During the process of compressing air, atmospheric air along with water vapor and airborne contaminants, are drawn into the compressor intake. Additionally, the compression chamber of most compressors requires oil for lubrication, sealing, and cooling.
Once compressed, the air flows into an after-cooler. As it cools, most water and hydrocarbon vapors condense. Additional condensation takes place as the air is further cooled in piping and in air dryers. The condensed moisture must be removed to prevent damage to downstream components and processes.
Drain valves installed on moisture separators. coalescing filters, receivers, dryers, and drip legs remove this condensate. The condensate passes through automatic drain valves and is piped to oil/water separators to remove the oil from the condensate prior to discharge to a drain.
If not treated, condensate can be collected into drums or storage tanks. The drums or tanks are then taken to an approved disposal facility. Transportation, storage, and disposal costs can exceed $500 for a single 55-gallon drum. A typical 25 hp compressor can generate approximately 20 gallons of condensate in one day. Eleven 55-gallon drums of condensate are produced in one month. That comes to $5,500 a month — a significant disposal cost.
Since condensate is approximately 99% water and 1% oil, oil/water separators have been developed to reduce or eliminate the amount of oil in the condensate.
Proper removal of this moisture, prior to entering the plant air system, is also essential in preventing costly damage to dryers, air tools, gauges and other critical components. Condensate management systems and products (automatic drains and oil/water separators) can reliably separate and remove condensate in your compressed air system. Compressed Air Equipment offers different solutions to perfectly match your air system’s demand for proper condensate management.