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Incorrect Uses of Compressed Air

Compressed air is a useful part of any industrial environment and there’s a tendency to use it for a number of tasks for which it may not be ideal.  These incorrect, or inappropriate, uses can be relatively banal or very dangerous depending on the specific action being taken.  Regardless, compressed air should be used only for uses it was designed for to prevent any problems from cropping up.  Here are some of the more common inappropriate uses of compressed air along with an alternative solution.

Never Acceptable

There are two uses of compressed air that are always considered inappropriate.  The first is personal cooling – when a user uses a compressed air line as ventilation.  Many compressed air systems run at pressures that could break skin or could potentially contain particulates or chemicals that could cause injury – so eliminating this use through training is crucial.  The second use is by using unregulated handheld blowing.  This means using blow guns or lances that are ‘open’ (which means using the full pressure of the system).  This can cause injury and is a violation of many health and safety codes.  Blowguns should have regulators both on the upstream and at output to make sure they are safe to use.

Better Alternatives.

Many lower pressure applications like cooling, drying, aerating, or atomizing can be accomplished via fans or regulated blowers – provided the blowers are limited to lower pressures of 30 psig or less.  Certain applications may require suction so compressed air might be used with a vacuum generator to create that suction.  While this is effective it is generally better to use a vacuum pump system in most use cases where a central vacuum system is practical.

Inappropriate compressed air use can be curtailed through management and the application of more effective technology.  If you’re looking for someone to assist in ending incorrect use or need something else related to compressed air systems contact CED today.


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