A Good Shop Layout Takes the Air Compressor Into Account

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If an auto body shop doesn’t give enough attention to their compressed air piping layout, they will run into an improperly operating system. When running properly, a compressed air distribution system can cost less money than an improperly run one. There are three main problems that can cause a drop in air pressure, however when these problems are addressed the compressor piping may actually use up less energy overall. To see what your shop might be doing wrong and how to fix it, read below.

When Planning the Shop Layout, Don’t Forget About the Compressed Air Piping Layout.

Essentially, if your air fittings need to go around tight corners, or if you use a longer pipe fitting to reach across the shop floor, the chances of running into a problem increase dramatically. It all comes down to pressure efficiency. When pressure drops by more than 10% it could be a sign of one of the following problems.

    1. Sharp Angles. This one may seem obvious, and yet many mechanics think it won’t have too much of an effect. When the compressor pipe is creased at or near a 90 degree angle, flow of air is impeded in what is known as a laminar. Sometimes when the user isn’t getting the pressure they need from a bent pipe they’ll simply increase the pressure. Doing this is a bad decision as it increases pressure, but not in the way you want. It increases the pressure on the weakened area that is bent. What you can do to fix the problem is add elbow bends to the pipe if the compressed air piping layout requires the fittings to be curved to allow for proper pressure.

    2. Moisture. The air we breathe has some moisture, although we don’t usually pay much attention to it. The humidity may vary on a number of factors, but all air will have some
    moisture present when it’s compressed. Excessive moisture slows down air pressure in a compressed system, but adjustments to the temperature in the form of an air cooler can be helpful.

    3. Obstructions. Pipes can experience corrosion over time, which leads to the breaking off of pieces inside the fittings. Using the right materials for your air compressor and the tasks it will be required to form lessens this risk.

How to Save a Little on Those Utility Bills.

Properly working shop equipment does more than last longer than equipment that is poorly maintained. By running efficiently, it can actually require less energy when running. For example, a compressed air piping layout that has no sharp angles, obstructions, or excess moisture, might still have leaks. Leaks of as little as one eighth of an inch in a 100 psi system could cost the average shop about $1,200 over the course of a year in wasted energy. If all of these possible pitfalls are addressed, operating costs can be reduced 1.5% for every two pounds per-square-inch decrease in the compressor’s pressure.

One of the easiest ways to reduce costs in an auto body shop is to check your shop equipment and make sure it is running properly. For the air compressor system, this means checking for sharp angles, moisture, blockages, and leaks. If you witness a drop in pressure of more than 10% on the machine’s gauge, it’s time to do some checks.

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