This happens almost everywhere, but it can have serious consequences for your compressed air system and the quality of the end product. Causes of water in your compressed air system When the air is compressed, condensation occurs.
The following factors determine the amount of water:
- Inlet conditions
- Ambient air quality
The moisture content is higher in warm and humid air, which means that more water comes out of the compressor. The compressed air contains less water when the pressure is higher and the easier it can be dried. Think of a sponge that is soaked with water; the more it is squeezed, the less water it contains.
Many tools and equipment, driven by compressed air, cannot withstand water or moisture.Many processes, using compressed air, are processing products that cannot withstand water or moisture. Inherent to the compression cycle, free water is often formed in the compressed air circuit.
Untreated compressed air, which contains solid, liquid, and gaseous contaminants, poses a significant risk as it can damage your air system and your end product. Moisture, one of the main components of untreated air, can cause the following problems:
- Water in a compressed air system often causes corrosion which leads to rust forming in the compressed air system. Those rust particles will be released and transported through the compressed air system. Corrosion of air or gas-operated instruments giving incorrect measured values, causing interrupts or switches off system processes.
- Cause of wear and tear of the inner part of the compressed air line, leading to holes and thus to air leaks, resulting in a pressure drop. Meaning a loss of energy and money.
- This can result in damage or failure of the compressed air tools and can cause contamination of the processed products. Free water or moisture in a compressed air system can sustain bacteria growth or the moisture can be absorbed by the processed product leading to quality deviations and product spoilage. For example: may adversely affect the color, adhesion, and surface finish of paint applied with compressed air. This could lead to rejection of your product and affect your profitability.
- Water can freeze in control lines in cold weather, leading to malfunction of the controls.
The measurement of dry compressed air after processing is known as its 'dew point'. The lower the temperature of the dew point, the less amount of water vapor in the air. Dew point means the actual temperature where condensation begins. For example, if the dew point is -40 C° this means condensation starts only if compressed air temperature goes down to -40 C°.