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Low Cost Automation Tutorial

#062 Clean Air System for Pneumatic Actuators

Category : Pneumatic Drives
December17, 2010

Compressed air as the energy source for factory pneumatic actuators are produced by oil lubricated air compressors. The air as produced contains oil, water, and machine dusts, thus is not suitable to be used as is for the energy source for the equipment.
Additionally, there is a significant distance of various plumbing connecting the air compressor and the LCA actuators. Various other machines also share this compressed air over this distance and they mutually affect the air quality.
The drive components for LCA and pneumatic components are becoming more complex and elaborate due to demands for miniaturization and cost reduction, often resulting in troubles caused by inadequate maintenance activities.

The Clean Air System basics that generate appropriate quality air to avoid pneumatic system troubles will be explained.

(1)Classification of Factory Air Plumbing

The plumbing from the air compressor to the actuator end is classified into the following four sections.
 1. Air Source Line
 2. Main Line
 3. Sub Line
 4. Terminal Line

(2) Classification of Air Quality

The air quality is classified based on the production line and products which the sir is used for.
 a)General Industrial Air d)Precision Clean Air
 b)Precision Industrial Air e)Ultra Precision Clean Air
 c)Clean Air f)Medical Clean Air

(3)About Air Quality

Air quality is classified by the following parameters.
 1. Quality of air (Foreign material types in compressed air)
 2. Water and oil contents
 3. Size of solid particles and removal rate
 4. Odor

(4)Air Quality Classifications and Clean Air System

For types of air quality strongly related to LCA are explained here.

ClassificationAir QualityWaterOilSolids
General Industrial AirContains some dust, water, and oilHumidity100%
Water separation 80%
Precision Industrial Air: Industrial Equipment, Fixtures, etc.Contains some water but dust and oil are removedHumidity 100%1mg/m30.3μm
Clean Air: Precision Automation Equipment, etc.Contains some dust and oil but water is removedCondensation point at atmospheric pressure -17°C or less6mg/m35μm
Dried and chilled. Dust, water, and oil removedDried and chilled. Dust, water, and oil removedCondensation point at atmospheric pressure -17°C or less0.1mg/m30.3μm


Condensation Point ---Temperature point where water vapor containing air at a certain pressure becomes saturated and dew forms when cooled. Air dryness is evaluated with this index.

(5) Example of a Clean Air System

Various filters shown below are placed at the four classified air supply line, and air quality corresponding to each LCA are generated.