Compressor Room Updates Improve Performance

I’d like to start out by saying a common theme I have observed over the past six months is a huge spike in DIY projects around the home. While everyone has been sent home to work and kids have been sent home to learn remotely, the home has become more than just a resting place. It is an office, school, recreation center, even movie theater. This led to an amazing year for home improvement big box stores and lots of people are tackling projects that they may have thought were beyond their level. At this point in the year we are also seeing a lot of manufacturing that either hasn’t stopped or is starting back up safely, there are lots of projects around an industrial facility that can be tackled during downturns as well.

Compressor Room – 1

The main focus today will be on a critical room that generally gets shoved back into a deep dark corner, the compressor room. The air compressor is a piece of capital equipment that generates a companies 4th utility, compressed air. This is then sent throughout most of the facility and utilized at critical points within production. Air compressors have changed their look over the years and are still often crammed into a small dimly lit room that no one wants to venture into. Having an outdated compressor room can also be causing undesirable performance and lack luster performance as well. Here’s a few items that can more often than not be addressed pretty simply to improve the overall appearance and most importantly the performance of the compressors.

Clean air intake on a screw compressor – 2

First, clean air intake. Rather than letting the compressor suck air in from the room that may be stagnant or even worse, just sucking in the hot air coming off the heat exchangers on the compressor and causing elevated compressed air temps. This fix can include ducting clean air from outside of the facility to ensure micro-debris from within the facility isn’t being pulled in. While pulling in ambient air from outside the facility will still require a filter that will need to be maintained. If a large single source is used, that is perfectly acceptable. To step this project up multiple smaller inlets that are each controlled by a damper would permit variability to match ambient conditions on temperature.

Industrial exhaust fan – 3

Second, install an exhaust fan that feeds the air not just out of the room, yet out of the facility if at all possible. This helps to promote a through-flow of air with the clean air intake and keep from recirculating dirty already cycled air. This will also help any form of system based air treatment that relies on an exchange of heat, such as a refrigerant dryer. Again, a fan that stays on constantly would be the base level fix, step this up by adding a thermostatically controlled system so the fan doesn’t run continuously.

Third, if you heat your facility throughout the winter, use that hot exhaust air from the compressors to reclaim the heat of the compression cycle and optimize your return on using electricity. This can be done by strategic routing of the exhaust ductwork mentioned above, and can be stepped up to have thermostatically controlled dampers on the ducts to open and flow the air through an adjacent room for cooler months rather than exhaust straight out during the warm Summer months.

If you would like to discuss any of these topics or any of your compressed air point of use applications, feel free to contact us.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer


 1 – Air Compressor in Engine Room – retrieved from, Work With Sounds / CC BY-SA ( –

2 – Screw Compressor 1 – retrieved from, Endora6398 / CC BY-SA ( –

3 – Industrial Exhaust Fan – retrieved from , Saud / CC BY-SA ( –

When To Use The High Lift Reversible Drum Vac vs. The Reversible Drum Vac

One of my favorite TV shows growing up was Home Improvement with Tim Allen. One of the most memorable parts of the show was when Tim’s character would always state that when doing a job you need … MORE POWER!!!

In real life and within a production environment this is not always true. More often than not more power equals waste and inefficient use of the resources at hand. I know, I sound a lot like Tim Allen’s counterpart in the show, Al Borland. Well, the truth is, Al was usually right.  Here at EXAIR, we offer two different types of Reversible Drum Vac, the standard unit and the High Lift RDV.

The Reversible Drum Vac System converts a drum and dolly into a mobile pumping system.

The standard RDV will pull up to 96″ of water column when in suction mode. This is ideal for water-soluble coolants or other water-based rinses. The unit is paired with a 10′ vacuum/discharge hose to ensure optimal performance. The RDV will fill a 55-gallon drum with water in 90 seconds or less when operated at 80 psig inlet pressure. It will then empty the same drum even faster by discharging liquid at up to 166″ of water column displacement. To do both of these operations, fill or empty the drum the RDV will utilize 19 SCFM of compressed air. This is easily supplied within most industrial applications where that amount of compressed air usage can be overlooked.

EXAIR’s High Lift RDV makes cleaning out pits up to 15′ deep easy and fast.

