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TIP : The air compressor piping in your system can make or break the profitability of your enterprise. Lost power through inefficient or faulty piping can wipe out your profit margin and give your competitors an advantage.
Note : Paying attention to the layout, installation and maintenance of your compressed air piping system is key to control costs and keep your business running.
Compressed Air Piping Materials: Which To Choose
The current compressed air piping material of choice is aluminum. Lightweight but durable and resistant to corrosion, it is easier to install and modify than most alternatives. Typically, aluminum piping arrives ready to install and requires few tools to set up. It does not require soldering or threading, and it provides much cleaner air, leading to lower repair costs and a more efficient air stream. The downside is that, like copper, it can be more expensive upfront. However, many believe that aluminum pays for itself in the long run.
An old favorite, iron piping has been around for decades. One benefit to iron piping is fittings for it can be found at any hardware store and are generally inexpensive.
However, tailoring iron piping to your facilities can be challenging and also, because of the condensation that is unavoidable with compressed air systems, iron compressed air piping is prone to corrosion. Corrosion, in turn, leads to rusty debris, blockages, and possibly even leaks that affect the pressure of the compressed air. This, in turn, diminishes the power put out by your machine.
Pros: Price, Availability
Copper piping is an excellent choice for use with air compressors. Any condensation that builds up in the system will not corrode copper pipes, so the risk of debris entering the system is very low. It also withstands heat well. However, it can be expensive because installing it requires time and skill. Copper pipes require threading and soldering that can require expertise to be properly installed.
A great choice for compressed air piping is stainless steel because it is strong and resists corrosion. Like with copper, corrosion resistance in stainless steel piping produces a cleaner, more consistent stream of air. However, also like copper, installing stainless steel piping can be time-consuming since the joints require welding and threading.