how to do all the basics, we changed the oil, oil filter, air filter, brakes, pretty much every fluid we could, we changed.
You see my grandfather retired from Ford Motor Company after 50+ years of service. And he always said, “If you treat it right, it will treat you right.”; and I’ve lived by that ever since.
Just like a car, air compressors require regular maintenance to run at peak performance and minimize unscheduled downtime. Inadequate maintenance can have a significant impact on energy consumption via lower compression efficiency, air leakage, or pressure variability. It can also lead to high operating temperatures, poor moisture control, and excessive contamination.
Most problems are minor and can be corrected by simple adjustments, cleaning, part replacement, or the elimination of adverse conditions. This maintenance is very similar to the car maintenance mentioned above, replace filters, fluids, checking cooling systems, check belts and identify any leaks and address.
All equipment in the compressed air system should be maintained in accordance with the manufacturers specifications. Manufacturers provide inspection, maintenance, and service schedules that should be followed strictly. In many cases, it makes sense from efficiency and economic stand-points to maintain equipment more frequently than the intervals recommended by the manufactures, which are primarily designed to protect equipment.
One way to tell if your system is being maintained well and is operating properly is to periodically baseline the system by tracking power, pressure, flow (EXAIR Digital Flowmeter), and temperature. If power use at a given pressure and flow rate goes up, the systems efficiency is degrading.
Types Of Maintenance
Maintaining a compressed air system requires caring for the equipment, paying attention to changes and trends, and responding promptly to maintain operating reliability and efficiency. Types of maintenance include;
Poor Maintenance – Sadly, some plants still operate on the philosophy, “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.” Due to the lack of routine preventative maintenance, this practice may result in complete replacement of an expensive air compressor as well as unscheduled and costly production interruptions.
Preventive Maintenance – This type of maintenance can be done by plant personnel or by an outside service provider. Usually, it includes regularly scheduled monitoring of operating conditions. Replacement of air and lubricant filters, lubricant sampling and replacement, minor repairs and adjustments, and an overview of compressor and accessory equipment operation.
Predictive Maintenance – Predictive maintenance involves monitoring compressor conditions and trends , including operating parameters such as power use, pressure drops, operating temperatures, and vibration levels. The Right combination of preventive and predictive maintenance generally will minimize repair and maintenance costs.
Proactive Maintenance – If a defect is detected, proactive maintenance involves looking for the cause and determining how to prevent a recurrence.
Unfortunately, even the best maintenance procedures cannot eliminate the possibility of an unexpected breakdown. Provisions should be made for standby equipment to allow maintenance with out interrupting production.
If you would like to discuss improving your compressed air efficiency or any of EXAIR’s engineered solutions, I would enjoy hearing from you…give me a call.