Compressed air quality testing is important as, it goes without saying that, we need to breathe fresh in order to maintain good health. This is especially so for businesses that use compressed air systems in their workplace.
There are a number of contaminants in the air that you need to protect your compressed air system from too in order to produce the quality air needed for your operation. Water, oil and dust will contaminate your air, as well as increase production costs and impact performance.
Let’s take a closer look why compressed air quality testing is important and how you can remove unwanted substances from your system, now and in the future.
The Importance of Compressed Air Quality Testing
Decrease Adverse Health Effects
By testing your air quality, you can identify the levels of oxygen, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, water content and lubricants in the air. By assessing them against the Health and Safety Executive (EH40) and BS EN 12021 standards, you will be able to see if it is clean and safe enough for workers.
Indoor pollution can lead to respiratory problems and other serious health issues. Therefore, it is important to check in order to decrease any employee absence rates and ensure their work environment is comfortable and healthy.
Improve Air Compressor Performance
Compressed air quality testing is also a great way to assess your air compressor’s performance and productivity. It will give you the ability to identify any leaks or warning signs that could lead to the system breaking. This can give you great peace of mind to know that your compressor is working and functioning properly.
Reduce Energy Costs
Following on from the above, assessing compressor performance and productivity lead to detecting ways to reduce energy consumption. This could be by identifying any blockages in the lines leading to the system or highlighting the lack of ventilation which is making the air compressor work harder than it needs to. By reducing energy consumption, you can save yourself money on your energy bills too.
How Often Should Compressed Air Be Tested?
Compressed air quality testing should be provided every three months or every time your air compressor is moved. Regular testing means your business will be able to maintain safety compliances and solutions can be efficiently found for any problems.
How to Improve Your Compressed Air Quality
To ensure your operation runs smoothly and you comply with the correct quality standards, it is important to identify your air quality needs and contaminants beforehand. Different applications and different environments require different specifications, so make sure you identify these first.
Here are the most common contaminants to help you identify which ones affect you.
One of the most common contaminants for compressed air systems is dust as it is all around in the ambient air. Once this enters your system, it can produce negative results in performance and costly consequences for your operation.
If you have an oil-lubricated compressor, oil is used as part of the compression process, so it will be present in compressed air as oil aerosols. This contaminant can damage pneumatic equipment and end products, significantly increasing operating.
Hydrocarbons, also known as oil vapour, are present in the ambient air and can contaminate compressed air when it condenses within the system. There are air filters available to specifically tackle this problem, so no equipment or end products will be damaged.
How to Remove Unwanted Substances from an Air Compressor
Remove Dust, Dirt & Debris with a Filter
By installing an air filter on the suction side of your compressor, you are able to stop contamination at the source. This will stop dust from entering and save it from wearing down vital mechanisms within your compressed air system. Regularly keeping up with necessary maintenance of these filters will ensure that your air will always be clean.
Remove Oil with an Oil/Water Separator
Oil droplets can find their way into the condensation that is produced and flow through the compressed air system. By installing an oil/water separator, the diaphragm filter separates the oil from the water and drains it off into a special receiver. This produces clean drainage water and stores it safely by following the strict environmental laws.
Remove Water with an After-Cooler
After compression, the air reaches a very high temperature, consequently increasing the water content that can be found in the compressed air system. An after-cooler, which is usually included as standard equipment, lowers the temperature of the compressed air which, in turn, reduces the water content. The remaining water will be directed away from the system as quickly as possible by the automatic drainage feature.
Remove Water with a Dryer
A refrigerated dryer cools the air to a temperature near freezing so the water content is reduced, therefore condensation will not occur. A desiccant dryer absorbs the water by passing the air through a pressure vessel that is filled with desiccant material. If investing in this method, make sure you choose the right level of drying for you so you don’t lose any money through wasted energy.
Compressed Air Quality Testing by Air Power East
At Air Power East, we are able to provide a detailed air quality test that details an assessment and evaluation of your compressed air equipment. We can help you stay on top of your air quality and compressor maintenance, so you never have to worry.
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