The unclean, damp, and overpressurized air that exits the compressor in a pneumatic system can harm downstream equipment, including air tools, cylinders, and valves. To treat compressed air in pneumatics, you need to use FRL (filter, regulator, and lubricator) compressed air systems. These are used to provide clean air, constant pressure, and lubricate flow for optimal pneumatic system performance, increasing the lifespan of pneumatic products.
FRL consists of a filter, regulator, and lubricator. These units are often used together as one block, but they can also be utilized individually.
Filter – This is frequently the initial step toward bettering air quality. Dirt, water, and other pollutants are removed from the pneumatic systems through a filter.
Regulator – The next step is done by a regulator. The latter helps to ensure that downstream pneumatic components don’t exceed the highest operating pressures.
Lubricator – Lubricators deliver a regulated amount of oil into compressed air to lower internal friction in tools or equipment.
The FRL’s function is essential for the pneumatic system, that’s why you should choose the right one for your needs. With that in mind, we’ve compiled some essential tips for you to consider when choosing an FRL.
Consider FRL Components
First, identify your system’s air requirements to determine what FRL components you need. Typically, every air system should have at least one filter and one pressure regulator. Now self-lubricating seals are used in the majority of modern pneumatic tools. That’s why a separate lubricator is rarely required. A lubricator should be added to the system if the pneumatic tools aren’t self-lubricating.
And here are some helpful tips you should consider when choosing a filter, regulator, and lubricator:
- Filter – Consider the drain type and choose the one that meets your needs: semi-automatic, manual, automatic, or condensate drain.
- Regulator – Think of whether you need a relieving or non-relieving air regulator.
- Lubricator – Do you need an oil-fog (short distances, generally one component) or micro-fog lubricator (long distances, multiple components)?
And when choosing between 2 or 3-stage FRL units, choose a 3-stage unit whenever higher dynamic pressure is required. In some situations, you may just need to perform one or two functions: air filtering, air regulation, or air lubrication. If this is the case, a 1-stage FRL (or an FR combination) can be used to ensure the required function.
Consider Your Environment
Always consider the environment in which you are going to install the device. Housings are made of various materials to suit various environmental conditions. If the device will be positioned outside and exposed to heat, salt air, chemicals, or saltwater consider a metal housing for maximum durability.
For harsh industrial environments, such as near oil, gas, and heavy machinery, it’s recommended to use metallic FRLs. Small industries like vehicle service environments can benefit from composite FRLs.
Always consider the instructions of the equipment manufacturer and choose an FRL with a higher airflow capacity than the tool’s requirements.
Consider the Thread Sizes
Always ensure that the FRL unit connectors align with the thread sizes (such as 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, 3/8) and industry standards of connections on your installation.
Consider Filtration Level
Your filter’s capacity can be determined by the greatest size of the particles it filters out. When determining the needed level of filtration, consider the unit’s micron rating. Most industrial tools, such as impact wrenches, only require 10-micron filtration, whereas more sensitive components usually require 5-micron filtration. For pharmaceutical and medical purposes, filters as small as 0.1 microns and even 0.001 microns are available. Opt for the equipment manufacturer to determine the exact filtration requirements.
Don’t use a finer filter than is required as filters with smaller micron ratings have higher pressure drops through the filter. So, choosing a 5-micron filter when a 10-micron unit suffices can cause energy consumption and equipment wear, resulting in higher operating and maintenance expenses.
Benefits of FRL Unit
Here is a handful of benefits FRL units have:
- FRL units enable clean air flow to pneumatic system components, reducing the risk of system blockage.
- Parts last longer when they are lubricated.
- Regulator devices prevent pressure drops or rises, preventing leaks and component damage.
- The equipment’s life span increases through FRL units.
- FRL is easy to set up.
Now you know how to choose the right FRL Air Treatment by considering the above-mentioned factors. Choose the right air treatment and boost your industry needs today.