If you run a auto body shop, you know how important it is to property set up your compressed air distribution system. From using the right size of air compressor pipes to finding the right location for the system, there are things you can to to make sure your system works for you the way it should.
- Pick the right spot. When you are putting together the work station where the air compressed air system will be, your first concern has to be safety. You need to allocate enough space around the air compressor to allow proper ventilation. You need this to let the system be cooled correctly and provide the right amount of air for an efficient heat exchange to occur. You also have to factor in the amount of noise that is produced by these systems. The heat generated from the system can leave the surface very hot and can lead to injuries. These also have some moving parts that can also injure a worker. You need a source of clean, dry air.
- Keep other operations in mind. You want your air compressor to be close to the main air source but not in a position to have an impact on other work stations. You do not want to put it right near the front door of your business or near the customer service area, for example. Any area where you need to communicate with customers or others is not a good space for your air compressor.
- Think about your air compressor pipes. You can have the best air compressor in the world but if you have terrible air compressor pipes, your system will suffer. You should think of this in a “weakest link” situation. Your system is only as good as the least durable part of it. You need the air compressor pipes to have no leaks and be continuous.
- Support your lines. You need to have moisture traps along the line. You may need to add secondary lines to help keep water out of your system. Having lower points will encourage any moisture that gets into the system to pool in them rather than in the air compressor itself. By angling the air compressor pipes towards lower points, you can prevent the need for costly repairs later.
- Get the right sizes. When you are looking at your compressed air piping layout, size matters. When you have larger systems, you need to have larger air compressor pipes. There are some systems that can get away with smaller air compressor tubing but most experts in this area agree that bigger really is better.
- Make sure you have enough power. If you have a large air compressor that draws in a lot of air, you are going to need more power. To operate these systems, you need a single or three phase power source. If you are looking for a quiet and efficient system, the screw type compressors may work for you, they do not need as much power. Similarly, compressors that use a piston system have lower power requirements but they are noisy and hot. At the end of the day, you have to decide what your priorities are in terms of your air compressor system.
- Look at what your needs will be to clean and dry out the air. If your shop is located in a dirty, dusty or overly humid part of the country, you may have additional needs for your air compressor system. Some auto body shops need to add an after cooler. This will cool the area, remove moisture from the air and reduce the amount of any lubricating mists or oils that are used in the area. Most after coolers work by having an air flow that goes the opposite direction from the unit’s heat exchange system. Your heat exchange unit should be between the air service tanks and the air compressor itself. These should have moisture traps and filters to remove dust, dirt or oil.
Getting the right set up for the air compressor system in an auto body shop is very important to proper running of the business. With some work, you can get what you need.