Filters of all kinds are found everywhere in the world, and most of us are familiar with some of them. On www.about-air-compressors.com we are focussed on filters for compressed air systems. Filters are compressed air preparation equipment that are essential for most compressed air applications.
The proper selection and use of compressed air filters will prevent many short and long term problems with your compressed air equipment and systems and could save you substantially in down-time and component replacement costs over the life of your compressed air system.
Properly sized filters will also help prevent poor paint jobs by helping remove water from the air stream through the paint gun.
A standard compressed air filter will contain the following components. The numbers on the picture of the compressed air filter picture correspond to the description in the text.
Air flows through the inlet. The cap is plumbed internally to force the air to flow downwards and spiral into the filter bowl. This creates a cyclonic action in the compressed air stream to throw free water and debris that may be in the air stream against the walls of the bowl, where it will flow down into the bottom.
Satisfactory compressed air filter operation depends on the air flowing through the filter cap in the correct direction from the supply line out the filter discharge.
The correct air flow direction will usually be identified on the cap of the compressed air filter, by an arrow. The arrow points in the desired direction of air flow from the supply line to the filter discharge. The air filter will not work properly if you inadvertently reverse the air flow by installing the filter backwards.
The fitting size of the discharge port will usually be the same as the inlet port. Some compressed air filter manufacturers offer adapters to allow you to change the port and fitting size to one that best suits your application.
In order to reduce inventory of spare parts, some companies will keep a standard 3/8" NPT filter as their base unit, and add adapters to the inlet / outlet ports to fit them to the smaller NPT sizes.
While it is feasible to use a larger filter unit on the small air line, attempting the reverse may impede compressed air flow. Do not do this unless you have checked to ensure that the flow of the smaller air filter has sufficient capacity for your application.
This will be a choke point if you under size the air filter.
Some manufacturers offer a Delta P gauge as part of their filter assembly. The Delta P will indicate pressure drop across the filter, and by extension - the filter element .
Increasing pressure drop on the gauge indicates that the filter element is doing its job, it is trapping debris and removing it from the compressed air stream, and getting plugged up in the process. The dirtier your air, the sooner your filter elements will plug.
Filter elements have a specific flow capacity measured in CFM (cubic feet per minute), and a particulate size rating measured in Microns.
General purpose filter elements are 30 or 40 Micron sized. For some applications, you might need a finer filtration, and opt for a 5 Micron element. Depending on your air quality, a 5 Micron particulate size element might clog too quickly. Use a general purpose filter upstream from the filter with the 5 Micron element, to increase the finer element filtering capacity.
So too, when your air filtration requirements dictate a move into even finer air filter elements such as a coalescing filter type. You will definitely want to have a general purpose first, then a 5 Micron unit to further rid the air of particulates before the air stream reaches the coalescing filter element.
and...Here is where you can ask questions about compressed air filters.