The Importance of Monitoring Compressed Air Quality in Powder CoatingJune 17, 2016
Air compressors are an established workshop tool. Indeed, they're the essential generators of gaseous power for our finest pneumatic tools. Unfortunately, as valuable as these pressurized air sources are, they're also members of an inherently dirty mechanical family. Now, while most industrial applications can ignore a little dirt and oil, there's no way the naked output of an air compressor can be used in the powder coating process, a technique that relies on a pollutant-free finish.
Stop Dishing Dirty Air
Gaseous compression mechanisms suck large quantities of air inside pressurized vessels, but what about the content of that air? Airborne contaminants are also carried inside the reservoir, as is a slight humidity factor because the air we breathe is typically just a little bit humid. That's two outside pollutants to worry about, but wait, there's more. Oils exist inside the equipment, and they're blown free when the machine operates. Far from being clean machines, air compressors draw in every little pollutant, every bead of airborne moisture, all before wrapping those dual powder coating threats in a film of messy oil.
Working to Free Clean Air
The first line of defense is a series of intake filters and downstream sieves, but this is hardly enough to guarantee a clean and dry flow of powder from the guns. Next, aftercoolers and water separators remove moisture from the line. The standard evaporated humidity we all require to feel comfortable is condensed here by the cooler, at which point the separator uses centrifugal force to eject the now condensed liquid. Finally, an inline water and oil-coalescing mechanism removes tiny droplets, the vaporized contaminants that would otherwise cause the finely segregated powder to clump due to an aerosol effect.
Incorporate System-Monitoring or Risk Coating Failure
High temperatures and higher pressures dominate air compressors, so initiate a maintenance-tuned strategy before ramping the workshop up to full production speed. The air cooler and dryer is an important section, one that requires a diligent monitoring policy. The cool air stops water from evaporating and forming a wet mist. Additionally, inspect all inline filters for blockages, especially if the device is several years old. Corrosion is an issue when aged machinery is constantly exposed to wet air.
Dirt, oil, and wetness will compromise the even distribution of the powder, resulting in a cratering effect and poor surface coverage. Avoid this undesirable scenario by keeping the output of the compression device clean and dry, but also remember to use a quality device, one that won't add its own dirt in the form of rust and oil.
GP Industries Pty Ltd
1 Regal Court,
Vermont South VIC 3133
Phone: (03) 9802 1355
Fax: (03) 9802 6027
20 Burgess Road,
Bayswater North VIC 3153
Phone: (03) 9761 7676
Fax: (03) 9761 7671
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