Why Use Oil Removal Filters For Compressed Air

If you’re even an occasional visitor to the EXAIR Blog, you’ll know we like to write about compressed air filtration.  One reason is that many of our products have relatively small passages that can become fouled with dirt from the compressed air supply, and performance will suffer.   Even if you find yourself in that situation, though, the good news is, it’s easy to clean many of those products…worst case, some disassembly is required, but we’re here to help with that if needed.

The more pressing reason for many users is, whatever’s in your compressed air is going to get on whatever it’s coming in contact with.  That means if you’re blowing dirt or water off a part with a Safety Air Gun, you could be blowing dirt, or water ONTO it if you’re not using proper filtration.  Clean, moisture free air is a MUST for a lot of Line Vac Air Operated Conveyor applications where exclusion of contamination (food and pharma, we’re looking at you) is critical.  It’s also quite important to Cabinet Cooler System applications – dust, water, and electronics DON’T mix.

That’s why all EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Product Kits include a Filter Separator with a particulate element to remove solids, and a centrifugal element that spins out any moisture in the air flow supplying the product.  Sometimes, though, another  contaminant may be present, and may need to be addressed: oil.

Oil is often introduced into a compressed air system on purpose, via a lubricator installed in the supply line to pneumatic tools, to keep their moving parts, well…moving.  This is generally not a problem, as long as the lubricator’s downstream line only leads to said tools.  The most common method for UNWANTED oil to enter is from the compressor.  This happens when internal parts start to wear (like the piston rings of a reciprocating compressor,) allowing oil from the gearbox into the air side.

Just as water & dirt in your air will get on whatever you’re blowing onto, so will oil.  That’s where our Oil Removal Filters come in.  The coalescing element removes any trace of oil from the air flow, and also provides additional particulate filtration to 0.03 microns.

When properly installed downstream of an Automatic Drain Filter Separator (left,) an Oil Removal Filter (center) will provide clean, oil free air to the Pressure Regulator (right) and all downstream components.

If you want to get the most out of your compressed air system and the devices it operates, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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Compressed Air Filters: What They Are, And Why They Matter

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.

 

The particulate element captures solids larger than 5 microns, and the centrifugal element eliminates moisture.

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.

The coalescing element of an Oil Removal Filter catches oil and very fine particulate.

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
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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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Accessories, Don’t Forget About Accessories!

Accessories

I went to the auto parts store to replace my brakes on my vehicle.  They asked me if I needed some Anti-squeak grease for my brake hardware.  It made me think about the accessories that EXAIR sells.  I could have used my own kind of grease which may not be able to hold up to the heat, but for a few dollars more, I wanted to go with the item that the experts would suggest.

In this blog, I would like to turn your attention to the accessories that support our Intelligent Compressed Air® Products.  EXAIR products use compressed air to coat, conserve, cool, convey and clean.  To maximize the performance and/or ease installation it is important to have the controls and options, and EXAIR offers these items as Accessories.

Pneumatic applications come in many variations and forms, and Accessories can help you to adapt to your application and to remove “guess work”.  They can make installation easier, add flexibility, and give you peace of mind.

Here are the different categories and explanations for each item that EXAIR recommends for our products with their defined functions.  They can help you in different areas to enhance your EXAIR product experience.

Automatic Drain Filter Separator (left,) and a Pressure Regulator (right.) Oil Removal Filters (optional; center) are also available if needed.

Filters/Regulators:

  • Filter Separators remove bulk liquid and contamination from the compressed air stream. EXAIR stocks a range of sizes from ¼” NPT ports to 1 ¼” NPT ports.  They use a 5-micron filter and a mechanical baffle to remove slugs of liquid from your compressed air system.  Most Filter Separators have an auto-drain to automatically remove the buildup of liquid inside the bowl.   I would consider the Filter Separator as a minimum level of protection required to protect your EXAIR product installations.
  • Oil Removal Filters remove very small particles of dirt and oil from the compressed air; making it even cleaner. The 0.03-micron media of the Oil Removal Filter will “coalesce” the fine liquid particles into large droplets.  Thus, allowing gravity to remove oil vapor from the compressed air stream.  EXAIR offers different sizes ranging from ¼” NPT to 1 ½” NPT ports.  As a note, Oil Removal Filters are great for removing very fine particles, but if you have a system with lots of water, I would recommend a Filter Separator upstream of the Oil Removal Filter for optimal filtration.
  • Regulators control the amount of air pressure being supplied to your EXAIR product. This is important if you are trying to save compressed air, control the force produced by an Air Knife, or convey material slowly.  EXAIR, being a leader in compressed air savings, recommends to use the minimum amount of air pressure to do the job.  This will save compressed air and save you money.  Regulators have a characteristic called “droop”.  Droop is the amount of air pressure that it drops downstream when you start flowing compressed air.  If the regulator is not sized properly, you can “starve” your pneumatic components, causing loss of function.  EXAIR properly sizes our regulators in our kits to make sure that you won’t “starve” your application.
  • Mounting Brackets for the regulators and the filters to help support them to a wall or structure are available. To connect filters and regulators together without a pipe nipple, we also have Coupling Kits for sizes up to ¾” NPT.  And for combination kits which includes a filter and a regulator, we offer the Mounting Bracket and Coupling Kit together for a set.

