Why Do I Need to Dry My Air?
When it comes to compressing air, moisture is the enemy of productivity and if you want to be productive you need dry compressed air. The ambient air around us contains much more moisture than you’d expect, as we don’t feel these particles in the air due to their distance apart from each other, but when air is compressed the area in which the water vapor exists becomes a much smaller area and thus the water vapor starts to condense.
As these particles condense into water, they can be trapped in the air system and cause damage to the different components of your air system. The levels of condensation that can form are dependent on the quantity of air being compressed, how often the machine runs, and other environmental factors. The variety of these factors can influence the degree to which you need to have dry compressed air.
Condensate build-up is the silent killer of compressor systems as it occurs outside of our visual field. The removal of condensate in your airline should be a high priority during your routine checks. If condensate is not removed, it can deteriorate your air system from the inside. Routine system checkups and maintenance can help prevent condensate build-up from becoming catastrophic to your business.
Condensate can provide a problem to your system during all times of the year, but the more humid the ambient air is, the more water vapor will be present. This requires more time or energy to dry the air and remove all the excess moisture. Not only can the system suffer during the summer, but the cold winter air can also give the system trouble with evaporation and cause interior build-up. By investing in the proper equipment to dry compressed air, you can avoid this build-up.
Water is detrimental to the equipment in the long run and can also be harmful to productivity and operation before it becomes a noticeable problem. The water can block the air from moving along the stream and will reduce the volume of air reaching pneumatic air tools and other instruments dependent on a consistent air supply. Keeping constant airflow is extremely important when it comes to a healthy air system, as water buildup is detrimental to the internal components especially.
The water in your pipes may become noticeable sooner rather than later due to water hammer events, where the water knocks into equipment and the sound coming off resembles the banging of a hammer. Not only can this build-up cause problem, but these water hammers could knock other particulates loose that may be stuck in the piping or farther downstream of the compressor. These particulates can then be mixed into the air even after filtration and ruin the quality of the product air.
Excess moisture provides room for problems all along the air system, it can be detrimental to air tools, piping, and every piece of equipment that has compressed air pass through it. So it would be safe to assume that having a high-quality dryer can save you stress and money in the long term. It is important to consider the ramifications of how the inclusion of or upgrading of a dryer can affect the air system as a whole. It needs to be sized properly and fitted to match the cfm along with having the proper connections in order to ensure that you have dry compressed air.
I’m Looking For A Dryer
Knowing what you need is extremely important when you are making a change to your air system due to the need to control the air being kept at high pressures. When you are looking for your next piece of equipment, a few things are important to make sure you get the best out of your dry compressed air:
- Flow Rate or Compressor Size
- Ambient Temperature / Humidity Content
- Inlet Temperature
- Pressure Dew Point (PDP)
It is important to understand the intricacies of the requirements of the system to make sure it is working at the best efficiency and having the highest output. So knowing information like the average flow rate or cfm of your compressor and the cfm in the air stream can help you understand the pressure it is operating at. The environment around the compressor can also affect what equipment you need as the ambient temperature and humidity can have adverse effects on the system as they can make it easier for condensation to form inside the system.
Inlet Temperature and Pressure both play a big role in the level of condensation present in the air. If the temperature of the air entering the dryer is higher, more condensation will be present, but on the inverse of this, the more pressure there is the less actual water is in the air, like draining a sponge. With the increase in pressure, it becomes more difficult for the water molecules to remain in the air stream, instead this pressure can cause the water to form into condensate.
Pressure Dew Point or PDP is a standard used to measure the water content in compressed air and is referring to the temperature at which the water begins condensing. This can also be described as the point at which the air can no longer hold onto any more water vapor. This will be dependent on the size of the dryer and the capabilities that it has for condensate removal. When you have dry compressed air, the temperature at which the water condensates or the dew point, is lowered so that the air has to drop in temperature for the moisture to turn to liquid.
If you feel like you need to invest in a new dryer because of this, have no worries A10 can help you get started on correctly drying your air for the health of your system. Practices like this promote longevity with proper care and maintenance. If you would like to get started, go to our FORM and fill out your information to get a quote.
Want to Learn More?
Watch this video from Atlas Copco about condensate build-up and why you should dry your air.