Air compressors power a wide range of machines in various industries and applications. The machinery and tools used in pneumatic plastic bottle production machines, like many types of pneumatic control systems, are powered by air compressors. Compressed air has different types of pollutants that need to be removed for the correct operation of the device, the compressed air filter reduces costly breakdowns and increases the life of the compressor.
What does an air compressor filter do?
Air compressor filters or air filters protect air compressors by preventing liquids and solid contaminants from entering the compression assemblies. Compressed air contains significant amounts of oil, water, and dirt as well as other particles that may even include heavy metals such as lead or mercury.
Air compressor filters remove contaminants from the intake air and keep critical system components such as cylinders and valves working properly. They also extend the life of your compressor. These capabilities make air filtering essential for the proper operation of the air compressor, resulting in reduced downtime, clean air, and reduced energy costs.
Do all air compressors need an air filter?
To keep your equipment in working condition, you need a compressed air filter for your air compressor. Filters protect parts from premature wear and friction, extending the life of your compressor and helping you save money that might otherwise be spent on replacing parts.
A water filter for an air compressor is another valuable component, as it can prevent toxins from entering sewage systems and water supplies and support environmental conservation efforts.
Additionally, your industry may be subject to specific regulations that require the use of air filters. Some air quality standards require specific air quality for different types of compressors, and as a result, your system will require oil/water separators. As such, if you don’t use an air compressor water separator with your equipment, you’ll incur hefty fines.
How does a compressor air filter work?
Air line filters work by compressing air to trap solid particles and separate liquids from compressed air. To clarify the process, it helps to identify the main components in an air compressor filter:
Compressor air filter inlet
The air compressor inlet is where the air enters the filter. There is an internal hood that directs the air downwards and spirally. It is important to get the correct input size rather than using a filter smaller than the line.
This part directs the air flow through the filter. You can tell the air direction by the outer arrow of the filter, which also prevents it from being installed backwards.
This is the actual path the air takes as it spins like a cyclone and passes through the air filter itself.
This orifice section allows air to exit the filter and must match the size of the inlet. If the filter discharge is too low, it will restrict the air flow.
Compressor air filter unit
The filter itself is what removes pollutants from the air and absorbs particles over time. Eventually the filters become clogged and must be cleaned or replaced.
The bowl is the largest part of the filter that you can see. It attaches to the cap and is threaded or screwed and locked in place.
Pollutant collection area in the compressed air filter
Contaminants, water and oil collected by the filter all end up at the bottom of the filter. You will usually find a barrier hanging from the bottom of the filter that prevents debris from re-entering the air.
Discharge of pollutants
Pollutants and collected waste must be emptied. Many filters must be manually drained, but others have automatic float or electric drains.
In the first stage of filtration, the compressed air passes through the mesh filter. This creates a clumping effect where larger particles are trapped by the filter and the water condenses into larger droplets that then go into the separation chamber.
Compressed air slows down and allows particles to condense onto a honeycomb-like pad. This facilitates the movement of the droplets towards the drain. After entering the drainage system, the drops are drained through the drain valve. This stage of filtration removes the majority of oil, large particles and water droplets.
Price and buy compressor air filter
When shopping for an air compressor filter, remember that quality matters.
Quality air filters produce cleaner air, which means fewer problems with your equipment.
Quality air filters have less pressure drop than low quality filters. This saves energy. Any pressure drop in your system (from filters, dryers, long piping, etc.) will require you to set your compressor at a higher set point, which will cost you extra electricity.
Low quality air filters clog faster than high quality air filters. This means you will have to buy new filters more often. But this means that the pressure drop on your filter will be greater and faster with cheap air filters.