industrial desiccant air dryer

How Does a Desiccant Air Dryer Work?

Compressed air dryers play a vital role in many manufacturing and commercial settings. These dryers work by removing moisture from the compressed air. This is crucial because the excess humidity in the air can cause pipes to freeze, and tools and equipment to erode over time.

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While there are several types of air dryers available, one of the most common is a desiccant air dryer.

What Is Desiccant?

A desiccant is a specialized drying agent that works by removing water vapors from the compressed air. There are two main types of desiccant, including silica gel and activated alumina used in air dryers. Usually, the desiccant takes the form of small beads, and it requires thousands of these beads to operate an air dryer properly.

What Is a Desiccant Dryer?

A desiccant air dryer for compressed air uses special drying agent beads to absorb water vapor from an air stream. These air dryer units are often regenerative so that the drying agent doesn’t need replacing in order to provide vapor-free compressed air consistently.

Before purchasing a new or replacement desiccant dryer for your business, it is essential to understand how they work. This understanding will help you determine which desiccant material air dryer is best for your company.

How Desiccant Dryers Work

how regenerative desiccant dryer works

Typically, a desiccant dryer system will have a two-tower design. While both towers have thousands of desiccant beads, they perform two very different processes.

One tower works to dry the compressed air by removing the water vapor, and the second tower works to regenerate the desiccant. The goal of the regeneration cycle is to remove as much water from the compressed air as possible to bring it to a level where the water will not condense.

The air compressor desiccant dryer is programmed to handle this process automatically based on dew point levels. It is important, however, to regularly check to make sure that the air dryer is functioning correctly. This can be done by looking through the small glass window located on the desiccant air dryer system. Through the window, you will see indicator beads that will change color if there is too much water in the air.

How to Regenerate Desiccant

There are three primary types of desiccant air dryer for compressed air systems used for regeneration.

Hot Air System

This system uses a fan to blow hot air over the desiccant, so it dries.

Oil-Free Rotary Screw System

This system uses the heat from the compressor itself for regeneration. Since there is no need to produce additional heat, this system can help reduce energy costs.

Dried Air System

This system uses some of the compressed air for regeneration and is only suitable for a smaller dryer and not for an industrial desiccant air dryer.

Things to Consider

There are several factors that you want to consider when deciding which desiccant type air dryer is ideal for your company.

Filtering System

To ensure your regenerative desiccant air dryer runs smoothly, you should install several filtering systems, including condensation trap, water filter, and oil filter to keep the water as clean and oil-free as possible before it enters the air dryer. You also should consider installing a dust filter to remove desiccant dust, which could damage your equipment over time, after regeneration.

Energy Costs

While vital to your company, air dryers can consume a lot of energy. Considering investing in an oil-free screw system to help cut down on these costs.

Desiccant Replacement

A desiccant is very effective at removing water vapor from the compressed air, but it will wear down over time. To keep your air dryer at peak performance, you should plan to replace the desiccant every few years.

The right regenerative desiccant dryer can protect your property, tools, and equipment. It’s essential for you to consider all your options when choosing the right air dryer for your company. Learn more about industrial air dryers and on-site nitrogen generation systems by checking out our website.

Contact NiGen today to find out which air dryer options are best for your specific location.