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Thread: Air line conundrum - adding refrigerated air dryer

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    BEMIDJI, MN
    Posts
    127

    Air line conundrum - adding refrigerated air dryer

    Hi All,

    I have a question regarding a portion of our air lines that are buried in our slab. Bare with me as I attempt to explain our conundrum...

    Our 80 gallon Ingersoll Rand air compressor is located in a separate, fire-rated mechanical room along with our boiler, condensate tank and water treatment equipment. From the compressor, the air main goes down into our slab and runs out to the main production space before it emerges from the slab in a couple different points of use (near our keg washer, brewhouse and other general connection points). We have utilized a mobile canning service for the past year but will be bringing canning in-house in the near future. We do not currently have a refrigerated air dryer installed after our compressor. As such, the mobile canning crew has brought their own refrigerated air dryer to hook up directly in-line before their Wild Goose line. This has worked great and we have been packaging with this setup since we began utilizing their services. During the canning days, however, we do see the in-line filter bowl located immediately before the air dryer fill with water a few times throughout the run. We have just kept an eye on it and blown out the bowl whenever it gets half full or so. Being their air dryer is downstream of this point we haven't had any pneumatic valve issues - this bowl seems to be catching most of the water and their dryer seems to be doing its job despite the heavy air draws on canning days causing our air supply to become quite saturate with water.

    As we look to purchase an air dryer in the near future we would like to install it in the mechanical room, directly in-line after the compressor, so that our entire air supply to the production space is taken care of by this dryer. The big question/conundrum that we are trying to answer is if the portion of air lines that run down and into our slab before emerging out in the production space will eternally contain some amount of moisture, even after the dryer is installed? In our minds, they are acting just like a trap on a sink, only we do not have access to the lowest point to drain/dry them out. Will running dried air through these lines just eventually dry them out and take care of any concerns? We have filter bowls at all points in the production space where the lines emerge - will these be enough to take care of any leftover moisture from our days prior to running an air dryer?

    While we could place the air dryer inline right before the canning line, just as we have done with the mobile canning guys, we really want to take care of the rest of our pneumatic valves on our keg washer (especially) and our brewhouse.

    Are we worrying too much about any residual moisture in the lines? Will continued use, with a dryer, eventually run these lines nice and dry?

    Thanks in advance for any insight that can be offered. Please let me know if I can clarify any of the above!

    Cheers,
    Tom

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Kent, WA
    Posts
    304
    Quote Originally Posted by BemidjiBrewing View Post
    Hi All,
    [...]
    The big question/conundrum that we are trying to answer is if the portion of air lines that run down and into our slab before emerging out in the production space will eternally contain some amount of moisture, even after the dryer is installed? In our minds, they are acting just like a trap on a sink, only we do not have access to the lowest point to drain/dry them out. Will running dried air through these lines just eventually dry them out and take care of any concerns? We have filter bowls at all points in the production space where the lines emerge - will these be enough to take care of any leftover moisture from our days prior to running an air dryer?

    While we could place the air dryer inline right before the canning line, just as we have done with the mobile canning guys, we really want to take care of the rest of our pneumatic valves on our keg washer (especially) and our brewhouse.

    Are we worrying too much about any residual moisture in the lines? Will continued use, with a dryer, eventually run these lines nice and dry?

    Thanks in advance for any insight that can be offered. Please let me know if I can clarify any of the above!

    Cheers,
    Tom
    I'd imagine your below-grade line contains a significant amount of standing water now anyway. If your air drier works, and you send air that is well below the dewpoint through that under-slab line, it's probably going to be bone dry at some point, and stay that way. But to be sure, you might be able to install a smaller desiccant-based drier after it. You will probably not need to regenerate it very often.

    A place I used to work used dry nitrogen in our air lines, and you could connect something to it that had been thoroughly washed in water, and it would be dry in moments.

    Regards,
    Mike

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Kansas City, MO
    Posts
    29
    We had a properly sized refrigerated air dryer that worked great. But unfortunately, our canning line put a lot of work on it due to how close it was to the compressor running at 80% work load (Very high outlet temperature coming from the compressor). After repairing it once or twice, I finally upgraded to a high temperature model and it's kept up nicely. If you're going to put the dryer in the boiler room, I would look into a high input temperature model for your dryer as well.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    BEMIDJI, MN
    Posts
    127
    Thanks for the replies!

    rdcpro - I'm hoping your first suggestion is what we will experience (these lines will just dry out after use and be good to go). Good idea, however, with the desiccant air dryer afterwards. I'll have to look into smaller models of these that may work for what we need it to do

    enickohasan - That's a great point with the high-inlet temp. Our dryer will ideally be situated in our boiler/compressor room. It certainly gets hot in there! Would you be willing to share the make and model of the high temp dryer you ended up purchasing? Feel free to PM me if you'd rather not post it here.

