When it comes to compressed air, air quality is of the utmost importance. All compressors need to undergo regular servicing in order to deliver superior air quality and improve the functionality of both your system and its components.
If you don’t implement some air quality controls, such as dryers and filters, then you will be at the mercy of both machine and environmental conditions. All air compressors draw in contaminated air, and most air compressors are fluid lubricated, so if nothing is done to manage what passes through to the compressed air network adverse contamination can result.
Dryers are the most effective and most common compressed air treatment item and there are a range of options depending on applications and requirements. Filters are also a vital component in order to produce the air quality level the compressed air system needs. If your compressor is running hot, then you are at risk of higher moisture and greater oil carryover. With a filter in the system then, at the very least, you have a control point to mitigate fluctuating network air quality.
The ISO standard 8573-1 is a really good reference point, as this is how treatment components are specified. For more information on this quality standard download our guide here. By talking to one of our compressed air experts, they can explain the ISO standard and through asking some pertinent questions, they will guide you to the right treatment level for your circumstances.
Implementing your own internal “housekeeping” checks is vital to achieving proper air quality. Your compressed air service provider is not usually on site regularly, so there needs to be someone who is onsite to take responsibility for checking that everything is running normally.
Plummer Compressors recommends the following checks:
- If your air receiver is after a refrigerant dryer, implement a daily check where someone cracks the drain valve – if it is not dry then you have a problem.
- Have coalescing filters drain into a translucent bottle – if you glance at it periodically you will then notice if the bottle is suddenly full or rapidly filling.
- Create a logbook for the checks – this helps to make sure the checks do occur, plus there is then a record of what is normal when someone new completes the checks. Click HERE to contact us for free assistance in creating a log book specific to your system.
Once you have internal housekeeping protocols to follow, there are key steps you can implement to ensure you are producing the correct air quality for the applications you are running. Examples of air applications range from plant air – used to power pneumatic tools; process air, found in pharmaceutical and food industries; and breathing air which is used in spray painting and hospital air systems.
The three key steps that we recommend to take for ensuring the appropriate quality compressed air are as follows:
1. Determine what air quality level you need – What uses compressed air? What is the impact of water, oil or dust contamination for those users or contact points? Air quality is split into class ratings that cover the three main contaminants: oil, water and solid particles.
2. Talk to an expert who can assess whether your current treatment components meet that need. Ask site staff whether there have been any historical problems – as this may also identify any treatment weaknesses.
3. Install any changes and then implement your own set of checks (so you know the system is working) – as was outlined above.
The current economic climate means we are all facing new business challenges. Compressed air is generally an essential utility – if it stops, production stops. While cutting equipment maintenance in testing times may seem like a good idea in the short-term, it may be a choice that is regretted if it stops your entire production and results in larger resultant losses.
Air quality requirements vary from business to business but making sure you are producing the correct air quality for your applications needs to be a high priority, particularly if you want to do it in an efficient and cost-effective manner.
Get in touch with one of our compressed air technicians to discuss your needs.