What is Compressed Air Pressure Drop

Confused about compressed air strain drop? You’re not alone. Stress drop—the lack of air strain between the air compressor and the endpoint the place the air is used—is a standard downside with compressed air programs. Along with inflicting issues with pneumatic instruments and tools, strain drop additionally drives up your vitality payments. Understanding the causes of strain drop in your compressed air system and find out how to deal with them might prevent a whole bunch or 1000’s in your vitality invoice yearly.

What’s Stress Drop?

Put merely, strain drop in a compressed air system is the distinction between the strain discharged by the air compressor and the strain delivered for compressed air purposes. As compressed air strikes by means of the distribution system, small losses alongside the best way can add as much as a big lack of strain by the point air reaches the tip of the road. As an example, you could have your compressed air system set at 100 PSI however solely see 90 PSI on the level of use. That 10 PSI distinction is what we name strain drop.

Whereas all compressed air programs lose a little bit of air strain someplace alongside the distribution route, it turns into an issue when strain drop is extreme. An environment friendly compressed air system ought to lose much less (ideally a lot much less) than 10% of strain between the air receiver tank and the point-of-use. In case you are shedding an excessive amount of strain in your compressed air system, instruments and tools could not obtain sufficient strain to function appropriately.

Aire Tip: Stress drop between the air receiver tank and the end-use shouldn’t exceed ~3 PSI.

How Does Compressed Air Stress Drop Affect Power Payments?

In case you are shedding quite a lot of strain in your supply system, you’ll have to increase the general strain of your compressed air system to compensate. For instance, you could have instruments that require 90 PSI to function. In case you are experiencing a 30 PSI strain drop throughout your system, you’ll have to run your air compressor at 120 PSI to compensate.

As a rule of thumb, each 2 PSI in over-pressurization provides about 1% to the vitality prices of your air compressor. So, in case you are over-pressurizing by 30 PSI, you might be growing your compressed air vitality invoice by 15%. This provides up quick: vitality prices for a 100 HP air compressor working in a 24/7 setting can simply run to $78,000 per 12 months (at $0.10/KWh). A 15% enhance in vitality use would add one other $12,000 to the vitality invoice.

Aire Tip: Many vegetation are working at a better PSI than they want. Learn extra: Reduce Plant Pressure to Save Money and Energy

What Causes Stress Drop in Compressed Air Programs?

Stress drop can occur at quite a few factors between the air tank and point-of-use. Something that causes an obstruction in airflow or lack of air will end in a lack of strain for the system. Causes of strain drop within the compressed air system could be broadly separated into two classes: the air distribution system and compressed air system elements.

  • The distribution system consists of the entire piping, tubes, and hoses that carry compressed air from the air receiver tank to the purpose of use. A poorly designed or maintained air distribution system can lose strain by means of extreme friction, obstructions, or leaks.
  • Compressed air system elements that may trigger strain drop embody air dryers, filters, moisture separators, after-coolers, and oil separators.

Undersized Piping

If the piping shouldn’t be sized correctly for the airflow, you will notice the strain drop within the system. Airflow is measured in cubic ft per minute, or CFM. As air strikes by means of the distribution system, it encounters friction with the pipe partitions. The extra friction it experiences, the extra the air slows down. Undersized piping ends in extreme friction, placing a major drag on air velocities within the distribution system.

Learn extra: How to Size Compressed Air Piping (and Why it Matters)

Poorly Designed Distribution System

The design of the distribution system additionally impacts friction. The longer the run between the air compressor and the endpoint, the extra friction it should encounter alongside the best way. Air additionally slows down when it encounters tough patches within the piping (comparable to a be part of) and when it’s required to take a flip. A compressed air distribution system with plenty of joins, tees, and elbows will end in extra strain loss than a straight, easy pipe of equal size. Useless ends within the distribution system additionally end in strain drop.

Corrosion within the Distribution System

Corrosion in compressed air pipes can considerably affect airflow and efficiency. Corrosion roughens the inside of the pipe, producing extra friction as air passes by means of. Over time, it will probably even trigger blockages as materials flakes off and accumulates in bends or low factors within the system. Extreme moisture in compressed air pipes can result in corrosion in vulnerable supplies.

Leaks within the Distribution System

Leaks within the compressed air system cut back air strain in two methods. First, any lack of air will trigger a drop within the strain of the system, making the air compressor work tougher to take care of the correct PSI. Second, a leak modifications the airflow sample from a easy laminar circulation by means of the pipes to a turbulent circulation, growing friction and lowering airspeed. Leaks are mostly present in couplings, hoses, joints, and fittings. Fast couplers used to attach tools to the distribution system are a standard offender.

Learn extra: How Much Are Compressed Air Leaks Costing Your Facility

Blocked Filters

Blocked inline filters are one other reason behind strain drop in a compressed air system. Inline filters are positioned after the compressor to filter particulate and oil carryover out of the compressed air stream. They might be positioned instantly after the air compressor, after the dryers or instantly earlier than the tip utility. As these filters grow to be loaded with particulate and oil, it takes extra vitality to maneuver air by means of the filter media. This causes a drop of strain between the soiled and clear sides of the filter. Undersized filters, identical to undersized pipes, may even trigger obstructions within the system.

