A compressor’s check valves perform an essential function that’s vital to the operation of a compressed air system. Located between the compressor and the air receiver tank or main header, a check valve is designed to prevent air from bleeding out of the tank or header and back into the inlet line when a compressor shuts down. Unloader valves, meanwhile, allow air to bleed out of the compressor line to reduce load on startup.
A check valve typically consists of a valve mechanism that keeps the header sealed when there is higher pressure in the header than on the compressor side. As a result of this design, a faulty check valve may sometimes leak at lower pressures but not at higher pressures. In fact, leaks can often be traced back to a faulty check valve.
So what happens to compressors when their check valves fail?
In addition to causing leaks, a check valve failure can damage the compressor itself. If a check valve fails in its open position, it can allow air to leak back from the header into the compressor when it’s not running. This, in turn, can cause the compressor to spin backwards, thereby damaging it in the process. More often than not, however, we see check valves fail when they’re closed. When this happens, the stuck valve can cause pressure to increase uncontrollably, ultimately leading to a compressor surge.
The good news is, there are steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of check valve failures in your compressed air system.
To begin with, it’s important to select an appropriately-sized check valve based on the valve’s orientation (vertical or horizontal), your compressor’s flow conditions and type of media (air or another gas). Your compressed air system should also be outfitted with filters to keep compressor lines and check valves free of debris. Finally, be sure to conduct routine maintenance on the system’s valve and compressor lines. This includes flushing the system, disassembling valves to inspect for corrosion and replacing damaged valves if necessary.
At Case Controls, we can help you maintain your compressed air system to prevent check valve failures and other common performance issues. To learn more about the onsite and remote support services we offer, feel free to give us a call at (812) 422-2422 or contact us online today.
Compressed air systems are utilized in many different processes in a variety of industries. Dew point monitoring is often essential with compressed air systems. This is what you need to know about the importance of monitoring dew point.
The dew point is the temperature at which condensation will form. This term is familiar to most people from weather forecasts. It is a useful measurement because it correlates to the amount of water vapor in the air or in a gas. Dew point is a term that refers to the dew point of a gas at a pressure that is higher than atmospheric pressure. The dew point temperature of a gas increases with pressure. The dew point is important when working with many compressed air systems.
The dew point is not important in some systems. Tire inflation compressors, for example, are not likely to be significantly affected by a variable dew point. In many applications, however, the dew point is important. Pipes with excessive condensate from a higher dew point freeze up if there is too much water. In many industrial applications, excess moisture in a compressed air system may lead to equipment problems. The header pipes made of carbon steel can rust, and pressure vessels can be compromised due to corrosion and rust. Actuators at a production line can rust and corrode due to excessive water making it through the compressed air system.
There are many applications that utilize compressed air to provide conveyance like food powders, plastics and even carbon black. These application require dew point be kept low to avoid product contamination. Consideration should also be given to controlling the dryer to the targeted dew point. The atmospheric moisture will change as the weather changes. Therefore, there may be energy savings possible by controlling the dew point.
Dew point monitoring can be achieved by installing high-quality dew point sensors and monitors in the compressed air system. The use of a pressure dew point monitoring system allows you to be sure that you are reliably maintaining the desired moisture level in a compressed air system. There are many factors that can affect the reliability of a dew point monitoring system, making it worthwhile to partner with experienced compressor control experts.
Case Controls provides high-quality control solutions for industrial compressed air systems. Our solutions have been proven over time with a variety of compressors. Contact us at 812-422-2422 to learn how our expertise and resources can improve the performance of your compressed air system.