Continuously operating pneumatic units such as cylinders and semi-rotary
drives rely on the ideal operating conditions created by efficient air
preparation to improve machine productivity. href=”#CompanyLink:ID127741#”>Festo helps to optimise systems
with an overview of the most important manipulated variables and device
Quite similar to how fine particles, air humidity and air pressure can
make it more difficult to breathe and adversely affect the quality of people’s
lives, machines in industrial applications are also impacted by the quality of
air; therefore, the purer the compressed air is, the better their performance will
be, resulting in a longer service life.
The problem with contaminated
One cubic metre of untreated ambient atmosphere contains up to 180
million dirt particles, water, oil and chemical contaminants such as lead,
cadmium, iron and mercury. When compressed, the concentration of contaminants
increases many times over. Effective air preparation can help mitigate this
Modern service units from Festo increase the process and production
reliability in the long term and enhance the availability of systems. High-quality
individual components for on/off switching, building up pressure, filtering,
regulating and drying can be combined to suit the requirements of a range of
applications, resulting in harmoniously functioning units.
Three key variables
Three variables play a key role in air preparation: compressed air purity,
compressed air quantity and air pressure. These three variables are coordinated
based on the requirements and condition of the system, ensuring high compressed
air quality and forming the basis for selecting the corresponding service unit
Compressed air purity increases both the running performance and the
efficiency of pneumatic systems and can ensure compliance with legal
specifications in industries such as the food industry. The flow quantity is
largely determined by flow cross-sections and the design dimensions of the
machine; typically, the greater the dimensions of the service unit, the higher
the flow. In the case of the third variable, optimised operating pressure
increases the efficiency, minimises wear and reduces power consumption.
Interaction of forces
In order to coordinate the compressed air purity, compressed air
quantity and air pressure for the specifications of a system, the correct
individual components must be chosen, and they must interact in coordination.
For example, this may include on-off, pressure build-up and pressure regulating
valves, water separators, filters and drying units. On-off valves such as the
MS6-EM1 or MS6-EE from Festo, manually or solenoid-actuated, open and close the
air supply. When closed, the valve is exhausted automatically preventing
undesirable motions in a system, which is switched off.
Soft-start valves such as the Festo MS6-DL build up pressure slowly and
safely and do not switch to full pressure until a specific point, protecting downstream
equipment such as cylinders. Pressure regulators control the operating pressure
of a system constantly and compensate for pressure fluctuations.
Compressed air purity
Different filters contribute to compressed air purity by removing
particles, condensate and oil from the compressed air. These filters protect
pneumatic components against contamination and increased wear, and permit
compliance with defined purity classes.
Refrigeration dryers, diaphragm dryers and adsorption dryers cool the
compressed air down to almost freezing point, and channel off the condensate.
Water separators remove additional condensate from the compressed air lines.
Beyond the central units of a service unit, additional components such as pressure
sensors and differential pressure sensors also contribute to the performance
and safety of systems.
New technologies on a proven
Festo is continuously optimising its service units in close cooperation
with development engineers and technical users at companies. New technologies
and proven components lead to pioneering products such as the MS6-SV-E two-channel
safety valves, which permit a very smooth pressure build-up and fast, safe
Additionally, the energy efficiency module MSE6-E2M prevents undesirable
compressed air consumption by interrupting the compressed air supply when the
system is at a standstill. It also allows important operating parameters such
as flow and pressure to be monitored, thus sustainably increasing the process
reliability of production.
Festo’s modern air preparation components clearly prove that security
and efficiency, combined with competency and simplicity, are now the minimum
requirements for air preparation in pneumatic systems.