COMPRESSED AIR GUIDELINES

Reason1 Consideration
I. Design I.
A. General A.
1,2 1. Retain credentialed engineering firm with compressed air expertise to independently design the system without vendor
influence.
2. Establish performance related specifications for the system:
1 a) Development of such specification requires understanding compressed air demand requirements –not designing for
unlimited use or every potential contingency (i.e., consider compressed air as a utility –similar to the way we treat
electricity).
1 b) Avoid imposing our requirements on contractors in such a way that they could claim that we dictated or controlled the
design.
1 3. Assure that reciprocating compressor manufacturer’s recommendations about “critical lengths”are observed (requirements
do not apply to screw compressors). Critical lengths are the distances on the inlet and outlet sides of the compressor where
no obstructions from appliances (e.g., traps, drains, aftercoolers) or flow impediments (e.g., bends, elbows) are permitted.
Critical lengths must be constructed of straight pipe unless otherwise specified by the manufacturer. Critical lengths vary
by manufacturer and model. The manufacturer must be contacted to obtain this information.
B. Compressor & Compressor Room B.
1 1. Assure a clean inlet air source. Unless the compressor is fed via inlet from a fresh air source outside of the building, the
compressor system acts like a “vacuum cleaner”and collects contaminants from inside the building.
2 2. Assure that compressor room is not operating under negative pressure to reduce “vacuum cleaner”effect. Installation of
manometers inside and outdoors is required to measure differences.
1 3. Assure that flammable or combustible vapors (even from low vapor pressure materials like oil) cannot find their way into
compressor inlets. (In other words, allow no open containers of solvents or oils in the vicinity of the inlets to
compressors).
1 4. If the compressor is fed via external inlet (i.e., direct outdoor air source), assure that there are no exhausts stacks, exhaust
pipes, or other discharges (could even be from vehicles parked in the area) that could result in contaminants being drawn
into the compressor.

1
1 = Safety; 2 = efficiency

Avoid discharging through manifolds as assurance cannot be gained that all drains are functioning. 1 b) System controls default to controls of individual pieces of equipment in the event of fault. 1 4. Compressor manufacturers should specify where gauges should be installed. 5. 1 6. Assure that drain valves are individually hard piped. separators. and tube fittings for compressor controls lines to assure accurate signaling. 1 2. 2 1 = Safety. Specify or install high quality dual port test gauges (~$150) for measuring temperature on inlet and outlet sides of compressor. “drain liquid only”traps and assure that they are installed in accordance with manufacturers’recommendations. Install pressure gauges at strategic location in plant so that periodic measurements can be taken to assure that the system continues to function as designed. If reciprocating compressor or air receiver was manufactured before 1980.2 1. Specify or install high quality.2 3. Specify or install high quality dual port test gauge (~$75) for measuring temperature on discharge side of aftercoolers and innercoolers. (Exception/alternative: site may substitute a dye check every 24 months of the bracket-to-tank fillet welds for < 5 HP units that are operated <50 hours/year. 1. Assure that inlets to traps are located beneath the discharge points for tanks. If automating systems. D. COMPRESSED AIR GUIDELINES Reason2 Consideration 1 5. C. assure that: 1. Measurement/Controls D. 1. 1. Specify or install high quality automatic drains for air receivers to assure discharge of oil with water (Bekomatt drains recommended).2 a) All components work independently before completing automation. Consider automatic drains for other drain points versus manual drains. assure that receivers are isolated or separated from compressor motors.2 2. Bekomatt traps recommended. coolers. 1. 2 = efficiency . Assure properly rated relief valves are present and that there are no valves or other restrictions that could isolate the relief valves from the equipment they are designed to protect.2 1. 1. tubes. Specify Swagelock or Parker –Hannifen double backing ferrule fittings.2 4. 1 5. 1 3. and intercoolers to reduce the probability of accumulating oil and water. Traps and Drains C.

