According to the Farmers’ Almanac, the 2019-2020 winter season could be colder and snowier winter than usual for much of the United States. Is your compressed air system ready for the colder temperatures?
Just in time for Halloween, here’s part V of our Nightmare of an Installation series.
The ambient air in a compressor room often contains contaminants: particulates such as dust, oil such as lubricant aerosols vented from equipment, and moisture. All of these contaminants are ingested into the compressor, concentrated during the compression process, passed on to the rest of the system, and without proper filtration, to the product and or process equipment. But dirt, dust, fibers in the plant can also build up on the outside of your equipment. Clogged filters, heat exchangers, fans and electrical cabinets reduce airflow and build up heat, which can be a mortal enemy to compressors and dryers. If your air system is living in a dusty dungeon, you need to increase your PM schedule to keep things clean or look at an alternative location for the equipment.
This dryer had the misfortune of being installed in such a location. Maybe a different compressor room location (and regular maintenance) would have kept away some of the creepy crawlies.
A reliable supply of clean, dry compressed air at stable pressure is vital in collision repair. Understanding air pressure, flow and quality requirements will help you extend tool life and get the best possible results in the paint booth to eliminate costly re-work caused by contaminants in the compressed air supply.
Watch the webinar below for best practices for compressed air systems in body shops. If you’re attending SEMA 2019, stop by one of the Kaeser booths to discuss how you can decrease downtime and comebacks…and increase productivity and profit.
Key design factors for evaluating a compressed air system
Common types of contaminants and how to remove them
Air treatment components to ensure clean, dry air for paint and body work
Types of dryers and tips on selecting the right one
As most people are aware, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) signed the final rule introducing Tier 4 emission standards back on May 11, 2004. This government mandate was phased in over the period of 2008-2015.
The Tier 4 mandate was designed to reduce two key pollutants: particulate matter (PM) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) compounds. NOx is known to contribute to the formation of smog and ground-level ozone. All of these have been shown to have adverse health effects on the respiratory system.
Clearly, the goals of the regulation are designed to preserve and improve health, but the rules also impact businesses making, selling, servicing, and purchasing portable air compressors and a wide range of other equipment with affected diesel engines. Rental and construction companies have seen equipment prices rise dramatically and in many cases these businesses have experienced overall increases in operating and ownership costs. With sluggish movement in rental rates increasing to offset the rising costs associated with Tier 4 final engines, profit margins are compressed.
The impact the Tier 4 final engines have on these businesses and their operations are profound. In some cases, the new engines cause outright panic to adapt to what some end users find to be complex technology but these changes impact many commonly used machines. The complications are not limited to air compressors and encompass just about every diesel engine driven product/piece of equipment in the rental store’s fleet or equipment yard of construction companies including excavators and other construction equipment, farm tractors and other agricultural equipment, forklifts, and utility equipment such as generators, pumps, and compressors.
In an effort to help educate and hopefully ease some fears, Kaeser has written a white paper to provide some basic facts and information on Tier 4 final engines. Keep in mind, however, that for a specific engine, the engine manufacturer should be the source for definitive technical information about their product.
A few posts back, we wrote about removing compressors from a bad environment for their health (away from excess heat, dust, etc.). This time we’ll talk about moving them for the safety of people. Specifically, we are talking about hazardous areas where the presence of flammable gases or liquids, combustible dusts or easily ignited fibers exist in sufficient concentrations to cause a fire or explosion, given a source of ignition (such as electricity running through a compressor).
Obviously, this might apply to parts of (or entire) chemical, oil or gas processing plants. But it could also apply in other industries we don’t think of as handling hazardous materials. Fine powders or fibers from grains, wood, etc. can create fire hazards. We’re not trying to raise the fear factor. This is not a common concern, and if it does apply in your plant, you are probably are already well aware.
In the oil & gas and petrochemical markets, there are suppliers who specialize in engineering and modifying air compressor systems and other motor-driven equipment to be “explosion proof.” This gets very expensive, very fast. It also takes time for these systems to be designed, built, installed, and certified to operate. This is specialized work and these suppliers (rightfully) charge a premium for it.
In the case of a compressed air system, however, there may be an easy cost-saving alternative: Move it. Move it to another part of the plant that is not in the “classified area” and pipe the compressed air in. Usually, the air is not the source of risk. It’s the motor, starter and electrics. Sometimes it just takes a little out-of- the-box thinking to find another spot for the compressed air source. But sometimes there simply isn’t a safe place or enough space for the compressors somewhere else in the plant. In these cases, compressor system enclosures set outside at a safe distance are viable options.
This solution presents the increased costs of packaging the air system up and of piping the air longer distances. But they may compare favorably to the engineered explosion-proof system. Further, they usually offer faster design, build, install, and commissioning. Not to mention lower maintenance costs by using standard compressed air equipment and less downtime when service is due (think about procedures to get outside personnel into restricted areas).
Visit our website and download the white paper: Hazardous Area Classification Considerations for more on this subject and check out this ThingLink to see what one of these enclosures looks like on the inside.