Compressed Air: Its Applications and Uses
Most of the things that people use have some involvement with compressed air. There are many applications, but before looking into all of them, one must understand what compressed air and everything it entails is.
What is Compressed Air?
Compressed air is made of the air we breathe in and out. It entails taking the atmospheric air and forcing it into a smaller volume for the molecules to occupy less space.
The air ingredients don’t change; all that does is the amount of space the air takes up. Air; be it atmospheric or compressed, is made up of:
• 1 to 2% carbon dioxide, water vapor, and other gases
• 20 to 21% oxygen
• 78% nitrogen
Compression of Air
To attain compressed air, people use two simple steps. They will entail trapping the air in a tank, cylinder, or a similar container and reducing the container’s space to force all the air molecules close together.
The compressed air will remain in this trapped state, waiting for expansion or use. Some people make use of other air compressors to achieve the same result. Some of these tools can include reciprocating air compressors and rotary air compressors.
There is pressure in the compressed air because the air is trapped in a small space, and it wants to spread apart as quickly as possible. To attain compressed air, one has to force the molecules together until they are at 6004 PSI or 414 bars.
As stated earlier, compressed air comprises tons of atmospheric air molecules squeezed together. In return, the molecules will move quickly in the container, thus generating heat. Aftercoolers assist in trapping the compressed air and ensure that it won’t be a hazard in its compressed state.
Uses of Compressed Air
In the industry, there are two applications of compressed air. They include:
• As a source of energy
• As a part of a process
Compressed air is used as a source of energy since its essential to mechanical work. It’s an essential item for powering pneumatic production equipment, pressure clean parts, air operated lathe chucks, and cooling or conveying items during production.
When powering equipment, compressed air is safer than electricity. Even when equipment is loaded, there won’t be any hazards like those that electricity poses. Most electrical equipment can bring about fire or shocks that might injure personnel or damage property.
However, compressed air is a safer option since the personnel can use the equipment in different conditions like high humidity areas or wet floors. Another reason for using it is because it’s flexible.
Transporting compressed air to remote areas like construction sites and mines is easy. Also, most air tools will run cooler, and the users can adjust the torque and speed. With equipment like high impact drills, users will enjoy the power and force of compressed air.
Also, most tools powered by compressed air tend to be lightweight. The reason is that they are made more ergonomically with lightweight materials. Such equipment is perfect for companies and individuals who want to balance the costs. The lighter equipment ensures that the personnel will have lesser work fatigue.
In the Industrial Sector, There are More Uses of Compressed air. They entail:
• Textiles – Some of the different applications will entail texturizing, spinning, loom jet weaving, actuators and controls, automated equipment, clamping, conveying, and agitating liquids.
• Stone, clay, and glass – Applications in this industry include cooling, glass molding and blowing, conveying, actuators and controls, mixing, and blending.
• Rubber and plastics – The different applications will entail cooling, glass molding and blowing, tool powering, actuators and controls, and tool powering.
• Pulp and paper – Some of the industry’s applications will include controls and actuators, and conveying.
• Primary materials – Some of the applications will entail hoisting and vacuum melting.
• Petroleum – Different applications will include actuators and controls and process gas compressing.
• Metals fabrication – The uses in this field will include spraying, injection molding, tool powering, and assembly station powering.
• Lumber and wood – The different uses will entail pressure treatment, clamping, hoisting, and sawing.
• General manufacturing – The uses will include tool cleaning, tool powering, and stamping.
• Furniture – Some uses will include tool cleaning, tool powering, and air piston powering.
• Food – The different uses in this industry will include vacuum packing, cleaning, spraying coatings, conveying, bottling, and dehydration.
• Chemicals – The different uses will include actuators, controls, and conveying.
• Automotive – The uses will entail conveying, forming, stamping, and tool powering.
• Apparel – The uses will entail automated equipment, tool powering, clamping, and conveying.
Compressed air is also perfect for the non-manufacturing sector. Some of the different areas it’ll be useful will be:
• Wastewater treatment – The uses include conveying and vacuum cleaners.
• Transportation – Uses include air brake systems, hoists, and pneumatic tools.
• Service industries – Uses include climate control, hospital respiration systems, garment pressing machines, air brake systems, and hoists.
• Recreation – The different industries that take advantage are theaters, ski resorts, underwater explorers, hotels, golf courses, and amusement parks.
• Power generation – Uses include emissions controls, automatic control, and starting gas turbines.
• Mining – Uses include actuators, controls, and pumps.
• Agriculture – Uses include dairy machines, spraying of crops, materials handling, and farm equipment.
Reasons for Using Compressed Air
Besides powering tools within an establishment or home, compressed air is cheaper than electricity. Most of the equipment that works with it will be cheaper since they don’t need expensive electrical mechanisms.
The simplicity of design in equipment ensures that there is lighter equipment for your personnel. It’s the best utility solution in small and big enterprises alike. Even after answering what compressed air is, enterprises and individuals must know what they might be missing and how to appropriate a system properly.
It’s easier for personnel within an industry to use compressed air since the equipment won’t require an internal motor. In return, the equipment will be lighter and be in a compact package. Having fewer moving parts in these types of equipment will mean that they are more reliable.
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