Silencing Mufflers:

  • Reclassifying Mufflers are designed to have two functions. They can cut noise levels by 35 dB and remove oil mist from the exhaust air.  Cylinders and valves that exhaust pressurized air may have oil in the line to keep the seals from sticking.  When exhausted, it can create a fine mist which is dangerous for operators.  The Reclassifying Mufflers can reduce the loud noise as well as collect any contamination from the exhaust air.
  • Sintered Bronze Mufflers are simple in design, cost effective, and easy to install. They have a minimal back pressure to not restrict operations of the pneumatic device.  They come in sizes from #10-32 thread to 1-1/2 NPT.  For a quick and simple way to reduce noise, the Sintered Bronze Mufflers are in stock for fast delivery.
  • Straight-Through Mufflers offer a way to reduce noise levels without worrying about clogging. They have an aluminum shell lined with sound absorbing foam, and they can reduce the noise level by 20 dB.  EXAIR offers them with two ports from ¼” NPT to ¾” NPT.  This can allow you to connect other items like blowing hose kits while reducing noise.
  • Heavy Duty Mufflers have an outer aluminum shell with an internal stainless steel screen that can protect the components from environmental contamination, and can also keep contaminant like rust from being ejected at high speed into the work area. They have a typical noise reduction of 14 dB.

Pneumatic Valves:

  • Manual Valves allow for operators to turn on and off their system by hand. The full-flow ball valves range from ¼” NPT to 1 1/4” NPT in size and will not restrict flow.  EXAIR also offers a manual foot pedal valve for hands-free operations.  This ¼” NPT foot valve has a 3-way operation and works great if the operator has to use both hands in their process.
  • Solenoid Valves are a way to turn on and off the supply of compressed air electrically for automated systems. We offer solenoids in three different voltages; 110Vac, 240Vac, and 24Vdc.  EXAIR has a large range of flows with ports ranging from ¼” NPT to 1” NPT.  All models are UL listed and are CE and RoHS compliant.

Hardware:

EXAIR’s Swivel Fitting Family

  • Swivel Fittings are a great way to securely install and aim EXAIR nozzles. They are dynamic as they can be adjusted and set to a flow direction with 50-degrees of movement.  They are made from 303SS or 316SS for corrosion resistance with ports ranging from 4mm to 1” NPT.
  • Compressed Air Fittings are a nice arrangement to connect different compressed air items together. We offer a range of hex and close nipples, couplings, reducers, tees, elbows, crosses and bulk head fittings.  If you need a quick way to connect directly to your pneumatic system, we may have it on the shelf.

    Model 9043
  • Magnetic Bases are designed for a solid mount to steel surfaces and for easy portability of your blow-off system to different locations. It has a 100 lb. (45.5Kg) pulling force to keep the blowing device attached firmly until you want to move it.  They can be mounted in a vertical or horizontal position.  EXAIR offers a single outlet Magnetic Base (for one blow-off device); a dual outlet Magnetic Base (for multiple blowing products); and a single outlet Swivel Magnetic Base (to offer more flexibility to orientation).  The bases come with a ¼ turn shut-off valve to easily turn on and off the compressed air to the EXAIR products.
  • Receiver Tanks are used to store compressed air. They can be used at the air compressor or as secondary reservoirs for intermittent demand.  They help your compressed air system with pressure variations and high demand loads.  EXAIR offers a model 9500-60 Receiver Tank that has a 60 gallon capacity and is rated to 200 PSIG.  It meets the ASME pressure vessel code.

