Loop Air systems for a plant

by Matt
(Mitchell, Ont. )

In a larger factory, we have a row of machines and only one supply line 2in in diameter.


This runs from the receiver beside the compressor to the end of the plant (maybe 600ft tops) and then stops with a cap.

When running the plant, the second machine from the end of the line has air supply problems, causing them to shut down multiple times per shift (bad for business).

In the past what they have done is install large air receivers at the points of use, so you can imagine we have about 6 or 7 smaller receivers scattered about the floor. This didn't work (surprise, surprise).

I use to plumb, and am now a millwright there and I was wondering if the problem would go away if we were to run a loop system and maybe up size to 3 or 4 in pipe. If you could give me some pointers on how to calculate line size due to air requirement and tell me whether a loop system would work it would be much appreciated.




Bill answers...

Hi Matt;

It's not unusual for folks to install a single air main running from the compressor up to the ceiling, and then in one main along the center of the plant, ending as yours does, with a cap on the end.

If that installation suits the needs, fine.

The reality is that air consumption in a manufacturing plant will always rise, and over time, not enough air gets to the "end of the line".

The answer to resolving the air starvation issue at the "end of the line" is to not have an "end of the line".

Install a ring main at the ceiling, so that equipment on the far side of the plant from the compressor can get air delivered from two directions. That way, if one side of the plant is not using as much air, that available compressed air can flow unimpeded to the area that needs it. Ditto for the other side.

If both sides of the plant are consuming air, there's still a better opportunity for air to get all around the plant by having a ring main.

Have a look at this page, and then follow the links to see more info.

Also, a 3" or 4" ring acts as an additional reservoir for the plant. When machines are idle, this ring main fills with readily available air, and a large ring main can hold an enormous amount of compressed air, ready for use.

As to the size of the loop or ring main, don't forget, your air consumption is likely only to increase, so opt for the largest your firm can afford, as it will pay dividends in the longer term.

When you're talking that size pipe, you're likely looking at black iron...so beware of the problems that using black iron pipe will create in terms of rust and scale, and make sure you've got plenty of drop legs to auto drains, and filters at all points of use.

Last, if you need additional capacity, put a large air reservoir (receiver) installed the farthest distance from your air compressor, plumbed into the ring main. This will fill when machines are idle, and provide added capacity when machines on the far side of the plant are demanding more air than might be supplied through a main...though I suspect at 4" main will provide lots of compressed air for some time to come.

Cheers,

Bill

Click here to post comments

Add your own question or comment. It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Plumbing a compressor question.

Is there a certain way i should run my pipe?

by Donnie
(covington ga)

I heard there is a certain way to run the pipe so water doesn't stay in the lines if so is there a diagram I could get?

Thank you.






Bill answers...

Hi Donnie. Nice to hear from Georgia.

Indeed, there is a proper way to install compressed air pipe to deal with the inevitable water that compressing air brings.

If you take the time to read the information on this page, and then follow the links, I believe you'll find all of the information you need on plumbing compressed air right here on About-Air-Compressors.com.

Cheers,

Bill

Click here to post comments

Add your own question or comment. It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Plumbing a compressor question.

How to connect an air line to the compressor.

I know this may sound stupid but i bought this compressor second hand... it works but i cant find where 2 connect my air line can anybody help?






Bill answers...

Craig, it's pretty hard to respond not knowing anything about the compressor you purchased.

Does it have a tank? Is there an air line from the compressor pump running down into the tank? Is there another air line or fitting coming off the tank?

There should be an air line of sorts coming off the tank, and into a regulator. Out of the regulator will be a coupler into which you would plug a connector which would be installed on the end of an air hose.

The other end of the hose will have a coupler too, and it's into that coupler that you insert the connector on an air tool or air appliance.

Pretty much anything you'd want to know about using a home compressor can be found if you wander the pages of this website (use the site map page for guidance).

Or, you can fast track by getting a copy of my
eBook The Home Compressor.

Cheers,

Bill


Click here to post comments

Add your own question or comment. It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Plumbing a compressor question.