Air Dryer FAQs
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Do I really need Dry Air?
A: If you only slurry blast, then no. If you perform any other type of sandblasting (using hard abrasives) then we strongly recommend using an Air Drying System, especially if using Crushed Glass, as it is porous and will absorb moisture and not flow well when it gets “wet”. Pushing moisture through your vessel and blast hose also makes your compressor run harder and inefficiently.
If you are using soft abrasives, then you must use an Air Dryer. All soft abrasives, especially baking soda and calcium carbonate, are much more susceptible to moisture problems – using a good quality air drying system eliminates the potential for flow problems and keeps your blaster in a dry state so it doesn’t require a lot of clean out when you’re done with your project.
Moisture Separator vs. Air Drying System ?
A: A moisture separator is a mechanical vessel that incorporates baffles in order to separate the water out of the airstream. A typical set up involves connecting two air hoses to the separator, one inlet and one outlet. The inlet hose directly feeds air from the compressor into the separator. The air swirls around, hitting the baffles along the way, and eventually exits the separator via the outlet hose. The separator collects any water that is knocked out during this swirling process. A manual valve found at the bottom of the separator allows for draining the tank periodically.
A moisture separator does not work very well in warm weather, as much of the airborne water stays suspended in the air as it flows through the separator. Also, a separator does not do a good job of capturing any other contaminants like oil or other debris that the air compressor may pick up when producing the air you need.
A true air drying system will still use a water separator but first it will cool the compressed air using an aftercooler – this greatly accelerates the water separation process, quickly producing condensate which then gets flushed out by the water separator. A really good air drying system will then force the air through a high efficiency coalescent air filter, which will trap any remaining contaminants, including compressor oil, etc.
Old-Style moisture separators are also heavier and more bulky than a New-Style system.