Air Dryer

What is an Air Dryer?

The air dryer is more commonly known as a compressor air dryer. In general, a compressor air dryer is a machine which absorbs the moisture in the air to lower the humidity in a particular environment. A compressor air dryer is needed when there is compressed air in a facility. To be more specific, this type of machine is used typically in the manufacturing or engineering industry to suppress the dew point of the compressed air. The compressed air generated or required in certain industrial manufacturing settings may contain too much amount of moisture and condense into a harmful liquid. Eventually, the harmful liquid may contaminate the manufactured products or the equipment itself. Other possible damages include frozen pipes, corrosion and rust.

The dew point refers to the situation where the air reaches a temperature conducive to moisture saturation and condensation. To be exact, the dew point is reached when an operating environment holds too much moisture than it is supposed to do. The cause of too much moisture in an air compressing machine may be the undersized air compressor, overworked air compressor, or the malfunction of the air compressor. When either of the situations takes place, the unwanted amount of moisture accumulates in the air compressing system and the aforementioned results may occur. In order to avoid this scenario and prolong the lifespan of the equipment, the use of a compressed air dryer is a must.

The compressed air dryer is made to reduce the amount of moisture within a system which involves compressed air. The use of this machine brings about advantages such as creating a safer workplace for the employees, promoting the quality of the products and decreasing the potential contamination to the machinery. Though a compressed air dryer is considered more of a component for larger operations, there are also machines that are modified to accommodate with smaller scale operation settings. Based on the actual requirements, there are different types of air dryers available to achieve particular goals.


Desiccant dryers

In a desiccant dryer, the desiccant agents are involved to dry the compressed air. The desiccant agents are the matters that absorb the moisture in the space that are deployed. The mechanism of this type of air dry is basically adsorption or absorption. Adsorption refers to the process that moisture attaches to the desiccant agents without being dissolved while absorption takes place when moisture is absorbed simply by a drying agent. The working process can be described as simple as such: when the compressed air passes through the desiccant dryer with the drying agents such as silica gel or activated alumina, the drying agents absorb moisture from the air.

The desiccant dryers are useful in a wide variety of industrial applications where the drying process is required to maintain the integrity of operations and the quality of the manufactured products. With this type of dryer, the humidity within a particular system can be controlled. The functionality of the desiccant dryers is deemed the most efficient among other types of air dryers. They are considered more powerful than other types of compressed air dryers such as the refrigerated dryers. They have the highest efficiency in cooler ambient environments.


Refrigerated Dryers

Though not as efficient and powerful as the desiccant dryers, the refrigerated dryers are in fact the most popular and widespread type. The way a refrigerated dryer works is quite similar to a home-use fridge. It applies the cooling process to prevent moisture accumulation. Yet, the objects to be cooled down by the refrigerated dryer are not the same. The refrigerated dryer cools down the air instead of the foods and drinks. By using this type of dryer, the compressed air will be cooled down to about 35 degrees Fahrenheit. When the air passes through the dryer, the moisture is extracted and drained away. The dried air will then be reheated in each working cycle.

The reason why the refrigerated dryers are popular is that it is generally the most inexpensive option among all other types of air dryers. On top of that, the set up cost, the operation cost, or even the maintenance cost is relatively lower as well. However, this type of machine also comes with several down falls. The application of a refrigerated dryer is limited. It cannot be implemented in a sub-freezing temperature since the moisture of the air can freeze and damage the machine.


Considerations

When choosing a compressed air dryer for the facility, there are some considerations to go through. To begin with, the use of the compressed air is an important factor in choosing an air dryer. Some characteristics of certain types of air dryer may not be well incorporated with the compressed air system and when the wrong type of dryer is implemented, the quality of operation is likely to drop consequently.

The other thing to consider is the desired pressure dew point. The dew point of different types of dryers is not the same. The refrigerated dryers have a relatively minimal pressure dew point than the desiccant dryers. Besides the dew point, working temperature may be another issue. The desiccant dryers can work with lower temperature while the refrigerated dryers cannot. These considerations are crucial before making the decision. Only with the right type of air dryer can the operation quality and the product quality be boosted.

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