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2.19 Compressed Air Plant

2.19.1 General
Compressed air plant shall include at least one duty and one standby compressor
set which shall be electrically driven by flame proof squirrel cage induction motors.
Air shall be filtered at the compressor inlets to remove dust. Oil lubricated
compressors may be used provided that oil eliminating filters are installed on the
compressor deliveries. Where oil-mist lubrication is recommended for pneumatic
valve actuators, suitable lubricators shall be installed at each point of air use. Air
shall be cooled after compression using after-coolers. Air receivers shall be
provided to balance supply and demand and to provide an operating reserve. Air
dryers shall be provided. Noise from compressed air plant shall be limited as

2.19.2 Air Intakes

Air intakes shall be positioned to avoid collection of contaminants including
excessive dust, and away from any extractor fan discharge points. Air may be
admitted through an external wall or via an intake duct to the room which houses
the compressors. Louvered panels and primary filters shall be installed at the air
inlet. Filters shall comprise panels with frame-mounted elements. The elements
shall be washable, and a spare set shall be provided.

Intake ducting shall be galvanized steel and sized to minimize pressure drop and
vibration. If needed to suppress low-frequency noise, a suitable silencer shall be
installed within the duct, close to the inlet point. If air is drawn by the compressors
directly from the room, appropriate provisions shall be made to protect equipment
and pipe work from ambient temperatures. If air is drawn from outside the building,
heat from the machines shall be dissipated effectively at the time of high ambient
temperatures. The compressor room shall be properly ventilated.

2.19.3 Reciprocating Compressors

Compressors of the reciprocating oil-lubricated type shall be used. Each
compressor shall be rated for continuous operation at twice the maximum air
demand, or to recharge the receiver from empty in one hour, whichever is greater.
They shall be suitable for intermittent operation and shall maintain the associated
air receiver between pre-limits irrespective of actual air demand up to the
maximum demand.

Cylinder heads shall be readily removable for inspection. Each compressor shall
be driven via a V-belt drive by a flame proof squirrel cage induction motor, rated to
allow the compressor to operate at the safety valve setting without overloading.
The compressor and motor shall be mounted on a common base plate, with slide
rails for belt adjustment. A sheet-steel belt-guard shall be bolted to the base plate.

Where necessary, compressors shall have an automatic solenoid-operated

unloading system to facilitate starting. This system shall be initiated by auxiliary
contacts on the compressor motor starter, and shall be subjected to an adjustable
time delay. Oil lubricated machines shall have an automatic oil-lubricator, fitted
with indication of oil level and feed rate. The delivery side of each machine shall
have an oil-eliminating filter with provision for draining into a portable container.
Each compressor shall have an inlet air filter with provision for draining into a
portable container. Each compressor shall have an inlet air filter and silencer, a
pressure-relief safety valve, fusible plug, check valve and isolating valve.

Compressors shall be tested in accordance with BS: 1571 part 2. Safety valves
shall comply with BS: 6759 part 2. The installation of safety valves, gauges and
fusible plugs shall comply with BS: 1123 part1.

2.19.4 After-Coolers
Compressed air plant shall incorporate after-cooling. Unless otherwise specified, a
single after cooler with isolating and bypass arrangement shall be provided for all
applications. Aftercoolers shall either be of the air-cooled type with finned-tubes
and electrically driven cooling fan, or water-cooled shell-and-tube heat exchanger
type. Materials in contact with cooling water shall be resistant to corrosion. All heat
exchange surfaces shall be accessible for cleaning. Generally, the air outlet
temperature shall approach the cooling medium temperature to within 10C at
maximum air through put or as otherwise specified.

2.19.5 Air Receivers

Air receivers shall be installed where needed to balance a variable rate of air
consumption with a fixed rate of supply. The capacity shall be enough to limit the
number of compressor starts to not more than 10 per hour. Air receivers shall be
of welded-steel and conforming to BS: 5169, with corrosion allowance of 2 mm,
and may be either vertically or horizontally mounted. The vessels shall have
suitable supporting feet or cradles. Fittings shall include a pressure gauge
pressure safety valve, automatic drain valve with isolating valve and separate
manual drain valve. The drain connections shall discharge to an approved point.
Safety valves shall comply with BS: 6759 part 2. The installation of safety valves,
gauges and fusible plugs shall comply with BS: 1123 part 1. Pressure switches
with volt-free contacts shall be installed on the receiver to control the associated
compressors and initiate a low pressure alarm. The control relays shall normally
be mounted in the same panel as the compressor motor starters. Both the cut-in
and cut-out pressure settings of the stand by machine(s) shall be set lower than
the corresponding settings of the duty machines(s).

2.19.6 Air Dryers

Air dryers shall be of the automatic twin cell desiccant type designed to produce
an outlet dew point better than 0C. Dryers shall be the wall-mounting type, with
carbon steel absorber vessels packed with silica gel beads. Vessels shall each
have an electric immersion heater designed for a 415 v AC supply, unless
otherwise specified. Air inlet and outlet connections, and drying media filling and
emptying pads shall be provided.

Dryers shall incorporate an automatic absorber change over and reactivation

system comprising solenoid-operated valves and a control panel. Air for
reactivation shall be taken from the dry air outlet side, and passed through the
absorber to be reactivated at a rate controlled by an orifice plate. Dryers shall be
thermally insulated, and clad with aluminium sheet. Each absorber shall be sized
for 8 hours drying duty when operating at pressures between 4.5 and 7 bar g. the
reactivation cycle shall include a period of air purge with the heater deactivated, to
cool the reactivated absorber to operating temperature prior to change over. A
suitable control panel shall also be provided.

2.19.7 Air Pipe work

Pipe work up to and including 50 mm NB shall be in steel conforming to BS: 1387,
with heavy fittings in malleable iron to BS: 143 screwed to BS: 21. Threaded joints
shall be made with a temperature resistant jointing compounded. PTFE tape shall
not be used. Pipe work over 50mm NB shall be in steel with flanged joints,
designed to the appropriate pressure rating. Steel pipe work shall be hot dip
galvanized. No other internal coating is required. Instrument air pipe work and
fittings from the off-take point on the air supply main onwards shall comply with
the particular part of the specification. Pipe work shall be arranged to minimize
transmission of vibration.

Where necessary, connections shall be made with anti-vibration couplings, where

condensation is likely to accumulate, such as following compression or cooling of
ambient air, or discharge of reactivation air from dryers, the accumulation of
moisture shall be minimized. Appropriate traps and automatic drain valves
discharging to approve points shall be installed. Thermal insulation and cladding
shall be arranged to provide access to valves and other components for

2.19.8 Air Isolating Valves

Air isolating valves shall be generally of the cast iron gate type conforming to BS:
5150 or butterfly type conforming to BS: 5155. Air isolating valves up to 50 mm NB
may be in copper alloy to BS: 5154 where compatible with the required
temperature and pressure rating. Isolating alves shall be tested in accordance
with BS:5146 part 2.