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Frequently Asked Questions
An air compressor filter is a device that is used to remove impurities from air or gas streams that are used in compressed air equipment. The device typically consists of a housing with an inlet and outlet, through which the air or gas stream is passed. The housing contains a filter element that traps the impurities in the stream, allowing only clean air or gas to pass through.
Air compressor filters typically use one or more stages of filtration to remove particulates, traces of oil and water, and other contaminants from the compressed air or gas. The inlet forces the air to enter the filter, where it spins around a central axis. As the air circulates, contaminants are trapped on the inner walls of the filter and fall down into a collector. The filtered air then exits through the outlet.
You must use a filter for a compressor in order to remove contaminants from the air or gas stream that can damage the system. Compressed air equipment is designed to use clean air or gas, and if impurities are present, they can cause wear and tear to the components.
As air compressors are often used in industrial settings to supply power to machinery, these filters are important in ensuring that the air compressor is able to function properly and without interruption.
In factories and production lines, compressed air is often used to clean and dry containers for food and drink products and cosmetics. If this air contains contaminants, such as water vapour, it may harbour bacteria that can contaminate the containers. To avoid this, it is important to use compressor filters to remove any impurities from the air stream.
In addition, contaminated compressed air or gas can be dangerous to breathe if it contains oil or other chemicals. Compressor filters remove these harmful contaminants, reducing the risk of health hazards for people using compressor-powered equipment.
The most common compressed air contaminants are particulates, water, oil, and bacteria.
- Particulates can enter the air stream from the outside environment or be generated by the compressor itself. Common particulates include dust, dirt, and rust particles.
- Water vapour is another common contaminant, which can condense inside the compressor system if the air is not properly dried. Water can also enter the system through the inlet if the surrounding environment is humid.
- Oil can be introduced into the system through lubricated compressor components or from contaminated air that is being compressed. Oil can cause problems such as fouling of air filters and build-up on compressor surfaces.
- Bacteria can grow in contaminated air that contains water vapour and can cause serious health problems if it is inhaled or contaminates food and drink products.
There are various types of filters for compressors to suit different applications.
- Particulate filters trap solid particles — such as dirt, dust, rust, pollen, and tiny fragments of metal — from the air stream. These filters typically use a mesh or web of fibres to entangle and remove the particulates.
- Coalescing filters are used to remove water vapour and oil droplets from the air stream. These filters collect microscopic water and oil droplets, which coalesce (join together) to form larger drops that fall into a collector.
- Activated carbon filters remove contaminants such as chemicals, fumes, and odours. These filters contain activated carbon, which adsorbs (binds to) the contaminants on its surface. As activated carbon filters also produce fine charcoal dust, they should usually be used in combination with a dust filter.
The frequency of filter changes depends on the compressor system you’re using, the type of filter, the environment in which it is operating, the degree of contamination in the air stream, and how often you’re using it.
It’s best to consult your compressor manufacturer or filter supplier for specific recommendations. Most filters have a recommended maximum number of hours of use, after which they should be replaced.
In general, it’s a good idea to inspect your compressor filters regularly and replace them when they become dirty or damaged. This will help to ensure that your compressor system is operating efficiently and reducing the risk of impurities entering the compressed air stream.
It is also important to regularly clean or replace your air intake filter. This filter is located at the point where air enters the compressor system and prevents particulates from entering the system and damaging compressor components.
It’s important to choose the right type of compressor filter for your specific application. Some factors to think about include:
- The type of compressor you’re using
- The contaminants present in the air stream
- The level of filtration required
- Whether you need a particulate filter, coalescing filter or activated carbon filter (or a combination of these)
- The operating environment (e.g., dusty, humid, or oily)
It’s also important to consider the cost of replacement filters and the frequency with which they will need to be replaced. Some filters are more expensive than others but may last longer before they need to be replaced.