Compressed air fail: when maintenance goes bad

Staff are getting busier and busier, being asked to do more with less.  When this happens, things will start to slide.  One of the first items on the list is maintenance, and often you can get away with this for a period of time … but eventually a critical failure will cause the crap to hit the fan.

Consider a building products company where a hot and dusty environment (and clogged coolers) caused the air compressors to run hot.  Hot compressed air carries excess moisture, with the water vapor doubling with every 20° F rise.  This compressed air cooled and the water dropped out as condensate. The condensate wasn’t drained due to a drain failure … so it it collected in low spots (such as the bottom of filter in the accompanying picture), in piping runs, and then was transported downstream to flood air dryer and carrying further contaminate the machines that consume compressed air.

The problem got so bad that the personnel in the finishing area started buying local air dryers for their individual machines; these desiccant air dryers consumed more air and made the problem worse.

The key point in all this is to ensure proper maintenance is done on the compressed air equipment.  Clean coolers and test drains to avoid problems in the future!

Source: Fluid Power World

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