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Keeping manufacturing costs as low as possible is crucial when trying to maintain a profitable business. With ever increasing manufacturing costs, it’s always good to know how to avoid things going wrong and avoid hefty and unexpected repair bills. When your equipment is not working, machinery down time costs money.
In this blog we will discuss how to keep air compressor maintenance bills down simply by making sure you have the right ventilation in just 3 easy steps. Air Compressor ventilation will not only reduce maintenance costs, but it will also enhance compressed air availability.
Ensuring that you choose the correct ventilation openings is crucial for effective ventilation of the air compression system. The actual location of the ventilation openings is vital: in order to minimise maintenance issues. If air is drawn from outside, it should be affected by the weather as little as possible. For this reason it is essential to install weather protected ventilation openings in the lower half of the installation location’s external wall. These openings should also preferably not face the sun directly.
Dust and contamination are your air compressors worst enemy, protecting your compressed air system from dust and contamination is crucial to minimise air compressor maintenance issues. Problematic contamination includes all aggressive and flammable materials as well as emissions from combustion engines. In the air intake zone it is important that trucks and other vehicles that give off heavy emissions are not permitted to enter. Using cooling air filters will help to alleviate some levels of dust and contamination. If the dust and contamination in your factory is very high, you may wish to consider the use of a ‘dust trap’.
Correctly sizing and equipping the ventilation openings is vital. The size of the openings will be determined by the power of the air cooled compressors that are installed. Generally speaking the ‘free diameter’ of a ventilation opening should between 0.02 and 0.03m² for every kW of a compressors rated power. This is equal to a cooling air volume of 130 to 230 m³/h. The term ‘free diameter’ is of great importance, the diameter of the ventilation opening will be considerably reduced by weather protector screens, louvres and filters. The diameter can be reduced by 30 – 60% depending on the quality of the selected ventilation system. For this reason it is recommended to use flow- optimised ventilation systems. Reduction in diameter by protection and control devices should always be taken into account. The ventilation system will usually include a bird protection screen, a flow adjustment flap and if necessary: ventilation filters.
If your compressed air system contains more than one compressor, it is highly advised to install a thermostatically controlled ventilation system that will divide the openings according to the position and power of the each compressor unit.
Water cooled air compressors are usually powered by air cooled motors: these radiate heat. Therefore these also require appropriate ventilation. About 20% of the power of water cooled air compressor is converted into heat. This needs to be removed by the cooling air. Thus in this case correctly sized ventilation openings are also vital.