Performance, Precision, Partnership

Managing downstream compressed air quality

With uses for compressed air growing every day, there is a diverse variation in air quality requirements. The concentration of airborne contaminants during the compression process means the compressed air will inevitably need some form of air treatment before the point of use.

With a wide range of downstream equipment available to satisfy the most demanding compressed air treatment needs, selecting the right equipment can feel like a complex task. And these decisions will affect everything from maintenance schedules to the on-going costs associated with achieving the required air quality standards.

In this blog, we provide an overview on specifying air treatment equipment, and the range of technologies available.

Location, location, location

The first step should be to define the precise compressed air purity requirements, ideally using the ISO 8573-1 standard, which is an internationally recognised standard detailing contaminants in compressed air and defining purity classes for them.

It is recommended that compressed air is treated:

  • Prior to entry into the distribution system
  • At critical usage points and applications, which ensures any contamination already in the distribution system is removed

Purification equipment should ideally be installed where the air is at the lowest possible temperature, i.e. downstream of air receivers. Point-of-use purification equipment should also be installed as close as possible to the application.

To allow correct sizing and selection of downstream equipment, the following operating parameters must be identified:

  • The maximum compressed air flow rate into the filters/dryer
  • The minimum operating pressure into the filters/dryer
  • The maximum operating temperature into the filters/dryer
  • The maximum ambient air temperature where the equipment is to be installed
  • The required dewpoint for dryers

Together, these can have a major influence on product sizing and performance.

For each air treatment technology, there will be a variety of questions to ask. For example, when choosing filtration, you will need to check:

  • Has it been sized correctly? Can the filter handle the compressed air flow rate at the minimum system pressure and maximum system temperature?
  • What grade of filtration is needed? Is single or multi-stage filtration required? Are you specifying at the compressor house or point of use?
  • What budget is available? Filters are often seen as a commodity and purchased on price, but is it worth compromising on performance? Has a total cost of ownership approach been taken, rather than just focusing on the initial purchase price?

Purification technologies

There are a wide range of purification technologies found in a typical compressed air treatment system. These include:

  • Compressor intake filtration
  • After-cooling
  • Air receivers
  • Filtration
  • Drying
  • Condensate management

Choose HPC KAESER air treatment and condensate solutions

HPC KAESER offers a complete product portfolio for combating the enemies of your compressed air application – one which makes no compromises when it comes to dry and pure air – from straightforward construction site use to highly complex electronics production.

Contact HPC or one of our Authorised Distributors to speak to an experienced and knowledgeable HPC KAESER trained engineer about your compressed air treatment requirements.

HPC is a member of the British Compressed Air Society (BCAS), which is spearheading a campaign to cut compressed air energy wastage. The goal is to take the equivalent of 317,000 cars off the road, saving UK business over £147.5 million. Visit the BCAS 10% Taskforce website to find out more.