If Binford manufactured a compressed air liquid vacuum, it would be the High Lift Reversible Drum Vac. This is the, “More Power” version of the RDV and can pull up to 180″ of water column when in vacuum mode. This can pull water-soluble coolants up to 15 feet below grade for those large machining centers that sit over the top of a coolant pit or those large footprint machines where a 20′ hose is needed to reach into and around the parts of the machine to where the coolant or liquid is housed. Another application would be for oil-based coolants or other petroleum-based oils/higher viscosity fluids. This will still discharge liquids at 166″ of water column when in positive displacement. The unit will outperform its predecessor and that comes with higher utilization of compressed air. While operating at 80 psig inlet pressure the unit will consume 43 SCFM of compressed air. This volume of air is still easily located within most industrial environments and is still less than the amount demanded by competitive units that do not offer the reversible feature of the High Lift Reversible Drum Vacs.

When it boils down to it, the High Lift Reversible Drum Vac will perform every task of the standard Reversible Drum Vac and will perform the vacuum portion of those tasks all faster due to the higher level of vacuum. When this higher level of vacuum isn’t needed, when the sump is at ground level and the coolant or liquid is around the viscosity of 50 weight motor oil or thinner then the standard RDV will work ideal for the application and would be the most efficient method to get the job done. When the liquid is higher viscosity or below ground level trying to pull it up out of a pit then the High Lift Reversible Drum Vac is the ideal tool to get the job done. Again, Al Borland had it right, more power is not always needed, sometimes it is better to keep it efficient.

If you would like to discuss your liquid vacuum application or any point of use compressed air application, please contact us. (Heck, I’ll even talk about Home Improvement if you are a fan too.)

Brian Farno
Application Engineer


Best of Home Improvement so 1 eo01 More Power – @shary h –

Supply Side Review: Heat of Compression-Type Dryers

The supply side of a compressed air system has many critical parts that factor in to how well the system operates and how easily it can be maintained.   Dryers for the compressed air play a key role within the supply side are available in many form factors and fitments.  Today we will discuss heat of compression-type dryers.

Heat of compression-type dryer- Twin Tower Version

Heat of compression-type dryers are a regenerative desiccant dryer that take the heat from the act of compression to regenerate the desiccant.  By using this cycle they are grouped as a heat reactivated dryer rather than membrane technology, deliquescent type, or refrigerant type dryers.   They are also manufactured into two separate types.

The single vessel-type heat of compression-type dryer offers a no cycling action in order to provide continuous drying of throughput air.  The drying process is performed within a single pressure vessel with a rotating desiccant drum.  The vessel is divided into two air streams, one is a portion of air taken straight off the hot air exhaust from the air compressor which is used to provide the heat to dry the desiccant. The second air stream is the remainder of the air compressor output after it has been processed through the after-cooler. This same air stream passes through the drying section within the rotating desiccant drum where the air is then dried.  The hot air stream that was used for regeneration passes through a cooler just before it gets reintroduced to the main air stream all before entering the desiccant bed.  The air exits from the desiccant bed and is passed on to the next point in the supply side before distribution to the demand side of the system.

The  twin tower heat of compression-type dryer operates on the same theory and has a slightly different process.  This system divides the air process into two separate towers.  There is a saturated tower (vessel) that holds all of the desiccant.  This desiccant is regenerated by all of the hot air leaving the compressor discharge.  The total flow of compressed air then flows through an after-cooler before entering the second tower (vessel) which dries the air and then passes the air flow to the next stage within the supply side to then be distributed to the demand side of the system.

The heat of compression-type dryers do require a large amount of heat and escalated temperatures in order to successfully perform the regeneration of the desiccant.  Due to this they are mainly observed being used on systems which are based on a lubricant-free rotary screw compressor or a centrifugal compressor.

No matter the type of dryer your system has in place, EXAIR still recommends to place a redundant point of use filter on the demand side of the system.  This helps to reduce contamination from piping, collection during dryer down time, and acts as a fail safe to protect your process.  If you would like to discuss supply side or demand side factors of your compressed air system please contact us.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer


Heat of compression image: Compressed Air Challenge: Drive down your energy costs with heat of compression recovery: