Compressed Air Filters

Compressed air filters are essential for any air compressor. Although your compressor’s intake may seem clean, the atmosphere is not as pure as you might think.

Every breath of air you take will include not just the oxygen and nitrogen that comprise 99% of our atmosphere, but also water vapour, and small particulates. And if you have an oil-lubricated compressor, microscopic particles can make their way into your air.

These are not an issue at normal air pressure, but when you compress air, you increase the concentration of these impurities. And they all carry the risk of damaging your compressed air system or contaminating your products.

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How filters help

Filtration works by creating a barrier through which the component you want, the compressed air, can pass, but which traps the contaminants you do not want.

Due to the diverse uses of air compressors, the types of filters are just as diverse. This allows you to tailor your filtration to meet your exact needs. And it’s essential to make sure you get it right.

Over-specifying your compressed air filters creates unnecessary costs, but if you do not filter enough, you can risk spoiling products or even breaking the law.

Types of filters

Air purity is measured using ISO 8573-1:2010. This assigns three purity classes for water content, solid particulate, and oil. The latter two are managed with filters, and understanding the quality of your intake air and the quality of air you need for your processes can guide your choice of filters.

Particulate filters

In an air compressor, particulate filters can use different physical mechanisms to trap particulates.

Using factors like the relative weight of particulates, their size, and their erratic motion within the air, particulate filters can capture particles that are just microns across, leaving you with incredibly pure air.

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Coalescing filters

Coalescing filters help to trap aerosols, the tiny droplets that are suspended in your compressed air. Often it can be water, but can also include things like oil.

The coalescing filter encourages the aerosols to join, forming bigger droplets that cannot be supported in the compressed air stream. These then drop where a moisture trap collects them.

Adsorption filters

Finally, adsorption filters trap vapours in the compressed air. Again, this can also include water..

These work by passing the compressed air over an adsorption medium, which chemically bonds with the gaseous vapours in the air. Activated charcoal is one of the most commonly used filters since it is highly effective at trapping these.

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Applications of air filters

Every air compressor will need some filters that help to trap the largest particles that might, otherwise, damage equipment. But there are several circumstances where further filtration may be needed.

Low-quality intake air

If the compressor’s intake is poor, for example, because it’s located next to a process that creates a lot of particulates, it might be necessary to consider intake filtration to protect the compressor and other equipment connected to the compressed air system.

Manufacture for human consumption

Any facility that manufactures products for human consumption, such as food and drink, cosmetics, or pharmaceuticals, will need filtration to ensure their compressed air does not contaminate their products. This will be necessary even if only indirect contact between the compressed air and the product exists.

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Use of compressed air for breathing

If the compressor is being used for breathing air, then additional filtration will be necessary, even if there are no problems with the intake air. This is due to the fact that pollutants are concentrated in compressed air, and the compressor itself may introduce oil.

Installation and maintenance

Filters are designed for easy installation and maintenance. Most modern systems will even have bypass valves, allowing testing and even replacement to take place, without having to stop work, and interrupt production.

The level of maintenance and replacement required will depend on the type of filtration you use, and the setting in which they are used.

Let us take care of your filters

Anglian Compressors stock a full range of filters, all from original manufacturers, so you can be assured of their quality.

And we can manage all your filter servicing and replacement. Our service plans are fully inclusive, and we will actively manage your filter replacement, alongside testing your air quality, for a single monthly fee, so with Anglian Compressors you can be confident that your air compressor is always providing the quality of air you need.

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Filters Brochure