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Compressed Air Treatment

From dryers to filters to aftercoolers, learn more about the products used to treat your air after compression.

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The Ultimate Guide to Compressed Air Treatment.

Air DryersIf you're compressing air, there's a good chance you're going to need an air dryer! Air dryers are ancillary pieces of compressed air equipment used to help remove excess moisture from compressed air. Dryers can either be integrated into the air compressor itself or standalone, though having an integrated dryer does result in a decreased compressor footprint. Technology-wise, there are three types of dryers:

  • Refrigerated Dryers. This type of dryer cools the compressed air, which allows a large amount of water to condensate and separate. Refrigerant dryers are the most common dryer technology.
  • Desiccant Dryers. With a desiccant dryer, moist compressed air flows over hygroscopic material (desiccant) and is subsequently dried. These dryers are ideal for applications requiring extremely dry, clean air - including pharmaceutical and chemical. 
  • Membrane Dryers. Filtered, wet compressed air enters cylinders that contain tousands of hollow polymer fibers. The membrane coating letswater vapor permeate the membrane wall and collect between the fibers, while the dry air continues through the fibers in the cylinder at almost the same pressure as the incoming wet air.

Check out our newest resource, Is Your Dryer OverDew?

Aftercoolers. Often built into compressors, aftercoolers are heat exchangers that cool the compressed air. This lets the moisture in the air precipate out, helping to prevent condensate from entering the piping network.

Air Receivers. Also referred to as compressed air tanks, an air receiver will store the compressed air prior to it entering piping or other types of compressed air equipment.

Filters. Compressed air filters are necessary to ensure the quality of compressed air. They work to remove contaminants from the compressed air, including particles, water and oil vapor, and aerosols. There are a variety of filters available:

  • Particulate Filters. These filters are effective in removing dry, solid particles from compressed air. ISO 8573-1:2010 can be used to specify the level of solid particles removal needed.
  • Coalescing Filters. As it's name would suggest, a coalescing filter coalesces small drops of liquid into bigger droplets. The large droplets then fall from the filter into a moisture trap. 
  • Vapor Removal Filters. This filter type uses absorption to capture and remove gaseous contaminants that pass through a coalescing filter.

Oil-Water Separators. Oil-water separators capture the oil in a compressor's condensate to allow for proper disposal in a safe and environmentally-friendly way. 

Drains. Automatic condensate drainage that collects at multiple points in the compressed air system, including the compressor aftercooler, filter drains, refrigerant dryer drains, the bottom of the air receiver, and other low points in the system after compression. In many cases, drains are electronically controlled, monitoring condensate build-up with liquid level sensors that detect and know when absolutely necessary to evacuate the condensate, minimizing spoilage of already compressed air.

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