Filter, regulator, & lubricator (FRL) units are combination air preparation components. These are essential for pneumatic systems in a diverse range of commercial and industrial applications.
They play a crucial role in maintaining the quality of compressed air. Furthermore, they protect downstream equipment, and improve the efficiency and lifespan of your pneumatic system.
At Orange Coast Pneumatics, we offer an expansive collection of FRL units from the SMC Corporation of America. Find the best solution for your operations here; then, continue reading to learn more about the benefits of these essential pneumatic components.
What Does “FRL” Mean in Pneumatics?
In pneumatics, FRL stands for "Filter, Regulator, Lubricator." This three-in-one component combines the functions of filtering, regulating, and lubricating compressed air before it enters a pneumatic system.
What is the Function of a Pneumatic FRL?
The filter element of an FRL unit is designed to remove contaminants such as dirt, oil, and water from the compressed air. These contaminants may cause damage to downstream equipment and reduce the overall efficiency of the system.
The filter element is typically made of materials like sintered bronze, pleated paper, or synthetic media, depending on the level of filtration required. The regulator function of the FRL unit is responsible for controlling the pressure of the compressed air that enters the system.
This is crucial for ensuring that downstream equipment operates within the specified pressure range and isn’t damaged due to overpressure. The regulator typically consists of a diaphragm or piston that responds to changes in pressure and adjusts the output pressure accordingly.
The ‘L’ in “FRL”
Finally, the lubricator function of the FRL unit is responsible for injecting a small amount of oil mist into the compressed air. This lubricates downstream components such as valves, cylinders, and actuators.
Lubrication is vital for ensuring smooth operation of the system. Additionally, lubrication reduces the wear and tear on moving parts over extended periods of time.
Combination Units for Pneumatic Tools
SMC's air preparation line of products offers a wide variety of filter, regulator, and lubricator units. Higher air flow rates and eight size options ensure energy savings and optimum performance in any application.
Small Micron Filtration is standard, maximizing cleanliness in your environment, while simple assembly and maintenance reduces downtime.
Command complete control over your pneumatic supply by integrating electronic pressure switches, lock-out valves, and “soft starts.” In addition to a wide range of accessories, combination units include:
- Air Filter Regulators
- Air Filter Regulator Mist Separators
- Ambient Dryers
- Booster Regulators
- Mist Separators
- Precision Regulators
Pneumatic air filters are essential components in pneumatic systems, which are widely used in industrial processes. At Orange Coast Pneumatics, we offer an extensive range of pneumatic air filters from The SMC Corporation of America.
Discover the best solutions for your compressed air systems here. Then, continue reading to learn more about the different types of filters, and how these parts empower you to maximize productivity.
What is a Pneumatic Air Filter?
A pneumatic air filter is a device that removes contaminants, such as dust, dirt, and moisture, from compressed air in a pneumatic system. The filter is essential to maintain the quality of the compressed air and ensure that the pneumatic components operate correctly.
A pneumatic air filter typically consists of a filter element, a housing, and a drain. The filter element is the part of the filter that captures the pollutants in the compressed air.
Meanwhile, the housing protects the filter element and provides a secure mounting. The drain is used to remove any accumulated moisture from the filter.
What are the Different Types of Compressed Air Filters?
There are various types of filters in a pneumatic system, each designed to remove specific types of contaminants from the compressed air. The most common types of filters are:
- Adsorption Filters
- Coalescing Filters
- Compressed Intake Filters
- Particulate Filters
- Combination Filters
Adsorption filters, also known as activated carbon filters, remove odors and chemical contaminants from the compressed air. These filters typically have a filter element made of activated carbon that absorbs the pollutants. Adsorption filters are essential in applications where the compressed air comes into contact with food, drugs, or sensitive electronic components.
Coalescing filters, also known as oil removal filters, remove oil and water droplets from the compressed air. These filters typically have a filter element made of synthetic materials that attract and capture the oil and water droplets.
Coalescing filters, like these SMC AFD-D Filters are essential to prevent damage to pneumatic components, such as valves and actuators. These can malfunction if they become contaminated with oil or water.
Compressed Intake Filters
Compressed intake filters are installed at the inlet of a compressor to remove contaminants from the air before it is compressed. These filters are designed to prevent dirt, dust, and other particles from entering the compressor and causing damage to the compressor components.
Compressed intake filters typically use a combination of filter elements, including pleated filter media, activated carbon, and desiccant. By removing matter from the air before it is compressed, these filters can also improve the quality of the compressed air and reduce the need for downstream filtration.
Particulate filters, also known as dust filters, remove solid particles, such as dust, dirt, and rust, from the compressed air. These filters typically have a filter element made of paper or synthetic materials that capture the particles. Particulate filters are essential to prevent damage to pneumatic components, such as valves and actuators, which can malfunction if they become clogged with particles.