. Specify/substitute high thrust and/or high efficiency nozzles (recommend Silvent nozzles) for standard air blow off guns to reduce noise and increase system efficiency.2 1. F. Minimize length of air hoses to reduce friction loss and increase system efficiency (avoid coiled hoses where possible). 1 1. Specify or install high temperature alarms and shutdown interlocks (air and oil) for compressor. Distribution System F. COMPRESSED AIR GUIDELINES Reason3 Consideration 1 6. E. (Compressor manufacturer must be contacted for grounding specifications). 1. Assure proper electrical ground for equipment. 1 b) Assure that regulators can hold pilot pressure. In North America. Consider slave coolers to control dryer inlet temperature (Plant Air Technology should be consulted for contractors specializing in such work. 2 c) Minimize length of air hoses to reduce resistance to flow and increase system efficiency. (Excessive pressure can provide power to allow hoist to lift more than its rated capacity). tubes. 2 2. 1. and tube fittings to reduce leaks and maximize efficiency. 2 1. Be wary of replicator parts that can void electrical ground (particular issue if replicator does not include grounding grommets on critical parts). 2 3. highest temperature. 2. Specify Swagelock or Parker –Hannifen double backing ferrule fittings.2 b) Avoid single vented regulators.2 a) Invest in high quality regulators. Specify/install proper regulators4: 1. 1 2. G. Electricals E. 2 = efficiency 4 Regulator sizing should be based on highest flow. lowest inlet pressure in order to establish highest differential. Accessories/Appliances G. 3. suggest working with “Motive Air”716-689-0222). Hoist considerations: 1 a) Regulate and filter pressure upstream of air hoist to manufacturers’recommendations. 3 1 = Safety.

Maintenance III. etc). 1. annually) lift..2 A. set points for alarms. COMPRESSED AIR GUIDELINES Reason5 Consideration II. Operation II. establish a preventative maintenance schedule. 2 b) If compressor must be idled. Regularly inspect and clean (e. 90%.2 2.g. If a maintenance contract is not entered. a) Contact Plant Air Technology for recommended service contractors. plug or seal inlet and discharge ports (can even use duct tape). 1 3. C. 1 2.g. load and unload pressures). 1. Avoid operating equipment if specified parameters are not achieved or if all systemic equipment is not functioning (e. alerts. dryers) are not functioning unless a compressor expert confirms ability to do so.. 2 = efficiency .. A maintenance contract places greater responsibility on the contractor than issuing purchase orders for maintenance as specified by the user.2 3. Train operators on procedures and parameters. 1 1. 1 1. III.) 1 2. 70%.2 4.2 B. (Can simply use a journal). B. manually “jog”. 1. Periodically (e. Regularly (e. Idle compressors should be “bumped”at least monthly. Idle Compressors 2 a) Avoid idling compressors for an extended period since corrosion can attack machine components. 5 1 = Safety.2 D. Consider a maintenance contract with a reputable firm.g. monthly) lube oil return line strainers/filters are clean on screw compressors (does not apply to reciprocating compressors). 1 C. A. Document operating procedures (start-up and shutdown) and system parameters (“normal”conditions. Document maintenance and inspection records. monthly) inspect relief valves to assure that seals have not been broken. 4. 1.g. Replace pressure switches every 2 years. 1. or replace relief valves. D. (Requires inspection and cleaning of screen or filter. Compressor & Compressor Room B. A. General A. Observe manufacturers’allowable loading (e. 1. 1. coolers.2 1.. test. Avoid operating compressors at maximum working pressure on a continuous basis. Consider impact of dirty filters on allowable duty cycles and adjust operating demands accordingly. B. 2 c) When starting compressors that have been idled.g. “bump”or hand roll the equipment to prevent damage associated with corrosion..

Investigate deviations from parameters.. 7. Consideration should be given to purchasing an extra set of valves and setting up a quarterly valve rotation schedule). Improper gap can rob compressor of up to 15% of capacity. Normally. 1 a) If vessel is repaired. 1. 1.2 a) Regularly (e.2 c) Steam clean fins annually or as needed. allow only persons authorized by the National Boiler Inspection Code to repair pressure. valves should be maintained annually. 1 6.2 d) Regularly (e. Consult compressor service manual for proper gap. FM should leave behind a “Loss Prevention Report” detailing their findings. Lubrication 1.g. Investigate deviations from parameters. 1. adjust only if temperature deviates. daily) record and trend discharge temperature from compressors (measure downstream of the compressor –not downstream of aftercooler). improper ring gap can be diagnosed through temperature rise. COMPRESSED AIR GUIDELINES Reason6 Consideration 1 5. ASTM recommendations. daily) record outlet temperature from aftercooler. 1.2 a) Consider testing of oil viscosity and acid levels to assure its continued viability.2 9.g.000 hours of operation.g.2 8. This requirements applies only to screw compressors. 10.. Assure proper ring gap (distance between cylinder and rings). 1. Normally. monthly) inspect compressor fins to assure that they are clean and free from debris/damage.g. Dow Chemical Ultra Coolant or Sull-Lube 32 tests to be conducted every other month or after 2. Should check with compressor manufacturer and oil producer to determine useful half life of oil. 6 1 = Safety. 1. (Particular attention should be given to removing carbon deposits on discharge valves. Assure that compressor valves are properly cleaned and maintained. Records must be maintained of such repairs. Cooling of air cooled compressors and compressor discharges (for every 18o that recommended operating temperatures are exceeded vs. 1. 2 = efficiency . Inspect.2 b) Use high quality lubricants (follow compressor manufacturers’current recommendations) that minimize the formation of vapor. useful oil life is reduced by one half. 1 b) Regularly (e. Discourage work or repairs from being made on air receivers (anything that would require welding or hammering).2 c) Consider purchase and use of sump oil testing kit from oil producer. (e. Assure that Factory Mutual (FM) personnel or other authorized pressure vessel inspectors inspect pressure vessels at least every 24 months (more frequently if required by state/local code).

