About plumbing compressed air

by Stan JauJou

My company is starting a granite countertop fabrication operation. Adding up all of the requirements of the machinery and tools, I will need a peak of 108 CFM at 100 PSI. I am planning to route the compressed air in a loop around the shop. Most of the equipment requires clean, dry air. However the hand tools require oil lubricated air. What is the best way of delivering the lubricated air to a small portion of my shop? Will a 1" main line be big enough? Thanks for your help! Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated!

Bill answers....

G'day Stan:

Good that you're planning to run your air main in a loop. Make sure that it tilts to one corner where you can have a drop leg with an auto drain to help reduce water.

Also, make sure you take your drop feeds (except the drop leg drain) off the top of the main, to help reduce water migration down to your equipment.

Where you are planning to use hand tools, can you make a drop leg into a horizontal run? Put a lubricator there, and then feed that air into a manifold from which you can run hoses to your various tools. That will help get lubrication to them.

The other thing you can do is put in-line air tool lubricators for each hose that goes to an air tool. The lubricator can be located quite close to the tool, and this will ensure a steady supply of oil to the tool.

While bigger is better in terms of air main size (the air main then acts like another reservoir, allowing air to cool and shed water) it sounds as though a 1” line should work, although without knowing the dimensions of the shop, it's hard to be certain.

If it's a large shop, put a reservoir (another tank) at the farthest location from your compressor, which will fill during low demand times, and feed air both directions your main as the demand is generated by tools and equipment cycling on.



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