Inline Filtration for Your Compressor – A Practical Guide
What is inline filtration? Why does it matter? And what are the filtration options for the air compressor in your South Yorkshire business? Here’s our guide.
Why do air compressors need filters?
Every workspace is contaminated by airborne dust and debris. And every compressor generates its own aerosol of water and/or oil vapour. When that dust and vapour are sucked into your air compressor they can affect airflow, clog pipework and damage air tool performance. Filters scrub contaminants from the air, ensuring that the air that reaches the air tools is clean.
What is inline filtration?
Inline filtration is so called because the filters are housed within the compressed air system rather than externally.
Do all air compressors need the same filtration?
No. It’s all a question of what jobs your compressed air is performing. As a simple example, consider these two extremes:
1. Your air compressor is powering a paint sprayer. Here, anything that disrupts a constant pressure and flow is going to make achieving a great finish more challenging. Worse still, if contaminants are allowed to reach the sprayer itself they can be spat out into the paint finish itself.
2. Your compressor is used to inflate tyres. Here, a disruption in pressure and flow may mean the tyre takes longer to fill – and contaminants within the system will eventually harm the compressor – but there is clearly a lesser need for well-filtered air.
Depending on your filtration needs you might choose one central filter to supply clean air to every workstation. Or you could install a downline filter close to certain end users, which could be used to tailor the filtration levels to the demands of each workstation.
Your choice will typically be determined by the number and type of tools your South Yorkshire compressed air system powers.
Why does my choice of filter matter?
Choosing the right inline filtration for your compressed air system matters because:
a) Get the filtration wrong (i.e. too little filtration) and you could damage the end product
b) Without filtration, contaminants can affect the reliability of the compressor, increasing the risk of breakdown
c) There’s a filtration trade-off. The higher the level of filtration required, the greater the pressure drop. And that pressure drop increases as the filter becomes clogged (which is why regular cleaning of the filters is essential). To overcome the pressure drop you need to increase the pressure setpoint and that increases energy usage, driving up energy costs and compressor wear.
How can I limit the pressure drop and cost of filtration?
There’s really no way to avoid a pressure trade-off – filtration is essential and pressure will always be affected – but there are two things you can do to minimise the effect:
i) Tailor the filtration to the task. As we saw above, not every task requires high level filtration. Choosing the right level of filtration can ensure an appropriate balance of clean air, cost and compressor wear.
ii) Choose a better filter. The better the filter quality, the lower the pressure drop and the slower the rate is likely to drop further.
From carbon activated filters which absorb oil vapour, to clean air filters that conform to respiratory protection standard BS EN 529:2005 (so everyone can breathe more easily) talk to Algar Air about the inline filtration that can protect your people and your production.
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