Basics of Air Preparation (FRL)

compressed air lubricator, regulator, filter

The system still contains traces of water and impurities after air is treated at the compressor.

Treating compressed air at the application point delivers a better quality compressed air, regulates pressure to the right level, and lubricates pneumatic tools and equipment.

The solution: F-R-L

Air preparation at the point of use involves three elements, known as FRL:

  • Filtration (F) removes impurities and much of the water still found in the air system
  • Regulation (R) adjusts the air pressure based on application requirements
  • Lubrication (L) injects a controlled amount of lubricant (oil mist or fog) into the compressed air system to reduce premature wear of tools and equipment

Filtration

compressed air filter

Topring series 50, 51 and 52 filters.

Even when air is treated at the compressor outlet using water separators, refrigerated air dryers, filters, water/oil separators or drains, a compressed air system can still contain traces of water vapor and impurities. These vapors cool down and condense into water. This water requires filtration and must be eliminated at the point of application to prevent premature wear of air tools and equipment, lubricants from losing their efficiency, and pipes from freezing as temperatures drop.

Although new filters will provide proper airflow, saturated filters will cause pressure drops. Adopting a preventive maintenance program that involves periodically changing filter components will increase the air piping system efficiency and prevent premature wear of pneumatic tools and equipment.

compressed air filterPaint application requires ultra-clean, dry air.

Where should a filter be installed?

  • Install the filter at the farthest point from the compressor to allow the compressed air to be cooled and vapors to condense (It’s easier to remove water in its liquid form than as vapor)
  • Install the filter as close to the tool as possible and before the lubricator and regulator
  • Always install the filter with the arrows pointing toward the tool or application (the arrows show the airflow direction)

Regulation

compressed air regulators

Topring series 50, 51 and 52 regulators.

An air regulator is a control valve designed to regulate upstream pressure (at the valve inlet) to a downstream pressure level (at the valve outlet). This ensures a constant and accurate pressure, even if there are variations in upstream pressure or flow rate through the valve.

Since the required working pressure of pneumatic tools and equipment may be higher or lower than the system’s pressure, it is critical that the pressure is regulated at the point of use. When compressed air tools and equipment are used at a pressure beyond the recommended level, energy is wasted, safety is jeopardized, and equipment is subject to premature wear. When a system operates at pressures below the recommended levels, it will not deliver the performance it is designed for. Controlling air pressure levels will optimize the efficiency of a compressed air system.

compressed air regulatorEvery tool and equipment has its own specifications for air pressure.

Where should a regulator be installed?

  • Regulators should be installed on the pipe leading to each outlet that service applications and tools which require a working pressure different than the main system
  • Always install the regulator downstream from a filter and upstream from a lubricator
  • Always install the regulator with the arrows pointing toward the tool or application (the arrows show the airflow direction)
  • Regulators can be installed vertically or horizontally

Lubrication

compressed air lubricator

Topring series 50, 51 and 52 lubricators.

Many components of a compressed air system and most air tools require lubrication to work properly and last longer.

Every air tool has its own specifications for lubrication. Too little oil can cause excessive wear and premature breakage, while too much is wasteful, can pollute, and lead to clogged pipes and equipment. 

Lubricators properly adjusted prevent excessive wear and premature breakage as well as limit waste and prevent clogged pipes and equipment. A small amount of oil is released with each use.

compressed air lubricatorLubricated air tools work more efficiently and last longer.

Where should a lubricator be installed?

  • Oil-mist lubricator should be installed within 5 meters of the application
  • Micro-fog type lubricator should be installed within 30 meters of the application
  • Always install downstream from a filter and a regulator
  • Always install the lubricator with the arrows pointing toward the tool or application (the arrows show the airflow direction)
  • Make sure the lubricator is accessible for replenishment. (check out Topring's series 69 air tool oils)

See Topring’s products for air preparation at the point of use

S50 MODULAIR FRL

S50 MODULAIR FRL

Description: Modular system, easy maintenance, available with ¼ in to ¾ in port sizes
Maximum working pressure: 150 to 250 PSI
> See the series

S51 AIRFLO FRL

S51 AIRFLO FRL

Description: Modular system, easy maintenance, available with ¼ in to 2 in port sizes, also offered in stainless steel
Maximum working pressure: 150 PSI
> See the series

S52 HIFLO FRL

S52 HIFLO FRL

Description: Non-modular, high maximum working pressure, available with ¼ in to 2 ½ in port sizes
Maximum working pressure: 150 to 300 PSI
> See the series



For more information on applying air preparation solutions, contact a technical adviser by calling 1-800-263-8677 or sending an email to solutions@topring.ca.

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Keywords

  • compressed air
  • compressed air system
  • air filter
  • air pressure regulator
  • lubricator
  • regulator
  • filter
  • topring
  • compressed air tools
  • pneumatic equipment

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