Practical Hints

Simple guidelines for the selection of purification equipment
Imtiaz Rastgar, Chairman, Rastgar Group.

When evaluating compressed air filters or dryers, you can best serve your operational and financial interests by emphasising the following two criteria.Mr. Imtiaz Rastgar highlights a few practical and simple guidelines for the selection of purification equipment.

  • The quality of the compressed air reliably delivered over the equipment’s life cycle. The purpose of compressed air purification equipment is to eliminate the problems and costs associated with contamination by delivering high-quality, clean, and dry air. When selecting this type of equipment, the delivered air quality and the verification of performance must always be the primary decision drivers.

  • The equipment’s total cost of ownership. Equipment with a low purchase cost may turn out to be a very costly investment over the longer term. Always consider the initial purchase cost, plus the cost of operating and maintaining the purification equipment. Also, consider the cost to your business of poor air quality.

Note that while the equipment’s purchase price may be an important and easy-to-understand criterion, it should not be the primary factor affecting your decisions. Instead, to select air purification equipment optimised for your application, you should undertake a broad review of your system requirements that includes the following ten considerations:

  1. The purpose of purification equipment is to ensure air quality, you must first identify the quality of compressed air required for your system. Depending on your application, each usage point in the system may require a different quality of compressed air. Using the ISO 8573-1:2010 quality classifications will allow your equipment supplier to identify the correct purification equipment quickly and easily for each part of your system.

  2. ISO 8573-1:2010 is the latest edition of the standard. Ensure it is written in full when contacting suppliers. Specifications of air quality as “ISO 8573-1” or “ISO 8573-1:1991” likely refer to a previous edition of the standard and may result in a lower quality of compressed air delivered.

  3. Ensure that the equipment under consideration will, in fact, deliver air quality in accordance with the quality classifications you have selected from ISO 8573-1:2010.

  4. When comparing coalescing filters, ensure that they have been tested in accordance with ISO 8573-2:2007, ISO 8573-4:2001 and ISO 12500-1:2007.

  5. Ask for independent, third-party validation of product performance.

  6. For peace of mind, ensure that the manufacturer provides a written guarantee of delivered air quality.

  7. Oil-free compressor installations require the same filtration considerations as oil-lubricated compressor installations.

  8. When comparing the operational costs of coalescing filters, consider only the initial saturated pressure loss. Dry pressure loss is not representative of performance in a normally wet compressed air system. ISO 12500-1:2007 requires pressure losses for coalescing filters to be recorded when the element is saturated.

  9. Look at the blockage characteristics of the filter. Just because it has a low starting differential pressure, doesn’t mean it will remain low throughout the filter element’s lifetime. Energy costs should always be calculated based upon the blockage characteristics of the filter, not just initial saturated differential pressure.

  10. Look at the total cost of ownership for purification equipment, including the costs of purchase, operation, and maintenance cost. A low initial purchase price may look inviting but may result in high operational costs and other complications due to poor air quality.

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