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How Does a Refrigerated Air Dryer Work?

GWT Enterprise | September 30, 2022

Refrigerated air dryers are one of the most commonly used air dryers in industrial applications due to their ease in maintenance and relative cost-effectiveness. Designed to solve the problem of harmful moisture in your compressed air systems, the working principle of a refrigerated air dryer is based on dehumidifying air by rapidly cooling it, condensing it, and draining off the moisture. But how does a refrigerated air dryer work? GWT Enterprise is an established distributor of air dryers and compressors in Singapore, and we take a look into how refrigerated air dryers operate to benefit your business.

Why use a refrigerated air dryer?

When compressed air leaves a compressor, it becomes saturated with 3 types of contaminants – moisture, dirt, and traces of oil. These pollutants are in the ambient air before it gets compressed. Then there are those that get added during the compression process. Such contaminants can compromise your entire air system, your pneumatic tools, and your final products.

Moisture alone can damage the compressor, air motors, and valves, as well as possibly contaminate your merchandise. Corrosion, line freezing, and the creation of microorganisms are just some of its harmful effects. This is where a refrigerated air dryer comes in to remove this moisture and the risks it entails.

Working principles of a refrigerated air dryer

Air Compressors catalogue by GWT Enterprise

As the name implies, a refrigerated air dryer works by cooling down air. Warm wet air enters the air dryer, where it is cooled down to about 3 degrees Celsius. All water vapour that was in the air then condenses into water, which can then be removed from the system through a simple water trap. Thereafter, the cold air gets reheated to room temperature. As most of the water has been condensed and removed from the system, the reheated air is significantly dryer than it was before.

The cooling is done similarly to the process used in a refrigerator or freezer. Liquid refrigerant becomes evaporated in a separate circuit, and is used to cool down the compressed air. As the air cools, the refrigerant warms up. The refrigerant then goes into a small compressor of its own, then gets re-cooled in a condenser, with the process continuing as the air compressor brings in more air.

Learn more: Air Compressors – How Do They Work?

Maintenance of a refrigerated air dryer

Refrigerated air dryer maintenance in Singapore

Every make and type comes with its own specific needs and instructions. Therefore, always check the manual for guidelines on maintaining your refrigerated air dryer. In general however, preserve the longevity of your refrigerated air dryer by cleaning the condenser once in a while. A good way to remove all dust is by using a steel-brush and gently scraping it off. There are also special condenser fin combs targeted at cleaning and straightening the fins. Afterwhich, wipe with a damp cloth, then wipe with a dry cloth. Be sure to avoid direct spray washing, as this will cause damage to the electrical parts. Periodic vacuuming of the internal components during downtime is also recommended.

We hope this article has provided more information on refrigerated air dryers, their uses and technology. GWT Enterprise offers a complete range of air dryers, air compressors and air filters. Not sure which is the best solution for your operations? Reach out to our product experts to find out more today!

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