Combination filters, like these SMC AF-A Filters, combine two or more types of filters in one unit. For example, a particulate coalescing filter combines a particulate filter and a coalescing filter in one unit. Combination filters are used in applications where multiple types of contaminants need to be removed from the compressed air.
Pneumatic pressure Regulators from Orange Coast Pneumatics have been updated to the new urban white base color for a clean modern look. You can monitor air pressure to either reduce or sustain the designated threshold. They have a low learning curve so that any human operator can manage your pneumatic system.
The pressure drop across the regulator has been reduced. This effect creates a more efficient unit with a maximum set pressure of 100 psi. The locking adjustment knob prevents accidental setting changes. Such an arrangement reduces the amount of human error, especially in the case of heavy industrial services.
Types Of Pressure Regulators
Generally, pressure regulators are a type of control valve. They directly regulate the amount of pressure that enters the machine pathways at certain points, and how the air molecules are sustained. As a result, they are important in the case that air is either excessive or too small to meet demand.
A pressure reducing regulator is installed upstream and focus on the input of air. These are better for sensitive environments. A pressure sustaining valve, in contrast, is usually installed to allow air into the machine. It handles downstream pressure.
The AR-A is one of our top air regulators, and one that can replace half of the AR- Special Environment series. There are five different body sizes. AR-B will replace the other half of the AR-Special Environment series.
If you would like a vacuum regulator, try the IRV series. It is designed for portability and compact, to fit into tighter systems. You can also get an adjustment resolution as an additional upgrade.
Do you need an even smaller series, for a compact system? The ARJ series fits the bill, with certain models with or without one-touch fittings. Other options include a pressure gauge and two possible mounting threads.
Options include a mounting bracket and set nuts for panel mounting as well as pressure gauges. The modular design of the AR-A series connects with other SMC air preparation equipment of similar size. Decide if you want threading, port sizes, the addition of a pressure gauge, and other standards. We’ll automatically notify you if a certain combination cannot be produced, allowing you to select an alternative.
Evaluate your temperature range for the environment and the materials that you would prefer. Stainless steel and brass are the general standards. The benefit of stainless steel is that it is long-lasting, waterproof and corrosion-resistant. A high heat threshold ensures that it can handle extreme temperatures. Brass, in contrast, has a smaller temperature range but is affordable and portable. It can be shaped into different substances.
Aluminum is a cost-effective option, if less flexible. Try to only choose plastic if you are on an extremely low budget. They are best when you want disposable regulators, and if the products are not held to high standards. You want to stay safe while controlling input and output pressures.
Industries And Devices That Use Pressure Regulators
Many pressure cookers and gas grills have pressure regulators and for a good reason. If a gas grill doesn’t have a valve that reduces the propane used, then it can lead to real hazards for the person using or anyone nearby, depending on the sparks in the air. Pressure cookers risk explosion if not monitored, and regulators assist with reducing that possibility.
You will also find these precision regulators used in doctors’ and dental offices. A good portion of anesthesia is administered by gas, and an overdose could potentially kill a patient. In contrast, if too little nitrous oxide or another sedative is used, then the person could wait up on the operating table or on the dentist’s chair, risking their health and stress level. For that reason, pressure control is more than necessary. It is a matter of life and death.
SMC's lubricators are available in several configurations to provide lubrication to your equipment. Modular models are available to connect directly to filter and regulator units to create a single air preparation module for a machine. Stand-alone micro mist and high flow lubricators can be used to meet more demanding or higher volume needs. All feature simple adjustability and easy maintenance.
SMC offers a variety of pressure gauges including general purpose, oil-free/external parts copper-free with limit indicator, clean series and a pressure gauge with a pressure switch. Pressure ranges vary from 0 to 1.5MPa, depending on the selected gauge. Panel mounting is possible.
Blow Guns & Air Nozzles
30~90% of air consumption required for the current nozzle operation can be saved with the appropriate selection of the new nozzle and sizing. Many variations of nozzles are available with tube materials including nylon, soft nylon, soft copper pipe and OST tubing.
Silencers & Exhaust Cleaners
The high noise reduction style silencers keeps the noise level inside a plant below 85dB(A) with a noise reduction effect of 40dB(A). Exhaust cleaners insure clean plant air and reduce noise pollution over 35dB. The AMC series also removes over 99.9% of oil mist.
Soft Start Up Valve
Soft start valves enable a gradual initial pressurizatin of a system and quick exhaust by blocking the supply of air.
Shut Off Valves
Shut off valves provide a convenient means of isolating supplied pressure in a pneumatic system and exhausting downstream pressure for maintenance purposes. Manual units can be locked in the exhaust position and can be an integral part of an energy isolation system. Electric units are easily integrated with machine controls. They can be used alone or can be conveniently connected to an FRL assembly using modular spacers.