Do you know or understand your compressed air system? Do you know the effect that each component can have on your production and ultimately on your profits? When it comes to compressed air most people really do not understand their system and how it is a key part of their business. If I asked, “Do you care about your compressed air system?” most want to ignore it, but in reality everyone needs it to be functioning and productive for their operation to be successful. Everyone takes note of their electricity, water and gas.
These are the three primary utilities we all need and use daily. Most people also have a fairly good understanding of their three primary utility costs. The air compressor and the components that make up the system are termed the fourth utility and most always the utility that gets the least amount of attention. Every compressed air system begins with the compressor and associated components like a refrigerated dryer and in most cases downstream compressed air filtration and maybe a regulator in the most basic of systems.
One area that is overlooked even more than the compressor system is the piping system. As with any of the above mentioned components the piping system in a facility can greatly impact the production and profitability in any shop or plant.
When looking at any piping system it is very important to design the system with efficiency in mind as well as all locations where drops will be required for the immediate needs as well as some thought as far as future needs. The purpose of the compressed air piping system is to deliver compressed air to the distribution points of usage. The compressed air needs to be delivered with enough volume or flow (CFM), with the appropriate quality a user requires, and the correct pressure (PSI) to properly power the components that will use the compressed air. Compressed air is costly to produce. A poorly designed compressed air system can increase energy costs, promote equipment failure, reduce production efficiencies, and increase maintenance requirements. These are key factors as to why one should put emphasis on the piping system within their facility. As mentioned previously the compressed air system is the Fourth Utility within your plant or garage or shop and the piping system is part of this system in a key way.
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