    Universal Air Mounting Kit
  • Universal Air Knife Mounting System gives you a way to mount the EXAIR Super Air Knife, Full-Flow Air Knife, and Standard Air Knife. This kit is used to position your air knife securely and precisely.  It comes with a bracket and an articulated arm that can reach up to 30” (762mm).  You can orientate the air knives in any position to maximize the effectiveness.

    Plumbing Kits
  • Plumbing Kit, or PKI, is a great tool for longer Super Air Knives to help attach your compressed air system. They are designed to help lessen the time for install as well as to properly supply compressed air equally along the entire length, specifically for 24” (610mm) and longer.  We can offer the Plumbing Kit separately if you find that it could benefit your fabricators during installation.
  • Coupling Kits are designed to attach Aluminum and Stainless Steel Super Air Knives if you need to extend past the 108” (2,743 mm) width. Coupling Kits will mount the air knives together end to end.

Hoses:

  • Conveying Hoses are used with our Air Operated Conveyors or Line Vacs. The hoses are made from a durable PVC semi-flexible hose with six different diameters from ¾” I.D. up to 3” I.D.  The conveyance hoses can slip easily to the ends of the Line Vacs or to tubes for an easy transition.  EXAIR can cut-to-length Conveying Hoses up to 50 feet (15m); in increments of 10 feet (3m).
  • Coiled Hoses get compressed air from the piping system to the EXAIR product. They are made of a durable abrasion-resistant nylon material that is 12 feet long (3.6 meters).  They have swivel fittings at the end to allow for easy uncoiling, and a spring strain relief to keep the hose from kinking.  The coiled design makes it easy to reach around the work area and retract back to the substation.  This will help to keep the hose off the ground where potential dangers could occur.  We offer 3 different connection sizes; 1/8” NPT, ¼” NPT, and 3/8” NPT.
  • Compressed Air Hoses is another way to supply EXAIR products. They are useful if you need to reach from overhead sources or around equipment.   They are made from a reinforced synthetic rubber in 3/8” I.D. and 1/2” I.D. diameters.  We can make specific lengths up to 50 feet (15m).  They are rated for 250 PSIG (17 bar) air pressure, and the hose material works well for long-lasting protection against ozone, weathering and temperatures up to 158oF (70oC).  They come standard with two male ends in ¼” NPT or ½” NPT.
  • Stay Set Hoses give you that possibility of manually adjusting or re-adjusting Super Air Nozzles. The hose has a “memory” function; so, it will not creep or droop until you physically move it.  They work well to direct air flows in unique ways at specific target areas.  They can be used with Super Air Nozzles, Safety Air Guns and Blow-off Kits.  The Stay Set Hoses come in lengths from 6” (15cm) to 36” (91cm), and they are offered with ¼” NPT male on both ends or with a 1/8” NPT female and a ¼” NPT male connections.  These hoses are rated for 250 PSIG (17 bar) and are made from reinforced synthetic rubber.

Temperature Accessories:

  • The ETC, or Electronic Temperature Control, is a digital temperature controller with a LED screen for precision monitoring and adjusting temperatures in a Cabinet Cooler System. The controller has easy-to-use buttons to raise or lower the desired internal cabinet temperature.  Once set, the ETC will hold the temperature to +/- 1 oF (+/- 0.5 oC).  The LED displays the internal temperature for continuous monitoring.  The ETC comes complete with the controller and a solenoid valve in two different voltages, 120Vac and 240Vac.
  • The thermostat is a way to control a solenoid valve electrically to turn on/off a Cabinet Cooler System at a set temperature. It is preset at 95°F (35°C), but it can be adjusted to other desired temperatures.  It has an accuracy to hold the set temperature within +/- 2 °F (1 °C).  It can handle voltages from 24V to 240V, AC (50/60 Hz) or DC.  They are UL Recognized and CSA certified.

In today’s fast-paced world, there is a need to get your devices operating correctly and as quickly as possible.  EXAIR Accessories can do that.  Not only will you have confidence, as you are using the items recommended by the EXAIR experts, but you won’t have to worry about your system “squeaking” to a halt.  Like with my brakes above; I was happy to use the recommended grease to end any annoyance with my braking.  If you would like to discuss the proper options with your EXAIR products, an Application Engineer will be happy to help you.

John Ball
Application Engineer
Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb