In an industrial manufacturing environment, MRO managers and manufacturing engineers recognize that reliability and quality of key elements of the infrastructure are paramount to sustainable success. Compressed air, widely recognized as the fourth utility alongside water, electricity and natural gas, is heavily relied upon to meet production schedules and financial objectives, and, ultimately, drive the manufacturing process. Compressed air is used to operate everything from HVAC components to highly customized pneumatic equipment and instrumentation. Compressed air quality — levels of oil, water and solid contaminants — will vary by application. But what is consistent is the user's need for invariable purity and a continuous supply of compressed air to specific areas of use.
Learn about new cost-saving solutions for compressed air treatment. Download brochure.
Do older technologies offer insufficient protection?
Compressed air filtration and drying technologies have been around for years and are found In most manufacturing plants. Air dryers typically utilize refrigeration or desiccant technologies to remove water vapour and contamination from compressed air. Some compressed air dryers incorporate filtration as a pre and/or post-treatment process. But the presence of these devices does not assure the air quality is suitable for the equipment and application. As today’s testing and manufacturing criteria have become more refined, and production schedules have become more aggressive, it is important that companies upgrade their compressed air treatment accordingly. Yesterday’s drying and filtration technologies may simply be insufficient protection for the equipment found in today’s production facilities. In fact, outdated technologies may be limiting production capabilities by failing to prevent contamination of the air.
The importance of air quality
In a typical compressed air system, there are several major contaminants:
- Water vapour
- Condensed water
- Oil vapour
- Liquid oil and oil aerosols
- Atmospheric dirt
- Rust and pipe scale
If only a few of these contaminants enter a clean, sterile environment or production process, it can have a costly impact on product quality, and may even render a product entirely unfit for use and subject to recall.
Upgrading the compressed air treatment system to a modern, efficient design will eliminate the risks associated with these contaminants.
Selection of a turnkey system, with Third Party validation, takes the guesswork out of selecting, assembling and installing compressed air treatment components. The inclusion of a validated system will have a direct, positive impact on production efficiencies and cost containment. It will deliver peace of mind and complete confidence in this element of the manufacturing process.
Meeting today's manufacturing needs
Today, MRO managers and manufacturing engineers are challenged to find opportunities for energy consumption reductions. Many older air treatment technologies waste compressed air through leaks and regeneration processes. Fortunately, compressed air treatment equipment manufacturers are aware of this, and many are placing a high priority on finding energy reduction enhancements that can be incorporated into their designs.
Dryer manufacturers are also striving to provide the quality, efficiency, productivity and, ultimately the security that users of compressed air in production demand. The best manufacturers have listened to users and have identified the top needs in compressed air treatment: high performance, reliable operation, low maintenance, user-friendly designs, and low total cost of ownership — delivered through reasonable initial costs, low maintenance expense and reduced energy consumption.
Parker Zander for example recently introduced two new compressed air treatment systems designed to meet today’s demanding production requirements. The Clean Dry Air System (CDAS) and Oil Free Air System (OFAS) incorporate state-of-the-art technology and deliver 100% Third Party validated compressed air quality and high efficiency — in a single package. The CDAS is validated to ISO 7183 and ISO 8573-1 standards and the OFAS is validated to ISO 8587-1 Class 0 for total oil.
Both systems use a specialist snowstorm filling process that maximises packing density, prevents channeling effects, ensures a consistent dewpoint and contributes to the lowest differential pressure available.
These systems integrate Parker domnick hunter’s sophisticated Oil-X pre and post filtration into the design. The systems also include Parker’s Energy Savings Technology (EST) that uses a propriety dewpoint sensor to constantly monitor the condition of the outlet air and control the regeneration cycle. This ensures the energy consumed by the dryer is proportional to the amount of water vapour present and not the dryer’s maximum rated capacity, resulting in an energy savings of up to 85%.
In conclusion, as testing and manufacturing criteria have become more refined, manufacturers are sourcing compressed air treatment solutions that offer consistent high performance and efficiency combined with reduced energy consumption, lower service and maintenance costs and reduced downtime.
Watch this video to learn more about Parker's new CDAS and OFAS compressed air treatment systems:
This article was contributed by James Brown, CAGT and AGS sales manager, Parker Hannifin, United Kingdom.