) 1 2. Use only Locktite PST 567 for sealing compressed air threads. daily) record and trend discharge temperature from compressors (measure downstream of the compressor –not downstream of aftercooler). assure that the desired level of service is being delivered. 1. Investigate deviations from parameters.2 d) Assure that filters and strainers are present and clean if untreated water is used for cooling. useful oil life is reduced by one half. Avoid use of Teflon tape for this purpose. D. 7 1 = Safety. Distribution Systems D. Contractor should provide periodic documentation to confirm that organics and mineral levels or other local issues are being controlled.2 b) On an annual or as needed basis (dictated when air discharge temperature rise is noted. Discourage manual blowdown. C. Water chemistry should be checked daily. 1 1. ASTM recommendations. 2 = efficiency . Conduct daily inspections/tests of traps and drains to assure that they are working. The second blow down 10 minutes later will eliminate the oil before it is allowed to float atop new water that is introduced to the appliance). (Conditions should be periodically documented. citric) cleaner to remove any deposits that are present if treated water is used for cooling. system may have to be blown down twice within a short period of time. assure that adequate pressure is present to effectively backwash them). Most units can be tested. Should check with compressor manufacturer and oil producer to determine useful half life of oil.2 a) Regularly (e. most units can be tested. 1. If blowdown must be performed manually (automatic blowdown preferred). COMPRESSED AIR GUIDELINES Reason7 Consideration 11. Drains. assure that oil and sludge are discharged as well as water. (To achieve this goal. 1. Problems with water quality should lead to more frequent inspections/cleaning of water jacket. Cooling of water cooled compressors: (for every 18o that recommended operating temperatures are exceeded vs. The first blowdown will eliminate the water and allow the oil that had been floating on the water to adhere to the walls of the receiver. 1. Traps.. If “Y”strainers are used.2 (1) If contractor is used for treating water. 2 1. etc. Contractor experience and expertise is critical. Small (sometimes only 1 pint) sump capacity makes manual blowdown an undependable control. 1.2 c) Maintain tight control of water quality to prevent build-up of deposits inside of compressor. drain. (Inspection/testing required.g. have a qualified contractor perform “in-situ”cleaning of water jacket by using a biodegradable. & Receivers C.g. water soluble (e.

. Orifices that expand in diameter without losing their roundness should also be replaced. COMPRESSED AIR GUIDELINES Reason8 Consideration 2 2. monthly) record and chart pressures from gauges installed at strategic locations throughout the plant to determine if system is operating per specification. Suggest fabricating gauges to determine when the nozzle goes more than 1/16”“out-of-round”. E. 2 c) Assure that kidney ports in pneumatic tools are not dirty or blocked.g. positive displacement lubricators for pneumatic tools. When the orifices lose their “roundness”. 2 1. Chart data to spot unfavorable trends and troubleshoot. Always clean threads before applying Locktite PST 567 and closing connection. 2. compressed air and attendant energy is wasted. Factories should add Dow Corning M Dispersion additive to oil). 2 d) Use 30 weight non-detergent spindle oil in factory (not as critical for non-manufacturing applications) air tools. Provide for efficient use of pneumatic tools: 2 a) Use gravity feed. Blasting nozzles (for grit blast operations): Maintain orifices in “round”condition. 8 1 = Safety. 2 3. 2 = efficiency . 2 b) Use wick feed lubricators for grinders. Accessories/Appliances E. take action accordingly. Regularly (e.