Compressed air dew point monitoring is a critical aspect of many industrial and commercial applications where compressed air is used. Maintaining the appropriate dew point of compressed air is crucial for ensuring the quality and reliability of various processes and equipment.
Most compressed air dryers are fitted with timed condensate drains with strainers.
When these malfunction, or the strainers block, the dryer still produces condensate, but the blocked drain means that the condensate liquid builds up inside the dryer until the air flow carries these liquids into the air system. Seldom you see a dryer fitted with a dew point warning system that alerts an operator of a dryer malfunction.
For a production plant, the price of dryer failure is high. Water, once in an airline, can take weeks to clear or evaporate. Oil in an airline poses an even bigger problem. Once the airline is infected, it can take months or years to clear from the airline. Unlike water, oil does not evaporate. To compound the problem, many airlines have inadequate drainage. In most cases, flushing, or the use of pipeline pigs for airline cleaning, is not an option.
Contamination creates corrosion, which increases pipeline air leaks. Cockfield says many end-users are unaware of the cost of air leaks and the impact it has on their profit levels, and few, if any, air users have an effective air leak corrective action plan.
Here are some common applications where compressed air dew point monitoring is utilized:
Manufacturing: In manufacturing processes, compressed air is often used for powering pneumatic tools, controlling valves, and cleaning equipment. Monitoring the dew point of compressed air is essential to prevent moisture-related issues such as corrosion, contamination, and damage to sensitive components. It ensures that the compressed air meets the required quality standards for the manufacturing process, especially in industries such as automotive, electronics, pharmaceuticals, and food and beverage.
Spray painting: Compressed air is widely used in spray painting applications for automotive, aerospace, and other industries. Monitoring the dew point of compressed air is crucial in spray painting to prevent moisture from affecting the quality of the paint finish. High dew points can cause issues like blushing, poor adhesion, and uneven coating. Dew point monitoring helps ensure that the compressed air used for spray painting is dry and free of moisture to achieve a high-quality paint finish.
Pharmaceuticals and healthcare: Compressed air is commonly used in pharmaceutical manufacturing processes, including filling, packaging, and sterile air applications. Dew point monitoring is critical in these applications to maintain the required air quality standards and prevent moisture-related contamination. Compressed air used in healthcare settings, such as in medical gas systems, also needs to meet stringent dew point requirements to ensure patient safety and equipment performance.
Food and beverage: Compressed air is used in various applications in the food and beverage industry, including packaging, bottling, and food processing. Monitoring the dew point of compressed air is essential to prevent moisture-related issues such as contamination, spoilage, and degradation of food products. Dew point monitoring helps maintain the required air quality standards for food safety and compliance with industry regulations.
Electronics and semiconductor manufacturing: Compressed air is widely used in the electronics and semiconductor manufacturing industry for cleaning, drying, and cooling processes. Monitoring the dew point of compressed air is crucial in these applications to prevent moisture from damaging sensitive electronic components and semiconductor devices. Maintaining low dew points is critical for ensuring the quality and reliability of electronic products.
Automotive and painting booths: Compressed air is used in automotive manufacturing processes, including painting booths for applying paint on vehicles. Monitoring the dew point of compressed air in painting booths is essential to ensure that the air used for painting is dry and free of moisture to achieve a high-quality paint finish. High dew points can cause issues like paint defects, uneven coating, and adhesion problems.
Oil and gas: Compressed air is often used in the oil and gas industry for various applications, such as instrumentation, control systems, and pneumatic tools. Dew point monitoring is crucial in these applications to prevent moisture from causing issues such as corrosion, freezing, and malfunctioning of equipment. It helps maintain the required air quality standards for safe and reliable operation in harsh environments.
Research and laboratories: Compressed air is commonly used in research facilities and laboratories for various applications, including analytical instruments, sample preparation, and controlled environments. Dew point monitoring is important in these applications to prevent moisture-related interference in experiments and analyses. It helps maintain the required air quality standards for accurate and reliable results.
Railways: Pneumatic systems in railway applications are vulnerable to water condensation as a result of the cooling of compressed air. This water tends to cause corrosion, degrade lubricants and freeze in cold weather, causing malfunction and damages in brake systems and other pneumatic devices as well as pneumatic components (cylinders, valves). For this reason regular measurement of dew point is essential.
These are just a few examples of the wide range of applications where compressed air dew point monitoring is critical for maintaining the quality and reliability of processes, products, and equipment. Monitoring the dew point of compressed air is essential in various industries to prevent moisture-related issues and ensure optimal performance, safety, and compliance with industry regulations.
Sigma offers a variety of sensors or systems to continuously monitor the dryer with different signal options to reduce your cost of air dryer failures and maintenance.
Sigma provides a user friendly handheld dewpoint meter Sigma 500 series for these measurements, as well as dewpoint sensors for fixed installations and increased operational safety.