Piping and Instrumentation diagrams (P&ID)

When it comes to drawings and diagrams to map out a process system, the piping and instrumentation diagrams (P&ID) are a great way to situate and find components.  They use different symbols to represent the type of products, the layout in the system, installation, and process flow.  These standard symbols are created by ANSI or ISO.  They are used in electrical, hydraulic, and pneumatic processes.  Since EXAIR has been manufacturing Intelligent Compressed Air Products since 1983, I will cover some pneumatic symbols and the process flow in this blog.

A colleague, Russ Bowman, wrote an article about “Knowing Your Symbols Is Key To Understanding Your Drawings”.  As a reference, air compressors are the start of your pneumatic system, and there are different types as represented by the symbols below.

The one on the left can be used for any air compressor. The others denote specific types of air compressor (from left:) Centrifugal, Diaphragm, Piston, Rotary, and Screw.

Air compressors are considered the fourth utility in industries because they use so much electricity; and they are inefficient.  So, you need to use the compressed air as efficiently as possible.  As a typical pneumatic system, the air compressors, receiver tanks and compressed air dryers would be on the supply side.  The distribution system, or piping, connects the supply side to the demand side.  This symbol is represented by a simple line.  The demand side will have many different types of pneumatic devices.  Since there are so many, ANSI or ISO has created some common types of equipment.  But if there isn’t a symbol created to represent that part, the idea is to draw a basic shape and mark it.

From top left, and then down: Automatic Drain Filter Separator, Pressure Regulator, and Super Air Knife

As an example, if I were to do a P&ID diagram of the EXAIR Super Air Knife Kit; it would look like the above diagram.  The kit will include the Super Air Knife with an Automatic Drain Filter Separator and a Pressure Regulator.  The Filter Separator is a diamond shape and since it has an Automatic Drain, a triangle is placed at the bottom.  Filter Separators are used to clean the compressed air and keep the Super Air Knife clean.  The Automatic Drain will discard water and oil from the filter bowl when it accumulates over a float.  The next item is the pressure regulator which is represented by a rectangle with an adjustment knob to “dial in” the desired blowing force.  And at the end, we drew a rectangle, which does represent a Super Air Knife, as marked.

Using the P&ID diagram for the process flow is also important.  You noticed that the Filter Separator will come before the Pressure Regulator.  This is significant when installing this system.  Remember the statement above about “using your compressed air as efficiently as possible”?  Inefficiencies come from two basic areas; pressure drop and overusing your compressed air.  Pressure drop is based on velocity.  The lower the velocity, the lower the pressure drop.  If the Filter Separator is placed after the Pressure Regulator, the lower pressure will increase the velocity.  Since air expands at lower pressure, the volume of air will increase.  And since the area of the compressed air pipe is the same, the velocity will have to increase.   For the second part with overusing compressed air, the Pressure Regulator will help.  You want to use the lowest amount of air pressure as possible for the Super Air Knife to “do the job”.  The lower air pressure will use less compressed air in your operation.

EXAIR products are engineered to be safe, efficient, and effective in your compressed air system.  If you need help to place them in your P&ID diagrams, an Application Engineer can help you.  It is important to have the pneumatic devices in the proper place, and if you want to efficiently use your compressed air, you can use EXAIR products for your blow-off devices.

John Ball
Application Engineer

Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

Undersized Regulators Create Performance Problems with Compressed Air

“I have a Cabinet Cooler installed on my panel but it isn’t getting the temperature down cold enough. Can you quote me for a duplicate system to install on this panel?” This was a recent inquiry from a customer regarding an electrical enclosure that they had installed in their plant. The Cabinet Cooler was producing cold air, but not enough to keep the cabinet at their desired temperature. It would seem logical that they need additional capacity, right? While that could be the case, in this instance it most definitely was not.

