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Seven Rules for Improving Textile Product Quality by Improving Quality of Compressed Air

Follow these tips to increase productivity and profits in your Textile plant.

In today’s textile economy, much has been written on how important it is for Pakistani manufacturers to improve productivity and increase profits. Attention to the compressed air system remains an excellent source for attaining increased efficiencies.

Like gas, electricity, and water, compressed air is a common utility in most industrial and process plants. Typically, pneumatics consumes 10% to 15% of a plant’s electrical energy. The difference is that while other utilities are purchased, compressed air must be generated in-house. This puts the burden on the user to ensure the air is suitable for plant operations.

At times, ignorance can lead to neglect, which in turn leads to decreased efficiency and increased costs. Here are seven simple ways to improve this important fourth utility.

Rule # 1— Select the Right Air Compressor

You can select a variable speed compressor and can increase or decrease air delivery on demand with 25% energy efficiency right away than fixed speed. Today compressors are available in oil free, water cooled constructions.

Rule # 2 — Clean, Dry Air

Moisture in the delivery air becomes the reason for corrosion in pipes, leakages, contaminated supply air, earlier machine maintenance and also affects the production floor temperature/humidity which is critical feature for product quality. Install line filters, water separators and moisture drain to after coolers and properly sized refrigerant or desiccant dryer. Install auto drains on your receiver as well as main lines and monitor the air by adequate instruments.

Rule # 3 — Compressor Room Layout

Outdoor applications require special protection against water and freezing. Indoors, sufficient ventilation is crucial for successful operation since most compressors are air cooled. Place the compressor at least three feet from the wall to ensure proper air flow and be sure the installation site is sufficiently ventilated to handle the heat generated by the compressor during operation.

Rule # 4 — Do Not Use GI Pipe for Compressed Air Piping

Aluminum compressed air pipe provides smooth (low pressure loss due to friction) inner surface and eliminate self contamination but also offers enhanced flexibility to meet the ever changing compressed air distribution needs. The rust coming from GI pipe leads to leakages of compressed air as well as blockage of filters.

Rule # 5 — Monitor Water Content of your Compressed Air System

If compressed air is not dried before feeding into the pipeline network or the installed dryer is malfunctioning, then it results into substantial amount of condensate formation. This leads to problems in valves, pneumatic components and eventually results in loss of production. Hence, pressure dew point is one of the key parameters for the quality of compressed air and should be measured in every plant. Monitor water content of Compressed Air System through relevant devices to monitor the compressed air quality.

Rule # 6 — Pressure Regulator and Lubricators

A lubricator meters oil into the compressed air system, where necessary, to lubricate downstream system components and actuators. Make sure this component remains filled with lightweight lubricating oil and do not over-lubricate components. Most manufactures offer an automatic fill port, which makes it easier to fill under pressure. Assign someone to fill these weekly, and the wear from rust and corrosion will be greatly improved.

Just as under-pressurization of components is costly, so is over-pressurization. It is both dangerous and a major waste of compressed air. A simple solution is to install a tamper-resistant kit on each regulator. After the secondary pressure is set, no unauthorized personnel can easily tamper with changing pressures. This offers major energy savings and is a good safety practice.

Rule # 7 — Get Proper Training — the Key to Making It Happen

Getting control of the compressed air system is going to make it possible for any plant that relies on air to improve the quality of the product they manufacture and to improve their productivity. A number of key personnel within the plant must understand this complex utility and make a committed effort to upgrade and monitor the improvements. Education about the cost and complexity of this system is imperative.

Most of these recommendations can be done on a modest budget, where the real cost is in not doing anything.