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What Are Compressed Air Dryers?

By OTC Insights Team on July 25, 2022

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OTC Insights Team

Established in 1963, OTC Industrial Technologies is one of the largest industrial distributors & service providers in the United States. We're committed to seeing industrial operations advance through expert technical solutions & unmatched support using our years of experience.

With manufacturers relying on a myriad of utilities like electricity, natural gas, and water, few are as important as compressed air.

Efficient operations require reliable utilities. For compressed air, that means clean, dry air at a steady pressure. Compressed air dryers play a significant role in meeting those goals.

Discover the uses of compressed air dryers and the types that are used by manufacturers across the country.

A Closer Look at Compressed Air Dryers

A compressed air dryer removes moisture (water) from the output of an air compressor. Typically, air contains water. If compressed air reaches the dew point temperature, then the moisture in the air condenses into a liquid which can cause damage to production. Imagine getting water on a computer board, or additional liquid in a powder coat. That can cause scrap, waste, and wasted parts, materials, and production time, as well as damage to machines and equipment. It can also be a safety hazard.

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Compressed air systems supply motor-driven pressurized air using automated valves, slide gates, diverters, and other instruments and devices. To reduce humidity, the compressed air transits through a dryer to remove moisture before the air is dispersed through the pipes in the plant.

Compressed air dryers have had a significant advancement in recent years. These systems have been enhanced with better connectivity, fine-tuned control mechanisms, space-saving size, and remote monitoring services to measure the moisture in the output air.

Types of Compressed Air Dryers

Modern air compressors are a delicate balance of power and control. You need to maintain a steady flow of air pressure during use, keeping the air clean and pressure uninterrupted. Choosing the right air dryer for your needs can also be tricky. Consider the following six important factors:

  1. Desired pressure dew point

  2. Inlet air temperature

  3. Inlet air pressure

  4. Maximum air flow in standard cubic feet per minute (scfm)

  5. Ambient air temperature (and water temperature if your condenser is water-cooled)

  6. Installation environment of the dryer

With those factors in mind, let’s look at the different types of dryers for an air compressor.

Refrigerant Dryer

A refrigerant dryer lowers the temperature of the compressed air by way of the air-to-refrigerant heat exchanger. This condenses moisture into a liquid. The liquid, or water vapor in the air, is then trapped and removed for better air quality and purity. There are several types of refrigerant dryers:

  1. Conventional Refrigerant Air Dryers

With a piston style compressor, this type of refrigerant compressor uses a fixed speed with an “on or off” mechanism for operations. This can lead to higher energy use than necessary.

  1. VSD Refrigerant Air Dryer

On the other hand, VSD dryers utilize variable speed technology and an inverter for a scroll air compression. This saves time and money since the user can adjust the motor speed to match the air demand.

Desiccant Dryers

A desiccant dryer for an air compressor uses a material to absorb moisture in the air to purify it.

  1. Purge Regenerated Adsorption Dryers

Also known as a “heatless dryer,” moisture is absorbed by the desiccant, and then removed from the material and discarded utilizing expanded compressed air.

  1. Heated Purge Regenerated Dryers

A more energy-efficient option to the Purge Regenerated Adsorption Dryer, The Heated Purge Regenerated Dryer uses heat to expand purged air, reducing wasted energy by 25%.

  1. Blower Regenerated Dryers

Rather than compressing air, these dryers blow heated ambient air to a wet desiccant, minimizing 40% of air consumption.

  1. Heat of Compression Dryers

A natural option, this dryer regenerates the desiccant by using the heat organically emitted from the compressor. This eliminates the need for additional energy consumption.

A More Efficient Solution for Compressed Air with OTC

With so many options when it come to a dryer for your air compressor, it’s important to identify your needs and requirements, then evaluate your options. A more efficient solution can deliver better reliability and lower energy costs for every order.

OTC Industrial Technologies is a leader in air compressor sales and services. It has the experience and resources to deliver higher air quality, lower energy and service costs, and reliable uptime. If you have questions, or need help finding the best solution for your compressed air dryer, then contact OTC today to learn more about compressed air options.

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