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Made by Monkeys

Donít Put Compressed Air in the Floor

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Tool_maker
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Dry Air
Tool_maker   11/6/2013 12:39:52 PM
  It is amazing how cavilier some otherwis intelligent people are when it comes to dealing with compressed air. It is valuable and essential when dealt with properly and with respect. However, when treated without a thought I have worked with a guy missing an eye and another who had a couple operations to remove rust and steel particles that became embedded and then infected, under his skin when an airline blew apart.

William K.
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Dry Air
William K.   10/29/2013 10:21:05 PM
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DBell, I worked at a place that had a plastic air line, but it was a specialty air line, rated for 600PSI  working pressure, and it had special joints that to my quetioning eyes looked adequate for the task. Of course, the big deal is to always do the job correctly, which using the right materials is a ver good start. That cheap PVC is great for drain pipes and sewers, but if you pressurize it while holding it you can feel the expansion. And that is a sufficient warning for me. