The Best Practices for Compressed Air Systems

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Large and small air systems require regular maintenance.

Using compressed air has many benefits. The most common benefit is ease of changing tools or devices. To the worker, power is always there and ready for use, as long as the system is running. With compressed air there are many systems working to maintain the unit. Proper maintenance is essential to ensure the air supply is there when needed.

  1. Maintenance Schedule

    • Scheduling maintenance for your air supply is the most important part of keeping it running problem free. Some jobs need to be performed daily while others need only be performed monthly. Make a schedule of what has been checked and when so you will know the condition of the system and what needs to be looked at next. Create a spreadsheet stating date, job and what was done or needed and refer to it regularly.

    Compressor Maintenance

    • The compressor is the most important part of your air supply system. It is essentially a pump and pumps are under pressure and can break down if not maintained. Check your owner's manual for belt tension, lubrication and motor maintenance. Perform all manufacturer's recommendations regularly. Keeping the compressor running smoothly will reduce problems with air flow throughout the system. Keep the area around the compressor clean as dust will get into the compressor and cause it to overheat.

    Valve Checks

    • Compressed air systems utilize shut-off valves, pressure valves and reducer valves, and all need to be tested to ensure they are in working order. Should a pressure valve fail it could mean a lot of damage to the system as well as the building it is in. Learn how each valve works and check each one on a regular basis. The valves should be clean and work freely. "Sticky" valves can change the pressure in the lines. Also check any quick connectors at the ends of the lines.

    Filters and Drains

    • From the air intake to the end of the line, there are filters and drains that remove particulates from the air. Once the filter gets clogged, the air capacity is greatly reduced, putting a strain on the system. Compressed air also creates moisture in the lines so check those lines daily. Go to each drain valve and drain all the moisture out of the system.

    Leaks

    • Leaks waste air and can cause major damage to the system. As air is used, it drains the tank, causing the compressor to work more to maintain the correct amount of air. Each time the compressor has to turn on, it reduces its lifespan. Another concern is pressure at the leak. Over time leaks in a pipe can widen and the pipe can blow apart. Check all lines and listen for leaks regularly.

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