For many industries, compressed air is a critical component in the manufacturing process. The air in our environment naturally contains water vapor, and as air is compressed, the water content increases and becomes a byproduct of the process. Air compressor manufacturers use intercoolers and aftercoolers to remove much of the water from the air stream to address this. Still, the coolers alone do not remove enough moisture for some applications, and an external dryer must be used.
Since air compressors are such a good heat source, many operators find benefits in recovering that heat and turning it into energy savings for their facility. To do this, your compressed air system will need a compressor paired with a dryer. There are many types of compressed air dryers available to remove moisture from the air, but it is important to make sure that if you decide to go down this path that great care is taken in planning your system. Often the selection would include both your compressor and heat of compression dryer.
There are many types of dryers on the market, but a popular type used in manufacturing is the HOC desiccant dryer. These HOC dryers use a process called adsorption to remove water from the air. A hygroscopic material, or desiccant, is used to remove the water, which clings to its surface. However, over time, the desiccant becomes saturated with water and must be regenerated or dried.
During its normal operation, the centrifugal air compressor creates heat. The HOC dryer reuses this hot air from the air compressor, which would otherwise be wasted, to regenerate the desiccant and release the water back into the air and away from the manufacturing process.
Before deciding to add an HOC dryer to your plant’s system, there are important factors such as the type of air compressor installed and the level of dryness that needs to be achieved.
To better understand HOC dryers and find out if it’s the right solution for you, check out our Hidden Costs of HOC Air Dryers in Centrifugal Compressor Operation white paper.