How Are Desiccant Dryers Used in Paper Mills?

August 13, 2019

Pulp and paper mills often use multiple air compressors to power their operation. Some plants can use upwards of 20 compressors, which also means air dryers are necessary to prevent condensation from building inside of the air lines before the compressed air reaches any equipment downstream. Because both the end product (paper) and any of the steel/metal equipment downstream of the compressor cannot be contaminated with water, it is necessary to use a desiccant dryer after any of the air compressors on site at a paper mill.

Why a desiccant dryer and not a refrigerated dryer?

Condensation reaching any form of paper in its production process is detrimental to the final product. Water running through lines, equipment and ultimately reaching the paper will destroy it and ultimately result in lost ROI, inventory, etc. Desiccant dryers are used over refrigerated when very dry air is needed. These dryers are also used in other manufacturing plants where absolutely no type of humidity or condensation can be present in the final product, or when operating in areas with very low ambient temperatures or very high ambient temperatures/humidity levels.

What can happen if you don't use desiccant dryers in paper mills?

In a study done by Compressed Air Best Practices, a test paper mill was used to asses their compressed air and air treatment setup in a location with very high ambient temperature and humidity. Because the dryers were not functioning properly, there was significant moisture saturation in the compressed air lines and leaking into the equipment downstream. By not having properly functioning desiccant dryers, this resulted in:

  • Rust in the compressed air lines due to water contamination which also resulted in smaller piping and less effecient air delivery
  • Acidic water from oil-free compressors was filling the filters, receivers, standpipes and risers in the facility. This caused drains to crack and electric timer drains were wasting air
  • The acidic water was also rotting seals and solenoids which caused increasing maintenance costs

Desiccant dryers are ideal solutions for many manufacturing plants, areas with very low or high ambient temperatures and any facility using compressed air in conjunction with steel or metal equipment. To browse Pneumatech's full line of desiccant dryers, please click HERE or Contact Us.