    Cheers,
    Tom

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Moab, Utah
    Posts
    489

    Configuration

    Quote Originally Posted by BemidjiBrewing View Post
    Hi All,

    I have a question regarding a portion of our air lines that are buried in our slab. Bare with me as I attempt to explain our conundrum...

    Our 80 gallon Ingersoll Rand air compressor is located in a separate, fire-rated mechanical room along with our boiler, condensate tank and water treatment equipment. From the compressor, the air main goes down into our slab and runs out to the main production space before it emerges from the slab in a couple different points of use (near our keg washer, brewhouse and other general connection points). We have utilized a mobile canning service for the past year but will be bringing canning in-house in the near future. We do not currently have a refrigerated air dryer installed after our compressor. As such, the mobile canning crew has brought their own refrigerated air dryer to hook up directly in-line before their Wild Goose line. This has worked great and we have been packaging with this setup since we began utilizing their services. During the canning days, however, we do see the in-line filter bowl located immediately before the air dryer fill with water a few times throughout the run. We have just kept an eye on it and blown out the bowl whenever it gets half full or so. Being their air dryer is downstream of this point we haven't had any pneumatic valve issues - this bowl seems to be catching most of the water and their dryer seems to be doing its job despite the heavy air draws on canning days causing our air supply to become quite saturate with water.

    As we look to purchase an air dryer in the near future we would like to install it in the mechanical room, directly in-line after the compressor, so that our entire air supply to the production space is taken care of by this dryer. The big question/conundrum that we are trying to answer is if the portion of air lines that run down and into our slab before emerging out in the production space will eternally contain some amount of moisture, even after the dryer is installed? In our minds, they are acting just like a trap on a sink, only we do not have access to the lowest point to drain/dry them out. Will running dried air through these lines just eventually dry them out and take care of any concerns? We have filter bowls at all points in the production space where the lines emerge - will these be enough to take care of any leftover moisture from our days prior to running an air dryer?

    While we could place the air dryer inline right before the canning line, just as we have done with the mobile canning guys, we really want to take care of the rest of our pneumatic valves on our keg washer (especially) and our brewhouse.

    Are we worrying too much about any residual moisture in the lines? Will continued use, with a dryer, eventually run these lines nice and dry?

    Thanks in advance for any insight that can be offered. Please let me know if I can clarify any of the above!

    Cheers,
    Tom
    You should be concerned about seeing water accumulate in any separators downstream of the drier, and those should be auto drain type devices rather than manual. This is an indication that the air is still too wet. Water removal needs to be as automated as possible and not left to chance.
    While you may not have had control over that aspect of your air piping,the trap is a mistake on that application. I would look at putting a large receiver with an electric auto drain just after that dip, and you may have to look at running 2 driers in your case if your load is split up as you describe.....or otherwise re-piping the system distribution.
    You may be able to make it work ok with one drier, but I would plan for worst case scenario to get the most dry air possible to the equipment.
    A systems specialist at a Rand dealer may be able to suggest some configuration options.
    You air compressor should be fitted with an aftercooler, and there are extra water separation devices that can be added before the drier. Sometimes another cooler used as a precooler is helpful. Solenoid operated blowdown valves at strategic locations in the system are helpful. Especially on the compressor tank proper.
    If your location is temperate and with high relative humidity the problem can be much harder to control as air that is not sufficiently dry as it enters the system can reach dewpoint as it moves through piping.
    You never want to see your machine separators such as on your canner showing water in the sight bowls.This means the air is too wet coming in and it will be destructive over time.
    Your system, drier,piping, and all devices have to be sized correctly for the pneumatic load you are running.
    Last edited by Starcat; 04-30-2018 at 01:27 PM.
    Warren Turner
    Industrial Engineering Technician
    HVACR-Electrical Systems Specialist
    Moab Brewery
    " No Cell Phone Zone."

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Moab, Utah
    Posts
    489

    PreCooler

    Warren Turner
    Industrial Engineering Technician
    HVACR-Electrical Systems Specialist
    Moab Brewery
    " No Cell Phone Zone."

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Enterprise, Oregon
    Posts
    1,801
    We added a refrigerated air dryer to our system a couple of years ago. It took quite a while to get the trapped water out of our overhead lines, especially anywhere there was a dead leg.
    Timm Turrentine

    Brewerywright,
    Terminal Gravity Brewing,
    Enterprise. Oregon.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    BEMIDJI, MN
    Posts
    127
    Thanks for all of the feedback folks. We have decided to move forward with a high-temp model air dryer as well as a couple smaller desiccant air canisters at all points in the system where the air lines emerge from below grade.

    We will keep an eye on all filter bowls downstream from these additions and ensure we are not seeing any moisture.

    Cheers,
    Tom

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