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Compressed Air System configuration question...

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Forum topic by dbhost posted 06-05-2014 02:43 PM 909 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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dbhost

5605 posts in 2696 days


06-05-2014 02:43 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

Okay so I have been running with a filter / regulator combo unit and tool end water separators, but I am concerned about oil blow by in my spraying etc… So I am wanting to add a desiccant dryer / oil removal filter for my system. I am wondering if the dryer / filter should go in the system before, or after the regulator, or does it matter?

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com


8 replies so far

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dbhost

5605 posts in 2696 days


#1 posted 06-05-2014 03:43 PM

I should mention what I am thinking of doing…

Option A has the advantage that the filter / regulator should do primary cleaning of the air before hitting the secondary unit, which should help keep the moisture in the air stream somewhat minimized before hitting the dessicant, allowing the dessicant theoretically to be good longer.

Option B has the advantage of regulating after any restriction of the filtration rig.

I will eventually add at tool regulators, so I am leaning somewhat toward option A, and regulating a few PSI high but am just not certain that is a good idea…

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com

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b2rtch

4822 posts in 2513 days


#2 posted 06-05-2014 03:51 PM

after the filters, to avoid putting junk in the oil separator ( this is what we do at work)

-- Bert

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dbhost

5605 posts in 2696 days


#3 posted 06-05-2014 04:27 PM

So put the oil separator after the regulator / filter (option A)?

That is the way I had seen it done in the past but paranoia about restriction / having the wrong pressure on the output side is gnawing at me…

I would think this method though would have a few advantages.

#1. Regulator / filter is super easy to keep clean, and does a reasonably good job of keeping the air supply clean, no debris comes through. #2. Reduction in amount of moisture getting through to the desiccant dryer section, while not eliminating it, allows for longer usability of the desiccant pellets before they go bad. #3. Like you mentioned, avoid getting junk in the oil separator section.

I have a piece of ply scrap I have that is just the right size to act as a mount board for this. It WILL be too wide to securely mount to just one stud, and I don’t want to use drywall anchors… Will likely do the prime / paint on that tonight, and assemble the whole thing this weekend…

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com

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b2rtch

4822 posts in 2513 days


#4 posted 06-05-2014 04:32 PM

you could go filter/separator/regulator but everywhere I worked (many places) I always saw: filter/separator and then sometimes an oiler again for pneumatic tools.
Her ( in a pharmaceutical company) we use oil free air compressors and the a bank of air dryers and filters to have ultra pure air as we also have ultra pure water.

-- Bert

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MrRon

3926 posts in 2708 days


#5 posted 06-05-2014 04:36 PM

Oil has never been a problem in compressed air systems. In fact oil is usually added for air tool use. For spray painting, you would bypass the oil unit. Normally, it’s moisture that is the culprit that needs to be removed from the air. That’s where the dessicant comes in. In commercial paint shops, they use air dryers (expensive) that works on the refrigerant principal of cooling down the air which allows moisture to condense from the air. It is even used in shops to protect air tools from moisture damage.

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b2rtch

4822 posts in 2513 days


#6 posted 06-05-2014 04:41 PM

“Oil has never been a problem in compressed air systems”
Ron, sorry but you are wrong.
Oil is huge problem in electronic and pharmaceutical industries (and probably many more like food industries) , this is why oil free compressors were invented.
‘they use air dryers (expensive) that works on the refrigerant principal of cooling down the air which extracts moisture from the air” this is old technology, now desiccant dryers are much preferred as they dry more and better and they have no maintenance except replacing the desiccant medium every few years.
It is part of my job to know these things.

-- Bert

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bigblockyeti

3668 posts in 1185 days


#7 posted 06-05-2014 05:28 PM

Typically you’ll use an FRL unit for what you’re trying to accomplish. The quality of the filter will be determined by the application. The F is the filter, which should always be first, second is the R – regulator, third is the lubricator, which you wouldn’t need and could be omitted entirely or left empty. After that would be the dryer.

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dbhost

5605 posts in 2696 days


#8 posted 06-05-2014 05:29 PM

For lubricated tools, I plan on keeping with my long standing, and apparently effective tradition of simply dropping several drops of air tool oil in the inlet port of the tool itself just prior to use.

It was my main concern that there would be pressure drop due to the addition of the dryer / oil separator but my “workaround” of sorts (tool end regulation) is probably the best route anyway, allows me to compensate for any drop caused by the hose.

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com

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