In the course of your life, chances are good that at some point you’ve heard the phrase “size matters”. Whether or not it’s true is not only subjective, but situation-specific as well. Except in the case of compressed air storage, in this arena it really does matter, and big is undeniably the superior choice.
While calculating the proper amount of compressed air storage for your specific operations can be an involved process, the benefits of having it are easy to see, from minimizing system pressure loss and enhancing compressor part-load performance, to stabilizing and balancing air pressure, to name just a few. Which is why, when you’re re-engineering a compressed air system or purchasing air receivers, it’s in your best interest not to be stingy.
After size considerations, location is the next important decision. There are proponents who believe the primary air receive should be situated before the dryer. Others think it needs to be placed after it. In the case of reciprocating compressors, putting the air receiver after the compressor is better for it and the entire system. However, for other system types, there is good and bad on both sides of the coin. For example, situating your storage “pre-dryer” will reduce moisture load; on the flip side though, as the receiver takes in saturated air, a sudden spike in demand may cause your dryer to become overloaded, allowing moisture to travel downstream.
In the same vein, when placed after the dryer, the air receiver will give you the dry air necessary to handle such demand events without overloading the dryer; yet it’s far from a perfect solution. Such a placement can result in problems with compressor signal reaction due to a loss of the pressure band from pressure drop in dryers and filters..
In an article written for The Compressed Air Challenge, Scales Industrial Technologies’ General Manager Paul Shaw provides the ideal solution: installing storage both before and after the dryer, utilizing the wet receiver as the control point. He also explains the value of secondary storage, and the importance of check valves in preventing storage from being siphoned away by events occurring at other points in the system.
To learn the full story about how compressed air storage can improve efficiency and productivity for your operations — and save both expense and system wear — take a few minutes to read Paul’s entire article here.