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Refrigeration Dryers

Refrigeration dryers are the most commonly used dryers for removing moisture from compressed air. They therefore play an important role in shielding compressed air systems from corrosion and protecting your equipment and end products alike.

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Refrigerated air dryer working principle

Here is how they work: Refrigeration dryers come in air-cooled or water-cooled models. Both are used to cool the warm and wet air that comes from the compressor. Initially, that happens in the air-to-air heat exchanger, and then, in a subsequent stage, in the air-to-refrigerant heat exchanger. As the temperature falls, the moisture in the air condenses and can then be drained from the compressed air.

That air is then reheated to about room temperature in the air-to-air heat exchanger. That lowers the pressure point of the outgoing flow and prevents the formation of condensation on the outside of the piping system. This heat exchange between ingoing and outgoing compressed air therefore also reduces the required cooling capacity of the refrigerant circuit by lowering the temperature of the incoming compressed air.

As the most popular drying technology for compressed air, the applications for refrigeration dryers are nearly endless. 

Benefits of using refrigerated air dryers

Refrigerated air dryers are increasingly recognized for their multiple benefits across various sectors:


1. Stable air quality
These dryers consistently deliver dry air, crucial for many industrial processes where moisture can compromise product quality or damage equipment


2. .Energy efficiency
Equipped with Variable Speed Drive (VSD) technology, these dryers adapt their operation to actual demand, significantly reducing energy consumption. This not only lowers operational costs but also benefits the environment by reducing the carbon footprint.


3. Low maintenance demands
Thanks to their simpler design and mechanics, refrigerated air dryers experience less wear and tear, leading to fewer maintenance needs. This results in reduced downtime and cost savings over the equipment's lifespan. 


4. Wide-ranging applications
Their versatility makes them suitable for diverse industries, from manufacturing and automotive to healthcare and food processing, ensuring efficient and hygienic processes.

Types of refrigerated air dryers: cycling vs. non-cycling air dryer

Non cycling
Non-cycling refrigerated air dryers

Non-cycling refrigerated air dryers are engineered to provide a consistent and steady cooling temperature. This continuous operation mode makes them highly reliable and efficient, especially in industrial settings where the demand for compressed air remains relatively constant.

These dryers work by continuously running the refrigeration compressor, maintaining a stable dew point and ensuring that the air remains dry throughout the process. The primary advantage of non-cycling air dryers is their simplicity and robustness, making them a go-to choice for many applications.

Non-cycling dryers are particularly well-suited for environments where the air demand does not fluctuate significantly, thus providing a cost-effective solution for continuous air drying needs.
Cycling refrigerated air dryers

Cycling refrigerated dryers, on the other hand, are designed to adapt to varying demands for compressed air. These dryers can modulate their cooling capacity, adjusting the operation of the refrigeration compressor based on the actual air demand.

When the demand for dried air is lower, the dryer reduces its cooling capacity, thereby conserving energy and reducing operational costs. This ability to cycle on and off in response to demand not only enhances energy efficiency but also contributes to the longevity of the dryer's system components.

This type of air dryer is ideal for applications where air usage is not consistent, such as in facilities with varying shifts or production schedules. By aligning their operation with the actual air demand, cycling dryers offer an energy-efficient solution, reducing the overall environmental footprint of the air treatment process.

Both non-cycling and cycling refrigerated air dryers have their unique advantages and are selected based on the specific requirements of the application. Understanding the air demand patterns of your operation is key to choosing the most suitable type of refrigerated air dryer, ensuring optimal performance, energy efficiency, and cost-effectiveness.

Pressure dew point achieved by refrigerated air dryers

The pressure dew point (PDP) is crucial in the context of refrigerated air dryers. It refers to the temperature at which air, at a given pressure, begins to condense water out of the compressed air. 


In refrigerated air dryers, the compressed air is cooled to lower its temperature to the pressure dew point or below, ensuring that moisture condenses into liquid form and can be effectively removed. This process is vital for preventing moisture-related issues in air systems, such as corrosion or freezing in pneumatic controls and pipelines. 


Refrigerant dryers typically maintain a PDP of +3 °C/37.4 °F, suitable for most applications. 

Enhancing efficiency with VSD technology in refrigerated air dryers

The integration of Variable Speed Drive (VSD) technology into refrigerated air dryers has marked a significant advancement in the realm of air treatment solutions. This innovative approach brings a new level of efficiency and environmental sustainability to the operation of air dryers. 

VSD technology works by dynamically adjusting the motor speed of the dryer to align with the varying demand for compressed air. This means that the energy usage of the dryer is optimized, as it consumes power in proportion to the actual air demand, rather than maintaining a constant, and often excessive, energy draw. Such an adaptive system leads to considerable energy savings, significantly reducing the electricity costs associated with the operation of compressed air systems. During times of low demand, the VSD technology reduces the motor speed, cutting down on energy use, while ensuring that the dryer operates at full capacity during periods of high demand to meet the need for dry air efficiently.

Beyond energy savings, VSD technology also extends the lifespan of the dryer. By operating the motor at optimal speeds, the technology minimizes the stress on the dryer’s internal components, leading to reduced maintenance needs and prolonging the equipment's operational life. This not only ensures consistent performance but also contributes to cost savings over time.

From an environmental standpoint, the lower energy consumption of VSD-equipped refrigerated air dryers translates into a reduced carbon footprint, aligning with the growing global focus on sustainability. This makes VSD technology not just a smart choice for operational efficiency but also a step forward in environmental responsibility.

Pneumatech's AC VSD dryers incorporating variable speed drive technology represent a move towards more intelligent, energy-efficient, and environmentally conscious air dryers. They are a testament to the evolving landscape of industrial equipment, where sustainability and efficiency go hand in hand.

Refrigerated air dryer maintenance

Regular maintenance is key to ensuring the longevity and efficiency of refrigerated air dryers. This involves periodic checks and cleaning of the air filters to prevent clogging and ensure smooth airflow. 


The condenser coils should be kept clean and free of debris, as accumulated dirt can impede heat transfer and reduce efficiency. It's also crucial to inspect the refrigerant levels and check for any leaks, as insufficient refrigerant can affect the dryer's performance. 


Drains, which remove the condensed moisture, should be checked regularly to ensure they are functioning correctly and not blocked. Additionally, it's advisable to periodically inspect electrical connections and controls for signs of wear or damage. 


Implementing a routine maintenance schedule can help identify potential issues early, reducing downtime and extending the life of the dryer. Regular maintenance not only preserves the dryer's condition but also ensures consistent delivery of high-quality, dry compressed air for industrial applications.

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Refrigerated air dryers are a cornerstone of compressed air treatment, offering a reliable and efficient solution for removing moisture from compressed air. With options like non-cycling and cycling models, and advancements like VSD technology, these dryers cater to a wide array of industrial needs, ensuring air quality standards for various applications are met.

Count on our expert team to provide guidance in selecting the ideal Pneumatech solution for your needs.

Refrigeration Dryers

Refrigeration dryers are the most commonly used dryers for removing moisture from compressed air. They therefore play an important role in shielding compressed air systems from corrosion and protecting your equipment and end products alike.