When we get questions like this, we first want to take a closer look at the current installation. The cooling capacity for each system is published in our catalog. BUT, in order to rate a cooling capacity for any type of cooling system, some assumptions must be made. All Cabinet Coolers are specified with 70°F compressed air fed to the Cabinet Cooler at a pressure of 100 PSIG. In addition, each cooler has a specified volume of air that it must utilize in order to produce that rated cooling capacity. If any one of those parameters change, so does the overall cooling power.

In this particular case, the customer had installed a non-EXAIR pressure regulator just upstream of the cooler. Upon looking at the specifications for this regulator, it was found that the overall volume of air it can deliver was just 10% of the overall volume needed to produce the rated 1700 Btu/hr. They didn’t need another Cabinet Cooler System, they just needed to remove that restriction! Upon learning that it needed 100 PSIG, they removed the regulator and supplied full line pressure. No more heat alarms for that shift!

CC undersized valve

Rather than purchasing and installing an unnecessary system, they were able to get back up and running just by removing the problem upstream. At EXAIR, we want to make sure that you’re getting the most out of our products. Just because you call and inquire about a new purchase doesn’t necessarily mean that you need it. We’re here to help you determine if something is afoul with the current setup and make sure you have all of the knowledge necessary to rectify it.

We’re right in the middle of summer, and boy is it hot out there. If you have panels that are overheating and creating problems for you in your processes, give us a call. With Cabinet Cooler Systems ready to ship same day from stock (with properly sized regulators) you can have it fixed by tomorrow.

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

Video Blog: Filter/Separator and Pressure Regulator Mounting and Coupling Kit Installation

Using EXAIR mounting and coupling kits you can assemble EXAIR Filters and Regulators into one plug and play assembly. Follow along with the video posted below to complete this task!

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.

Jordan Shouse
Application Engineer

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Save Compressed Air Energy with Pressure Regulators

Why should you consider a Pressure Regulator when designing your compressed air system? As many know, our products and those of other  product manufacturers have a certain set of specifications regarding performance at stated input pressures. But what if your application doesn’t require that “full, rated performance”? Maybe instead of needing two pounds of force, you only need one pound? Sometimes more force does not produce the desired result for an application. By that, I mean you cause damage to the target or other surrounding items in the application. Or, perhaps blowing too hard (or vacuuming too hard in the case of a Line Vac or E-vac) might cause the vessel or the material you are picking up to collapse or deform (due to too much power).

Regulators catalog
EXAIR offers a range of Pressure Regulators capable of handling air flow of up to 700 SCFM.

There is also the concern about using more energy than one really needs to in order to achieve the desired effect in an application. In other words, if you can achieve your goals with only 40 PSIG, then why would you ever use 80 PSIG to accomplish the goal? By reducing your compressed air from 80 down to 40 PSIG, you can easily reduce the air consumption of the “engineered” solution by another 40% or more.  Once you have installed engineered air nozzles to reduce compressed air on blow off applications, a pressure regulator can fine tune the pressure to save even more energy.

Regulator Internal
Regulator Internals

Then there is the issue of taking advantage of the pressure differential (from 80 down to 40 PSIG) that creates a little bit more air volume capacity. At 80 PSIG, your compressed air to free air volume ratio is 6.4:1. At 40 PSIG, it is only 3.7:1. The net effect is you effectively have an overall larger volume of air you can use for other applications in your facility. By reducing compressed air pressure of your demand applications, you may be able to reduce over all compressor discharge pressure. Reducing compressor discharge pressure by 2 PSIG also reduces required input power by 1 percent – so keep your pressure as low as possible!

Regulating pressure is definitely warranted given the benefits that compliment the operation of the core EXAIR products.

If you need a deeper understanding about how EXAIR’s products can help your application, feel free to contact us and we will do our best to give you a clear understanding of all the benefits that can be had by our products’ use as well as proper implementation of accessory items such as compressed air filters and regulators.

Jordan Shouse
Application Engineer

Send me an email
Find us on the Web 
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Twitter: @EXAIR_JS