Complete Your Workshop With a Compressed Air Dryer
Compressed air is vital to the daily operation of many workshops in a wide variety of industries. One element critical to the proper operation and performance of compressed air systems is humidity control, since excess air moisture can cause corrosion of tools and compressors as well as ruin sensitive processes. Air dryers are critical maintenance items that can have huge impacts on the bottom line of industry pros and amateur craftsmen alike.How do you choose an air dryer for your compressor?
There are multiple types of dryer systems available, each with unique benefits and disadvantages. While most types are fundamentally the same, there are some advanced systems that are aimed at precision humidity control for sensitive applications like painting and medical processes. Here are a few of the most common types:
- Desiccant filter systems - This is the simplest form of moisture control, and its also the least expensive. These systems are passive and typically consist of a sealed canister of activated charcoal installed inline.
- Coalescent filter/desiccant combo - These systems employ two drying elements in series. This system type is also passive but usually incorporates a pressure regulator. The coalescent filter removes the bulk of the moisture, increasing the life span of the desiccant. These systems are the most common and are ideal for the majority of light and heavy-duty air usage.
- Refrigerated air dryer systems - This is the most complex and least affordable type of dryer. These systems are sealed air conditioning units requiring power supply and flow control, which is built-in in most cases.
As most dryer systems are passive, there is little maintenance required. The simplest desiccant systems only require replacement at regular intervals based on usage. Coalescent/Desiccant combo dryers require the least maintenance by far. The coalescent element does not require replacement. Simply empty the water trap when the chamber fills beyond an indicated level. The desiccant does require replacement but at even longer intervals than a desiccant-only system. In this regard, it is feasible based on usage to go a year or longer without having to perform any maintenance to this type of system. The refrigerated style systems will require lubrication of motors and belts in addition to cleaning of power terminals.What are the airflow ratings of air dryer systems?
Most air drying systems are fully capable of operating in flow ranges from 10CFM to over 200CFM. If higher flow ranges of 250 CFM or more are required, solutions are limited to larger format refrigerated units. These units are the only option due to the requirement for large inlet and outlet pipes to handle the volume. Also, other passive systems do not have the capacity to treat such large amounts of air in a short time window.