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When compressed air quality is compromised by particles, water, and oils, it can reduce the functionality of the components and systems it serves. This can compromise productivity and efficiency.

A variety of compressed air filtration products can help ensure the health of your system. Regular preventative maintenance can also help.

The Purpose Of Compressed Air Filtration

Millions of dirt particles, heavy metals, and considerable water and oil can contaminate one cubic foot of compressed air. When they are not filtered out, it can impact the long-term health of your system. The lifespan of compressed air components such as valves and cylinders can be shortened.
The right compressed air preparation is necessary for keeping your machine running, reducing downtime, and reducing maintenance and energy consumption for your company.

The Variables Associated With Compressed Air Preparation

There are three variables involved with compressed air preparation:

  • Compressed air purity
  • Compressed air quantity (flow)
  • Compressed air pressure

Coordinating these three qualities can improve the quality of the compressed air. It’s also the reason for selecting the proper service unit components. When your machine runs with the required compressed air purity, it improves the running performance and the efficiency of the pneumatic systems.

The flow quantity is largely determined through the design dimensions of your air compressor. Larger components in general will have higher flow rates. Optimizing the compressed air pressure increases the efficiency, and minimizes the wear and tear, while reducing energy consumption. Selecting the right components can significantly impact compressed air purity, quantity, and pressure.

Filters And Air Treatment Components

There are different types of components within the air compressor for removing contaminants such as particles, liquid water, water vapor, odorants, and bacteria or viruses.

  • Filters – Filters remove particles, condensate and oil from compressed air. The air flows through a centrifugal separator and into the filter. Coarse filters have a pore size of 5 to 40 microns. Fine and micro filters remove particles between 1 micron and .01 microns. Activated carbon filters bond hydrocarbon residue, odorants, and oil vapors. Sterile filters ensure that the air is free of germs.
  • Water separators – Water separators come as either centrifugal or coalescing separators. They remove condensate from the air. A centrifugal separator causes a rotary motion in the air that forces particles to accelerate outward, toward the bowl. This is effective for water droplets, dust, and small dirt particles. A coalescing separator flows from the inside out in the filter. This type of cartridge needs to be replaced on a regular basis.


Dryers remove water vapor beyond the capability of the filters. The pressure dew points define the temperature the air can be cooled to without creating condensed water within the compressed air. When the temperature dips below that point, a condensate forms. That condensate can corrode other components within the air compressor, which is why dryers are needed. Here’s some information on different types of dryers.

  • Refrigeration dryers cool the air to just above the freezing level, allowing the condensate to fall off and drain away.
  • Membrane dryers suppress the pressure dew point in correlation with the inlet conditions. The water vapor diffuses because of a partial pressure drop.
  • Adsorption dryers are used when dew points of -40 to -94 degrees Fahrenheit are necessary.

Read this post to find out more information on when air dryers are needed.

The ISO 8573-1:2010 Defines Air Purity Levels

ISO 8573 was established in 2010 to provide a standard definition for compressed air quality. There are ratings for three types of contaminants: solid particles, water condensate, and oil. You can read this section of the ISO to determine more about compressed air purity.

We Are An Experienced Compressed Air Services Provider

Regular compressed air maintenance can be hugely beneficial when it comes to compressed air filtration. It’s important to have your machine serviced on a regular basis to keep all components working properly. We can also help you find the right air compressor for you.

Contact Compressor Services today for questions about your compressor or any maintenance needs.

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