Removing Condensation Is Key To Maintaining Performance

When air is compressed, it is heated to a point that causes the water or moisture  to turn to vapor. As the air begins to cool, the vapors turn to condensation, which can cause performance issues in a compressed air system. Many times this condensation forms in the basic components in the system like a receiver tank, dryer or filter.

Condensation is formed from water vapor in the air

It’s important to remove this condensation from the system before it causes any issues. There are four basic types of condensate drains that can be used to limit or prevent loss of air in the system.

The first method would be to have an operator manually drain the condensation through a drain port or valve. This is the least reliable method though as now it’s the operator’s responsibility to make sure they close the valve so the system doesn’t allow any air to escape which can lead to pressure drops and poor end-use device performance.

Example of a float drain

Secondly, a float or inverted bucket trap system can be used in plants with regular monitoring and maintenance programs in place to ensure proper performance.. These types of drain traps typically require a higher level of maintenance and have the potential to lose air if not operating properly.

An electrically actuated drain valve can be used to automatically drain the condensate at a preset time or interval. Typically these incorporate a solenoid valve  or motorized ball valve with some type of timing control.  These types of systems can be unreliable though as the valve may open without any moisture being present in the line, which can result in air loss or it may not be actuated open long enough for acceptable drain off. With these types of drains, it’s best to use some type of strainer to remove any particulate that could cause adverse performance.

Lastly,  zero air-loss traps utilize a reservoir and a float or level sensor to drain the condensate and maintain a satisfactory level. This type of setup is very reliable but does require the reservoir be drained frequently to keep the system clean and free of debris or contaminants.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss a particular process, contact an application engineer for assistance.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

 

Condensation image courtesy of Anders Sandberg via creative commons license

Float drain image courtesy of the Compressed Air Challenge

20 Year Old Cabinet Cooling System Still Working Today

Recently, I had dinner with some family that I hadn’t seen in a quite a while.  As part of catching up and reminiscing about old times, the discussion went to professions and ‘what are you doing now?’  I told my uncle that I was doing Application Engineering for EXAIR Corporation, and he asked about what we do. I responded that we manufacture an extensive array of Intelligent Compressed Air Products, and then gave a few specifics, like Air Knives, Line Vacs, and Cabinet Cooler Systems. Since my uncle had worked in the chemical process and research industry for many years, he was at least familiar with the products I had mentioned.  He then shared stories about the facility he works at, and because I had worked there many years ago in college (driving a forklift), he knew I would appreciate hearing about all the changes in the last quarter decade.  Eventually, the evening came to and end and we went our separate ways.

Very soon after I received a text message with the below photo attached. Sure enough, my uncle had come across an EXAIR Cabinet Cooler System installed in his facility.  Based on the photo, I identified it as a NEMA 12 model, with a cooling capacity of 275 or 550 BTU/hr. When I did an order history search, I confirmed it was a model 4208 (550 BTU/hr) and found it had shipped in August of 1995, and that my uncle’s name was listed as the order contact, since he placed the order.

Small World!

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Model 4208, NEMA 12 Cabinet Cooler System, Installed in 1995 – Still Working Today

Speaking of small worlds, the model 4208 and it’s little brother model 4204, are perfect for small cabinet enclosures that have a minor amounts of internal heat generation, such as a power supply, or moderate outside heat transfer.  Capable of producing 550 BTU/hr and 275 BTU/hr of cooling while using just 8 and 4 SCFM of 100 PSIG compressed air, the EXAIR Cabinet Cooler Systems offer a great way to keep cabinets cool and worry free, as evidenced by over 20 years of operation.  Just provide clean air (a simple 5 micron water/dirt filter is recommended) and it will operate worry free for a long time.

EXAIR manufactures Cabinet Cooler Systems from 275 to 5600 BTU/hr, for NEMA 12, NEMA 4 and NEMA 4X enclosures. They are available in Continuous Operation, (2) Types of Thermostat Control, special designs for High Temperature environments, and a Non- Hazardous Purge. Materials of construction include aluminum, stainless steel, and type 316 stainless steel.

To discuss your application and how an EXAIR Cabinet Cooler System would help out, feel free to contact EXAIR and one of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer

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