You find out that your pneumatic equipment warranty states that the warranty applies when using clean, dry air. What does this mean? It means that you need the right air prep equipment based on your application. The air prep pros at Norgren gave us these important tips in maintaining your air preparation units for your pneumatic solutions.
Employ shut-off valves to provide safety during maintenance and repair operations
One of the most underutilized products in the industry is the shut-off valve that can also be locked out while the personnel is performing maintenance and repair on your compressed air system. It is a best practice to use multiple padlocks to require both the supervisor of the area, as well as the maintenance person, to unlock the shut-off valve once they agree when the system is safe to be turned back on.
Maintain filters regularly
Cleaning filters as a standard maintenance operation helps to reduce pressure drop and save compressor costs over the long haul. Clogged filters lower the efficiency of your compressor, limit the flow of air through lines, and generally increase energy costs. Having filter elements cleaned and/or replaced regularly is a first-line function of maintaining your air pressure system.
Use the right filter
There are several types of contaminants in a compressed airline. The most common are particulate, water, and oil. Which filter(s) you select depends on your process’s requirements. General-purpose filters remove particles and liquid water. Basically, all pneumatic applications need a general-purpose filter as dirty/wet air is never good for a system. Coalescing/oil removal filters remove liquid oil as well as extremely small particles (down to 0.01 microns). Vapor removal filters remove oil vapor (odor is eliminated when oil vapor is removed).
Apply metal filter bowls for high pressure applications
Although metal filter bowls are often offered as an option or an accessory for compressed air filters, these components add an additional layer of protection to your system, particularly when pressures are very high or when there is a risk of chemicals or solvents being in the compressed air. Some chemicals and solvents attack and weaken plastic/polycarbonate bowls. Consider your application, as well as the environment, when deciding on this option. If you have any concerns, opt for safety.
Install automatic condensate drains to your air system
Dumping water easily and regularly from your compressed air system reduces the chances of water carryover. Contaminants can enter an air system in multiple areas, which means drains must operate properly for filters and separators to be successful in completing their task, saving on increased operating costs as well as increased need for maintenance of filters. If the liquid isn’t drained from the bowl before it reaches a certain level, the liquid will be pulled into the system. Installing an auto-drain—that drains once the liquid reaches a certain height—is preferable to using a manual drain since it is a fit-and-forget option.
Employ lubrication as part of your maintenance solution
It is well-known among maintenance and engineering workers that proper lubrication can help equipment last longer, particularly under stressful and dynamic operations. When it comes to your compressed air valves and cylinders, proper and regular lubrication can greatly extend the life of your equipment. Particularly on un/pre-lubricated valves and cylinders, using a lubricator will extend the life of those units by three to four times. If your application has intricate piping, or the lubricated air needs to travel uphill, a micro-fog type of lubricator must be used.
Properly choose and operate pressure regulators
Variation in your application’s processes can cause a variety of problems. By installing pressure regulators, you can hold the outlet pressure constant even while inlet pressure fluctuates—which reduces variations in your process. Most applications benefit from a relieving regulator, which keeps the set pressure, even if additional pressure is introduced downstream. A relieving regulator also allows you to reset pressure by reversing the knob if you overshoot your set pressure during the initial setup.
Non-relieving regulators are typically used in 3 environments:
1. When the media is a liquid, non-relieving regulators prevent the liquid from relieving onto the floor when outlet pressure increases above the set pressure.
2. When the media is a dangerous gas, non-relieving regulators prevent the gas from being expelled into the environment where employees might be.
3. When the media is an expensive gas, non-relieving regulators prevent costly leaks.
Be sure to employ pressure switches and feedback
Continual monitoring and control of the pressure in your air system are key when trying to manage energy use and efficiency in your processes. Pressure monitoring devices, such as pressure gauges and pressure switches, are key components to this critical aspect because they provide accurate pressure feedback and adjustment capability. Providing this level of control, along with other tips in this article, will help your equipment last longer and deliver the results you need.
Incorporate smooth start valves
Wear is a major concern for your compressed air system components. Hard starts put far more strain on your system than some would believe. By simply incorporating smooth start valves, you greatly reduce startup wear exponentially. Furthermore, soft start valves increase the safety of the system. Injuries can occur if people are near equipment that moves or snaps into place when air is introduced to a system. A smooth/soft start valve will make those movements nice and slow.
Using these tips that Norgren has provided will have your system running at its optimal levels while prolonging machine life. MISUMI has a solid line of Filters, Regulators, Lubricators, and combo units for your selection here.