Global manufacturing and industrial equipment supplier SPX Flow, through compressed air treatment supplier Artic Driers International, has introduced a “radically” new approach to compressed air drying, according to an Artic Driers International statement in July.
The incessant need to reduce energy consumption is an ever present fact for all plant engineers. It is estimated that compressed air production and compressed air treatment amount to about 30% of an average production plant’s power consumption.
The Phase Change Material (PCM) compressed air dryer, provides low dew point air through a unique and patented four-in-one heat exchanger.
The PCM material housed within a plate-to-plate heat exchanger possesses a high latent heat property that enables the material to melt or freeze at constant temperature. The PCM will absorb heat from warm moisture laden with compressed air without a significant change in temperature. The PCM material stays colder for longer periods of time. This system allows the freon compressor in the dryer to cycle the compressor with long off-time periods, resulting in cost savings.
The PCM dryer lowers the air system power costs and improves productivity by matching power consumption to compressed air demand. Compressed air loads fluctuate in any production facility. The PCM dryer cycles the power load to match compressed air demand with great effectiveness.
As the load fluctuates, the power requirement to dry the compressed air is matched in proportion to the demand. As a comparison, a noncycling dryer uses a constant 96% under any operating load. A PCM dryer when operating at 60% load only consumes 60% of its full load energy.
When compared with current noncycling variable speed drives, and older thermal mass type compressed air dryers, the PCM offers superior power savings, without the need to use complex variable speed drives, coolant pumps or glycol tanks.
Along with all other quality air treatment packages and filtration systems manufactured by SPX Flow Busan, South Korea, Artic Driers provides the expertise and aftercare support to Southern Africa as it has for the last 17 years. While the markets and importers may have changed considerably over the last three decades, Artic Driers core competency has grown and matured.
Artic Driers International, a family owned supplier, has provided support and compressed air treatment products since 1991.
Unique Compressed Air Dryer
In other dryer news, Arctic Driers International noted that it has sold over 1 000 of its unique compressed air dryers at an almost zero return rate.
Featuring a unique design, the TX Series air dryers have an evaporative cooler with no fan. This means no fan motor bush and no close fin spacing, so dirt cannot accumulate on the condenser coil and they can operate under all site conditions. They have a static condenser like the wide spaced domestic fridge/freezer panels. There are only three moving parts on the dryer: a timed electric condensate drain, the freon compressor and a rotary dew point indicator.
The freon circuit is different to that of a normal dryer. The gas leaving the compressor is passed into the static coil for cooling using cooler atmospheric air than the air to the freon reheater exchanger. This cools the hot freon and simultaneously reheats the compressed air, ready to enter the air line. The gas then passes to the main air-to-freon exchanger to cool the compressed air to dew point. From there it returns to the compressor.
The price is comparable with many low cost built dryers from other countries. The dryers are backed by a three-year warranty.
The design of any air dryer is critical to its life span. Many dryers, especially the smaller dryers for air compressors with capacities from 0.38 m3/min to 1.5 m3/min, are built to a price. The components making up a normal dryer are the freon compressor, the heat exchanger to cool the compressed air to 3 ºC, and the finned condenser coil with its electric fan.
The condenser coil and the fan are the two components most likely to cause premature failure of a dryer. On small capacity dryers, the fan has a bush, not a bearing. Atmospheric dust and dirt can cause the bush to fail. The fan motor then burns out, the fan stops and the freon system gets excessively hot. The high gas temperature burns out the freon compressor winding as well. The result is an expensive repair requiring a new freon compressor and fan motor, along with a gas refill and labour costs.
If the fan bush does not fail, the close fin design of the condenser is the next potential cause of failure. As dirt blocks the cooling air flow through the condenser, the gas temperature rises, the fan switch overworks and the bush works harder, along with the fan motor. Either an elevated gas temperature causes a freon compressor winding failure or the bush fails again, resulting in an expensive repair bill.