Undersized Air Dryers

The compressed air dryer is positioned after the air compressor to take away moisture from compressed air. If the dryer shouldn’t be sized correctly for the CFM and PSI of the system, it will probably grow to be a choke level for airflow. The air dryer can be rated for a most CFM, however efficiency may even be impacted by temperature and strain.

Different Air Compressor System Elements

Another part that air flows by means of between the air receiver tank and the endpoint can grow to be a possible supply of strain drop. That features aftercoolers and water separators. If these elements should not sized for the CFM of your system, they generate extreme friction and gradual air down.

How is Stress Drop Measured?

The best technique to decide the strain drop for a compressed air system is to easily measure it. A compressed air circulation meter measures airflow (CFM) and strain (PSI). Some may even measure temperature and whole circulation. A circulation meter could also be put in completely according to the compressed air distribution system or quickly inserted throughout a system audit.

To seek out the supply of strain drop in your system, it’s best to measure PSI at a number of factors.

  • Instantly after the air receiver tank.
  • Earlier than and after the air dryer.
  • Earlier than and after any inline filters, water separators, or after-coolers.
  • At every of the drops within the distribution system, each earlier than and after hoses and couplers.

By doing this, you may create a “strain map” of your compressed air distribution system that may enable you establish the place you might be seeing the most important losses in strain. This may inform you the place you might want to search for alternatives for enchancment. For instance, chances are you’ll uncover that you’re seeing a big strain drop earlier than and after an air dryer or after-cooler, indicating that the part will not be sized correctly to your CFM. Massive drops in strain on the finish of lengthy distribution runs could point out an issue with the design of the distribution system or extreme leaks within the piping system.

Stress Drop Calculator for Compressed Air

It is usually attainable to calculate the anticipated strain drop to your distribution system. Keep in mind, all compressed air programs will expertise some strain drop because of friction within the distribution system. You’ll be able to decrease this with an environment friendly compressed air distribution system design. This online pressure drop calculator will enable you decide the anticipated strain drop primarily based on the size and design of your distribution system.

Decrease Stress Drop in Compressed Air Programs

You’ll be able to take steps to attenuate strain drops in your compressed air system. Guaranteeing that every one compressed air system elements are adequately sized to your CFM, bettering the effectivity of your distribution system, fixing leaks, and correctly sustaining filters and system elements will preserve strain drop to a minimal.

Change Filters

The quickest and most cost-effective approach to enhance strain drop in your compressed air system is to ensure filters are clear. Change inline filters not less than annually or after 8,000 hours of operation. You probably have quite a lot of oil carryover or dry particulate within the compressed air stream, filters will must be modified extra usually. Additionally, make sure that your inline filters are sized appropriately to your airflow.

Learn extra: Everything You Should Know About Inline Filtration

Repair Leaks

The following step in lowering strain drop in your compressed air system is to seek out and repair any leaks within the distribution system. Pay particular consideration to hoses and fast couplers within the “soiled thirty”—the final 30 ft of connectors between the primary distribution piping and the tools utilizing compressed air. Fixing leaks is sort of at all times a superb funding to enhance the efficiency of your compressed air system and cut back vitality prices. You might even be capable to get compressed air leaks fixed for free by means of a program along with your vitality supplier.

Learn extra: How to Detect and Fix Compressed Air Leaks

Change Corroded Air Compressor Piping

If you happen to suspect that you could have corrosion in your compressed air piping, the issue will must be discovered and stuck. Naked metal and iron pipes are particularly susceptible to corrosion. In case your piping system is previous and has not been maintained, it is best to take away and examine just a few sections of pipe to search for indicators of corrosion on the interior floor. If corrosion is current, you may additionally discover flakes of rust within the compressed air stream or embedded in inline filters. The affected parts of the compressed air piping system needs to be changed. Take into account changing the piping with a cloth that’s not susceptible to corrosion, comparable to aluminum piping. Additionally, have a look at upgrading your air drying system to take away corrosion-causing moisture from compressed air.

Learn extra: What Is the Best Piping Material for Compressed Air Systems?

Streamline Your Compressed Air Distribution System

In case your distribution piping is a large number of lifeless ends, elbows, and tees, it could be time to think about changing it solely. An effectively designed distribution system will save appreciable vitality in the long term. A loop-style distribution system is usually probably the most environment friendly configuration. Be certain that pipes are correctly sized to your CFM and attempt to decrease the size of runs and the variety of tees and elbows. Additionally, decrease using inefficient hoses and fast couplers.

Learn extra: 10 Expert Tips for an Efficiently Laid Out Compressed Air System

Improve Undersized Air Dryers, After-coolers and Oil/Water Separators

In case you are experiencing extreme strain drops earlier than and after the air dryer or different system elements, chances are you’ll want to think about a alternative. Be certain that air dryers, aftercoolers, water separators, and different compressed air equipment are correctly sized for the appliance and nicely maintained.

Want Assist Diagnosing Compressed Air Stress Drop?

Generally, the causes of strain drop in a compressed air system should not apparent. If you happen to need assistance measuring strain drop in your compressed air system, diagnosing the causes of strain drop, or mitigating a strain drop downside, contact us. We can be pleased that can assist you discover and repair the supply of your strain drop downside.


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