Problem: The actuators in my food packaging plant are failing. Why?
Solution: The acuators may be failing because of moisture or dirt that is traveling through your compressed air lines. When using an air compressor, moisture and dust/dirt particles will almost always be pulled from the ambient air and into your air flow. Moisture and contaminants in compressed air can cause rust, damage, blockages and other issues for any equipment that the air is traveling through. To eliminate this issue, coalescing filters and air dryers are used.
Coalescing filters remove water and oil vapors, as well as condensed moisture from your air lines. These filters are designed to remove very small particles from the air that are caught in the coarse fibers within the filter, that will drain out as they collect in droplets. It is always recommended to use coalescing filters in any compressed air application where moisture or dust could contaminate the final product, ie. any food packaging/manufacturing application, electronic application, spray painting, etc.
In addition to filters, both refrigerated and desiccant air dryers can be used to remove additional moisture from your air before it reaches any other equipment, pneumatic tools or your final product. Refrigerated air dryers use the same cooling principal as typical air conditioning units in homes across the world. Using the refrigeration system and passing compressed air through a heat exchanger, the air is cooled to approximately 40 °F. As the air cools, water droplets begin to form in the air due to condensation much like the water droplets that form on the outside of a cold drink. The moisture laden air then undergoes a mechanical separation process where the liquid or “condensate” is separated from the air stream. The air is then rewarmed using the incoming air which lowers the relative humidity of the air and traps any remaining moisture in a vapor form.
A desiccant or adsorption dryer uses desiccant material to adsorb and remove the humidity from compressed air. With this method, a pressure dew point as low as -100 °F can be reached. A desiccant dryer should be used when the ambient temperature goes below freezing point, to avoid ice forming in pipes and applications.
It is highly recommended to use both filters and an air dryer when using compressed air in any food/beverage related applications. You can browse Pneumatech's product listing of dryers and filters HERE.