Using air receivers to optimise the flow rate and volume of an industrial compressed air system helps minimise energy consumption and operating costs.
Air receivers are pressure vessels that allow compressed air to be stored prior to use. They are key components of industrial air systems, which are essential to many applications and processes.
Installing a larger receiver tank can enable the use of a smaller and less expensive compressor. They are useful adjuncts to many applications as they can be added to allow for the output capacity of a compressor to be temporarily exceeded so that short-term spikes in demand can be met.
Receivers also create more stable pressure conditions, working to dampen compressor pulsation and make the compressed air system easier to control.
Air receivers can be supplied in a variety of sizes and strengths to meet specific customer requirements. A number of standards cover the certification of pressure vessels depending on where and how they are used.
Australian standard AS1210 sets out the requirements for the materials, design, manufacture, testing, inspection, certification and despatch of pressure vessels. The standard was developed to ensure safe and proper functioning of pressure vessels in order to minimise potential injuries to people using the equipment. All pressure vessels should comply with AS1210 as a minimum requirement.
In certain environments, a standard pressure vessel is inadequate and, potentially, a safety hazard. If a compressor is required to operate in a cyclone prone area, a special, reinforced design is required.
"Australia is a country with geological and climatic extremes where a compressor might face icy winds, earthquakes, cyclones and extreme ambient temperatures up to 50 degrees," said William Chan, Gas and Special Projects Manager at Compressed Air and Power Solutions (CAPS) Australia.
"CAPS can supply or build compressors and air receivers to cater for any and all of these situations."
Know your requirements
To ensure effective and efficient operation of equipment or a process, it is important to know the quantity and quality of air required, and whether an air receiver might be appropriate to the application.
It is advisable to carefully consider all available options prior to purchasing or upgrading a compressed air system. Careful planning is essential to ensure that customers obtain a system that meets their requirements in the most cost effective and efficient manner.
"You must think about where the compressor will be operating, what you need to do with the compressed air and the quality, volume and flow rate of the supplied air," Chan said.
Chan added that CAPS has expert staff who can design and certify custom-built pressure vessels to meet specific customer requirements.
If a compressor is to be exported, CAPS can also supply air receivers that have been manufactured to comply with American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) certification requirements. Such pressure vessels have either the ASME or ASME U stamp.
Compressed air and efficiency
According to Chan, the usual sequence of air treatments in a compressed air installation consists of the compressor connected to a storage vessel. After storage, the compressed air is filtered, dried, and then often filtered once more before usage.
It is important to obtain expert advice as to the latest equipment available when deciding on the configuration of an industrial air supply. Customers should have a clear understanding of what filters are needed for a specific application, how dry the air must be and whether demand will be relatively constant, or fluctuate during the course of operation.
Once these factors are known, the optimum sequence of filters, driers and other ancillary equipment can be determined.
According to Chan, CAPS has a staff of engineers and technicians with a wealth of experience and knowledge. They are able to design, build, install and commission a wide range of compressed air installations.
"CAPS can supply a unit that meets a customer's specific requirements with the compressor and all the required ancillary items assembled, tested and ready to go," he said.