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Selecting the Right Point-of-Use Filter

We’ve discussed types of filters in a previous blog entry and the particular filter we’ll be talking about here is not one of those that cleans the lines of all manner of particulates and condensate. This filter is the initial part of the filter, regulator and lubricator system (FRL) and its job is to remove solid contaminants and some liquid before the air moves through the end line into your air tool or other machine. Yes, unlike the larger filtration systems, FRL filters are smaller and built not to clean the entire system but merely as a last stopgap before the end use device is reached. It’s the last wall of protection against foreign contaminants and should be maintained correctly.

FRL filters are in the shape of bowls and come in two types, polycarbonate, and metal. Polycarbonate bowls have great visibility and strength but can be damaged by some chemicals including certain air compressor lubricants. For those reasons, metal bowls are the preferred filter components as they can offer excellent compression in higher pressure and without any chemical incompatibility. When installing a filter it’s important to make sure it’s sized correctly. If it’s too large it may not adequately filter contaminants and if it’s too small the pressure drop may be too great.

Filter bowls should be drained manually or automatically on a regular basis as part of a standard maintenance routine. Failure to do so will result in partial blockages that will result in drops in pressure. Additionally, replacements should be made regularly as well so that the filter does not lose efficacy in a way that that blocks air flow or harms the end use device. Because the filter bowl is the last filtration step before use it’s important to watch what gets trapped inside – too many particulates may mean a central filter isn’t operating properly and condensate in a system with an attached dryer may show a problem as well.

Selecting a correct filter will be part of the decision process you make when putting your FRL system together. If you’d like some extra information or are looking for someone to take a look at your filtration system at end use or centrally contact the experts at CED today.

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