Best Practices For Compressed Air Systems

Posted by OCPneunmatics on Jul 6th 2020

Are you operating your pneumatic equipment the best way you know how? Many small business owners are looking for ways to cut costs and improve safety. Representatives of larger organizations have often expressed concerns that people are deferring maintenance and not operating things as well as they could be.

One big area these two groups have in common is the fact that they would do well to implement a list of best practices for working with the pneumatic systems that they have in place. This help everyone will stay safe when operating them in the future.

At the same time, a list of best practices can be a great way to ensure that everyone is on the same page and knows how to work with all of the equipment that you have in your shop. If someone needs to know something, then they can simply consult a list as opposed to making an educated guess.

We asked the experts from SMC Pneumatics for some blanket rules that can get you going. Take a few moments to think about these and see if you can’t come up with some additional guidelines for operating a pneumatic piece of equipment.

Best Practices For Any Compressed Air-driven Equipment

Perhaps one of the most important rules is to always follow all manufacturer specifications and never violate pressure guidelines provided by the pieces you’re working with. You don’t want to go over these statements, which should be considered hard and fast no matter what kind of gear you have in place.

At the same time, you’ll want to operate your equipment at the lowest practical pressure even if a higher setting would have been within these guidelines. Whenever you run a piece of gear at an elevated system pressure, you’re going to end up using more air.

As air consumption increases, so does the risk of air leaks as well as how much energy you’re using since your air compressor has to work that much harder. That means your system might not last as long if you’re constantly driving it too hard.

Running your gear at the minimum practical pressure uses less electrical power, assuming you’re drawing from an electrically-driven compressor system. For that matter, you’ll only want to use the number of compressors necessary for what you’re trying to do. Only one of these should be run in a trim control mode under normal circumstances.

Automatic sequencers sometimes optimize the selection of compressors whenever the demand for compressed air changes. However, you should be able to do the same if you just make sure to not run too much gear all at once.

Think about trying to work with only a single compressor for each circuit if at all possible. You’ll also want to keep plenty of extra pieces on hand, just in case something happens. For instance, you’ll want to consider pressure boosters if you ever run into a situation where your compressors aren’t doing the job but you don’t want to use too much gear for your current configuration.

You can also consider using digital gauges so you can see exactly how much pressure you’re working with in certain situations. When you have all of this figured out, you’re in a great position to audit the rest of your installation.

Auditing A Pneumatic Installation

You’ll always want to start by looking for potential leaks and replacing air tubing that’s gone bad. Some people have claimed that you might find a leakage rate of 20 to 30 percent in the system of some industrial plants, which is unfortunate because there’s so much great equipment out there that this should never be the case.

Eventually, you’ll more than likely find that it’s easy to spot leaks simply by listening to what certain equipment would normally sound like. If you notice that something has a tone that’s somewhat off or you hear something hissing in the background, then you know there’s a leak you’ll need to check.

Over time, there’s a good chance that you’ll notice some workflows around your shop that could be better managed by pneumatic gear. If that’s the case, then you’ll want to plan out a migration that’s in keeping with all of these other guidelines.

By making sure that everything is copacetic from the beginning, you won’t have to worry much about having to iron out other problems later on. That’s excellent news for those who already run beleaguered organizations and need to reduce the amount of additional work they have to do on a regular basis.

While you’re auditing your installation, you’ll want to keep an eye out for unnecessary bends and corners in your tubing. If you work to reduce these and make the line as straight as possible, then you’ll soon find that you’ll end up with a reduced risk of leaks and other maladies over time.

Some people might not think to do this, but you really do need to keep your installation clean as well because this helps to drastically reduce the chances of you ever developing something like corrosion or other problems. If this is a major concern in your organization’s workplace, then you’ll want to add something to your list of best practices that deals with corrosion-resistant equipment. You’ll want to specify special fittings and other devices, which can prevent this kind of malady from happening in the first place.

Most importantly, though, you’ll want to make sure that everyone on your team knows how to use the equipment you’re working with. If they’re not trained to operate it safely, then the chance is high that they’re going to make an error. You’ll want to lead by example and always operate your gear in a way that’s consistent with the manufacturer’s original guidelines.

Replace Worn Out Components With Parts From SMC Pneumatics

SMC Pneumatics wants to improve your air quality and energy efficiency. Those who are planning out new installations from scratch can also get a good overview of what sorts of parts are available. They can also find compressor controls that help you save energy. Those who might be dealing with gear that isn’t holding up like it used to will want to find some new parts that will. SMC Pneumatics can help.

If you’ve been dealing with compressed air-driven parts that aren’t as powerful as they used to be, then you can always contact us online and get in touch with our seasoned experts. They’ll be sure to help you find something that matches your current workflows as well as the equipment that you’re already invested in for operations. You’re always free to let us know if there are any special concerns, so drop a line if you’re dealing with any particular compressed air-related solutions.

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