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Energy efficient compressed air drying

16 December 2022

Where compressed air applications need higher levels of moisture removal, desiccant dryers offer a solution – however this can be an expensive option. Addressing this, Hi-line Industries' new Hi-Plex dual technology dryers combine the company's established refrigeration and Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) air treatment technologies, creating an energy-efficient system at low capital cost.

So how does Hi-Plex work? Well, a Hi-line Tundra refrigeration system first removes bulk moisture via zero loss auto-drains, after which it chills the air to +1°C in the heat exchanger, condensing out all water to a +3°C PDP (Pressure Dewpoint). From here, the pre-dried air passes into an energy-efficient HPSA (Hi-line Pressure Swing Adsorption) dryer where it is further dried via adsorption to lower dewpoints of between -20°C PDP and -70°C PDP depending on end-user requirements, meeting Class 2 moisture content in accordance with ISO8573.1. As a point of note, Hi-line can add an Activated Carbon Tower for Class 0 applications.

Hi-Plex regeneration takes place by deploying a vacuumed-assisted fan, which uses a reduced amount of purge air to cause a desorption effect within the desiccant beds. A side-channel vacuum pump removes the small amount of remaining water (via exhaust silencers) back to the atmosphere from where it came. This plug and play system is fully automatic: wet air in – dry air out.

Importantly, Hi-Plex high-performance dual technology dryers typically run at only 1-2% purge in comparison with 13-15% on a standard desiccant air dryer. Even more savings are achievable following the specification of Hi-line’s optional AEMS (Automatic Energy Management System) for dewpoint control. AEMS features a digital dewpoint readout, high-humidity alarm, and set and demand regeneration function. As a result, customers can ensure they only use a minimal amount of energy to achieve dewpoints at any given time. In total, energy savings of over 70% are achievable compared with a conventional desiccant dryer, offering far quicker return on investment (ROI).

Every Hi-Plex dual technology dryer is application-specific, but built from standard off-the-shelf Hi-line products. The company adds all the components, stainless steel pipework and filtration to a compact skid at its UK headquarters and manufacturing facility in Burton-upon-Trent. Hi-line will happily cater for any special requirements, such as even smaller footprint or lower height dimension to fit inside a low-ceiling compressor house, for example. The company can also facilitate connection to customer software or a BMS (Building Management System).

Hi-Plex systems are available from 165 to 1700 Scfm, and from 3.1 to 10.8 kW installed power. A five-year warranty is standard subject to service criteria.