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Allen Cockfield, managing director at Artic Driers, has a long track record of success in the delivery of clean compressed air. With close to 50 years’ experience and expertise under his belt in sales and back-up service across heavy industry, mines and the automotive business, Cockfield has covered it all.

Artic Driers is based in Rotterdam Road in Apex, Benoni, and it’s here that a small team of production experts tailor-make compressed air piping designs and packages to suit individual customer needs. The dedicated workforce of just 14 staff can cover just about everything with their range of Jemaco Air Dryer refrigeration units, from the smallest TX15 right up the largest models available.

Their range of TX air dryers is well suited to the auto refinishing industry with the ability to cover air compressors with motors sizes from 4 to 11 kW.  These compact designs have the latest environmentally friendly gases and a unique patented heat exchanger design. The reliability of these units is impeccable as the Korean designers eliminated the normal condenser block and fan unit, items that traditionally create a dryer failure. They require little or no floor space as these units may be wall mounted.

Using the very unique copper heat exchanger technology and coupled with an integrated separator design and timed electric auto drain. They only have three moving parts.

“Most of our business is carried out in Gauteng and we are able to offer any collision repairer or trade supplier a one-stop service on clean dry compressed air,” says Cockfield.  “We also do consulting on all things that revolve around the delivery of this vital commodity, compressed air.  Our SPX Dehydration systems are developed in Korea, and Artic Driers is the Southern Africa representative.

Why you need an air drier?

Air driers are great but not essential, this perception is far from accurate. Compressed air is an expensive commodity with an average power cost at R1 10/kWhr excluding the compressors maintenance. Labour parts, oils possibly. The total operating cost climbs quickly. As an example, a 15kW air compressor running eight hours a day for a year will cost the owner around R179 500 p.a. This includes a very basic maintenance plan.  “So minimising wastage and effective use of Clean Dry C/Air is obviously vital,” says Cockfield. “It is important to point out that this cost excludes the cost of poor air quality and the impact on the body shop,” he says.

Compressed air pollution – the source

Electricity, water and gas are forms of motive power, and are purchased from the municipality; these are clean metered and paid for. Compressed air and steam are the only two forms of motive power produced on site. They are the most abused and the most expensive to generate. Contaminated compressed air causes major problems in any compressed air system and these problems are never accounted for in any company’s accounts.

Air for the compressor is drawn from the atmosphere, this is the entry point for many pollutants. The pollutants are a combination of water vapour, compressor oils, dust, carbon, and pollens.  Compressed air condensate can also reach acidic levels, creating corrosion problems to piping and pneumatically driven equipment. It is these pollutants that are the causes of problems and failures on paint finishes and for air driven equipment they also accelerate air-line corrosion that leads to premature air-line failure and excessive air leaks.

The effects of poor compressed air quality

Product rejects – product failures are varied and may take the form of defective paint finishes, poorly secured fasteners, badly crimped rivets etc. This costs money and profits in materials and labour in re-work on a vehicle, for instance. Air leaks – a high percentage of air leaks are caused by rust and corrosion created by condensate in pipes and joints. Flexible hoses are attacked by acidic condensates, harden and crack, creating more air leaks. Many operations consider a leak rate of 15% acceptable. Leak rates of 20% to 25% are not uncommon, a leak rate of 5% is achievable with a little effort.

Premature tool failure – rust, carbon compressor oils and pipe scale damage air driven tools and equipment quickly.  When heavy water contamination levels are present it is not uncommon to see water in air tool lubricator bowls instead of oil. This leads to water being used to lubricate the equipment or air tool, invariably tool failure follows, rapidly escalating your operating overheads.

System low pressure – it is not uncommon for in-line filters to create air pressure drops. The filter does its job of stopping air contamination rust, scale, oils etc. But in this process the filter will create a pressure drop. The number and position of these filters is easily reduced if dry and filtered compressed air was used. Less filters and drain traps, means a lower workload for the maintenance team.

For more information you can call Allen on +27(0)82 451 9205 or +27 (0)11 420 0274, or visit the website www.articdriers.co.za