Removing Oil From Your Compressed Air Helps Keep Your EXAIR Products Running Maintenance-Free

Most of EXAIR’s line of Intelligent Compressed Air Products have no moving parts and require no maintenance. The caveat to the “no maintenance” aspect is proper filtration at the point of use. Many products air demand products like nozzles, air knives and air amplifiers have very tight orifices that could get clogged from any contaminants such as particulate, condensate, and lubricant. Oil and dirt could build up inside of any of these products and keep them from working properly. EXAIR recommends point of use filtration to be installed just upstream of any EXAIR product for this purpose.

Oil is commonly present in a compressed air supply, whether that’s intentional or not can vary. Many air compressors are oil lubricated by a constant supply of oil, inevitably some of this oil ends up in the air supply. As the piston rings wear, more oil is permitted to pass by 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 any EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Product, we recommend particulate free, condensate free, and oil free air.

In order to remove oil from the air supply, 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 any dryer that contains a media that would be compromised by any 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 bowl or filter housing. With a coalescing filter, the most common cause of pressure drop increase is due to particulate clogging the filter element. Because of this, a particulate filter should always be installed just prior to any coalescing filters.

Without any filtration, any oil in the air supply will pass through the point of use device and into or on to your product or process. With the elimination of this problem such a simple solution, don’t neglect proper air preparation to ensure you’re delivering clean, oil-free air to all of your Intelligent Compressed Air Products.

Tyler Daniel
Application Engineer
E-mail: TylerDaniel@EXAIR.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_TD

Intelligent Compressed Air: Refrigerant Dryers

When we talk with customers about their EXAIR Products, we also discuss the quality of their compressed air. Many of our products have no moving parts and are considered maintenance-free when supplied with clean, moisture free compressed air. One of the most critical aspects of a compressed air distribution system is the dryer.

No matter where you are in the world, the atmospheric air will contain water vapor. Even in the driest place in the world, McMurdo Dry Valley in Antarctica, there is some moisture in the air. As this air cools to the saturation point, also known as dew point, the vapor will condense into liquid water. The amount of this moisture will vary depending on both the ambient temperature and the relative humidity. According to the Compressed Air Challenge, a general rule of thumb is that the amount of moisture air can hold at a saturated condition will double for every increase of 20°F. In regions or periods of warmer temperatures, this poses an even greater problem. Some problems that can be associated with moisture-laden compressed air include:

  • Increased wear of moving parts due to removal of lubrication
  • Formation of rust in piping and equipment
  • Can affect the color, adherence, and finish of paint that is applied using compressed air
  • Jeopardizes processes that are dependent upon pneumatic controls. A malfunction due to rust, scale, or clogged orifices can damage product or cause costly shutdowns
  • In colder temperatures, the moisture can freeze in the control lines

In order to remove moisture from the air after compression, a dryer must be installed at the outlet of the compressor. It is recommended to dry the compressed air to a dew point at least 18°F below the lowest ambient temperature to which the distribution system or end use is exposed. A dew point of 35-38°F is often sufficient and can be achieved by a refrigerated dryer (Best Practices for Compressed Air Systems). This makes the refrigerant dryer the most commonly used type in the industry.

A refrigerant dryer works by cooling the warm air that comes out of the compressor to 35-40°F. As the temperature decreases, moisture condenses and is removed from the compressed air supply. It’s then reheated to around ambient air temperatures (this helps to prevent condensation on the outside of distribution piping) and sent out to the distribution system.

With your air clean and dry at the point of use, you’re making sure you get the most out of EXAIR’s Intelligent Compressed Air Products without adhering to pesky maintenance procedures.

Tyler Daniel
Application Engineer
E-mail: TylerDaniel@EXAIR.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_TD

Compressor image courtesy of Tampere Hacklab via Flickr Creative Commons License

Products Built to Last and Maintenance Free

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
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Comparing the Different Styles of Compressed Air Filters

Most of EXAIR’s line of Intelligent Compressed Air Products have no moving parts and require no maintenance. The caveat to the “no maintenance” aspect is proper filtration at the point of use. Many products have very tight orifices that could get clogged from any contaminants such as particulate, condensate, and lubricant. EXAIR recommends point of use filtration to be installed just upstream of any EXAIR Product for this purpose.

There are three primary types of compressed air filters: particulate, coalescing, and adsorption. Each have their own inherent characteristics and can be used in conjunction with one another. Each style is used to handle a different form of contaminant that’s present within the distribution system of your compressed air supply.

9001
EXAIR Model 9001 Auto-Drain Filter

Particulate filters – Particulate filters are available with different filtering mechanisms that allow you to control the particulate size that will be filtered out. The higher the level of filtration, the greater the pressure drop you’ll experience at the outlet of the filter. Styles are also available with either a polycarbonate bowl or metal bowls, depending on the application and environment.

Any filter with a polycarbonate bowl should have a metal guard on the outside to provide protection for personnel should a failure occur. In these styles of filters, compressed air is forced through a filter element that blocks any particulate contained within the air supply.

These filter elements are generally a sintered bronze material with filtration levels from 40-5 micron possible. Over time, the filter elements can clog and increase the pressure drop at the discharge of the filter. They’re relatively inexpensive and should be replaced yearly to maintain optimum performance and mitigate pressure drop. They also remove liquid drops as well from the air supply, containing them within the bowl. Styles with both manual-drains and automatic-drains are available that will drain the bowl of excess moisture automatically through the bottom of the filter.

9005
EXAIR Model 9005 Oil Removal Filter

Coalescing Filters – The coalescing filter is used to remove very fine water vapor as well as any residual oil. These filters are highly recommended to be installed just prior to any dryer that contains a media that would be compromised by any 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 bowl or filter housing. With a coalescing filter, the most common cause of pressure drop increase is due to particulate clogging the filter element. Because of this, a particulate filter should always be installed just prior to any coalescing filters.

Adsorption Filters – The final type of compressed air filter is the adsorption filter. Where the particulate filters can remove the majority of contaminants and the coalescing filters the residual oil, they are not capable of removing lubricant vapors or oil. That’s where the adsorption filter comes in. In addition to removing the finest oil vapors, they also can eliminate odors from the compressed air supply. The oil vapors and odors adhere to activated carbon within the filter, removing them from the air supply. These filters are commonly found within the food processing industry, where any contaminants in the air supply could impact the integrity of the product.

EXAIR has a line of Automatic Drain Filter Separators and Oil Removal Filters, available from stock, to make sure the quality of your air supply is sufficient for proper operation of any EXAIR product. Feel free to give us a call and any of our Application Engineers will be happy to assist you.

Tyler Daniel
Application Engineer
E-mail: TylerDaniel@EXAIR.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_TD