Improving your Air Line Installation
Inadequate or poorly designed compressed air distribution systems can lead to low productivity, poor air tool performance and perhaps more importantly, high energy bills. Whether you’re designing a new compressed air system or making changes to an existing one, if you want to operate a compressed air system that performs at its optimum – efficiently and reliably – then it is important from the outset to carefully consider the design, layout and installation to meet the needs of your applications.
What do you think is essential for achieving high productivity and optimal functioning of any air tool? Yes, it is an optimised air line installation. Having selected the correct tool for your job, some additional effort must be spent on the air line installation and infrastructure. Many inefficiencies will creep in if you don’t consider the details.
When it comes to compressed air systems, two of the most common terms are air pressure and air flow – let us first understand what these mean and how they are measured:
Air Pressure determines the compressor’s ability to perform a specified amount of work at any given point in time. The compressor must provide the right amount of pressure, or force, needed to complete the process. Too little pressure means the job won’t get done, whereas too much pressure can damage the equipment and cause unexpected malfunctions. Commonly used pressure measurement units are pounds per square inch (psi) or bar (b)
Most of the pressure drops occur between the pipe-end and the tool. The choice of the right air line accessories is critical to ensure the correct functioning of your tools and the productivity of your applications. Every item on the air line installation creates pressure drop. By selecting the right accessories, you will significantly reduce this phenomenon.
For pre-tool air preparation, the first recommended accessory is the FRL (filter, regulator and lubricator). This element is essential to ensure the right air flow and pressure at the tool inlet.
Air flow is the compressor’s ability to continue performing a certain task. The amount of flow needed depends on the length of time required to complete the task. With insufficient flow, the compressor will require breaks to rebuild pressure in the compressor’s reserve tank. Flow is the volume of fluid through a surface per unit time. The commonly used air flow measurement unit is cubic feet per minute (cfm).
To improve the air line installation, giving more power and efficiency to the air tool reliant production, it is important to know the correct things to do.
- Plan the air infrastructure in a factory and use proper product setups which will be beneficial in terms of tool efficiency, energy waste and minimize running costs for the system.
- Choose the correct air tool, as the pressure drop in an installation depends on the volume of air flow required by the air tool: the higher the flow – the higher the pressure drop
- Facilities should size their compressors to power applications with the proper air volume and flow rate so that energy is not wasted
Some extra recommendation to improve your air line installation include:
- Compressed Air Dryers. provide high quality dry air – refrigerated air dyers
- Lubrication can prolong lifetime. Use a filter and regulator to set and monitor clean, dry, lubricated air.
- Distance – keep it as short as possible. Use the correct type of hose, max 3-5 meters/10-16 ft.
- Inlet thread dimension. Choose the correct nipple for each tool. Full flow couplings for best performance. Did you know the wrong couplings dimension is the main reason for localised pressure drops?
- Air consumption. Consider using larger pipe sizes and couplings to ensure correct air pressure to the tools.
- Allowable pressure drop. Avoid leakages, listen for them!
- Working environment. Install a more resistant air line system if working outdoors or in rough environments.
Whether you’re considering a new compressed air line installation or making changes to an existing one, Air Tools WA are here to assist in every stage of the design, supply, and installation. We design air line installations for maximum productivity and efficiency, and we understand that factories and workshops have changing needs and that a correctly installed system should be flexible enough to be adapted to with minimum impact to business productivity while maintaining performance, durability and ensuring operator safety. Contact us today to find out more.