Compressed Air Piping Systems

Thursday 16 November 2017

How To Choose the Right Air Compressor Piping Materials: Steel, HDPE, and Aluminum

Posted by at 11:21 AM

How To Choose the Right Air Compressor Piping Materials: Steel, HDPE, and Aluminum

Air compressors and compressed air distribution systems are used in many places including home workshops, auto body shops, and manufacturing plants. They can be used to inflate tires, remove wood chips, and power nail guns and other tools. Of course, no matter the application, it's important for the air compressors to properly work when you need them to. 

To ensure they're able to be used properly, you need to notice any issue as soon as it becomes apparent and fix it right away. If you aren't able to fix the compressor, you're putting your operation at risk. For example, if the pressure loss is more than 10%, you should evaluate your distribution system and identify areas causing the problematic pressure drops. Every two pounds-per-square-inch decrease in pressure will lower your operating costs 1.5%.

Along with keeping basic maintenance in mind, you also have to make sure you choose the proper air compressor pipes for your particular air compressor system. Choosing the correct air compressor pipes will ensure that your compressor will properly work for years to come.

What is the best choice for air compressor piping? Plastic, metal, and more
Many people use PVC piping. However, it is not recommended that one does so. It is used pretty often due to the fact that it is cheap and easy to install. However, since it is a plastic, there's a high chance that it will crack pretty easily. It may even shatter under certain conditions, and sudden failure of your air compressor piping can be equally dangerous to both equipment and people in the vicinity.

If you're looking for durable, long lasting, and safe air compressor piping, you will be much better off using aluminum-based pipes. This can include sturdy aluminum alloy pipes, but there are also more flexible options. For instance, you can choose flexible, bendable HDPE piping. There are multi-layer HDPE pipes with an aluminum core, giving you the strength and flexibility your system needs. If you are going with metal pipes, keep in mind there is a chance of developing rust and producing rust contamination that will damage the pneumatic tooling. As such, look for metal air compressor piping that comes with a corrosion resistant coating.

What other types of air compressor pipes are available today?
Today, there are a number of different plastic and metal piping materials to choose from, and all of them come with distinct pros and cons. Some of the most popular compressed air distribution system materials include galvanized steel, black iron, copper, and stainless steel. However, in recent years aluminum has become a more popular choice among engineers, architects, and craftsmen. Aluminum piping is durable, hardy, and economical, making it a superior alternative in a variety of applications.

Making sure you have the correct air compressor pipes for your unit, as opposed to ones that are cheap but dangerous, is key to running a smooth operation. If you have any questions about the best piping materials for your compressed air system, contact Rapid Air Products today to learn more.