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Picking out an inline filter is not an art, but it could be confusing if we do not ask the right questions or understand the process that requires filtration. Before we move any further, let’s take a step back and get a general idea of filtration and why it plays an important role within the compressed air system.
When you have a taste for coffee, it is simple to go to your nearest coffee bar or use a popular ‘cup’ machine, but we want more. The example I’d like to use consists of using the drip coffeemaker and roasted beans. One of the most important items in making a good cup of coffee in such a machine is to use a proper filter in order to avoid a cup full of grainy particles and any other remaining pieces of the coffee bean. As insignificant as it might seem, the paper filter plays a vital role in making coffee that you can enjoy.
Although, a different entity than a coffeemaker, your compressed air system needs a filter as well. Compressed air is full of particles, aerosols, and oil vapors (in oil-injected pistons and screws) that contaminate the compressed air and can cause potential harm to its end users (equipment that uses compressed air). Incorporating the correct inline filter can help you eliminate unwanted particulates as well as aerosols and vapors. The number of filters and types needed will be dependent on the quality of the air your application and or process requires. Let’s take a look at the different types of filters and the questions that will help you choose the correct filter.
In order to understand how clean your air needs to be, you have to identify and assess the application and process that utilizes compressed air. Not all applications and processes that use compressed air require the same level of filtration, which is why having this information, is the first step in choosing the correct filter. Compressed air utilized for pneumatic purposes can oftentimes be supported by a standard dry particulate filter that provides filtration down to 1 or 0.01 micron, however, if your process requires an OSHA approval and elimination of oil vapors, then a charcoal activated filter will have to be utilized. Let us get a better understanding of what contaminants are and how they affect compressed air systems. Contaminants within a compressed air system can originate from ambient air that is utilized, as well as the system (compressor) itself. There are three main contaminants that are found in compressed air: particulates, aerosols, and vapors.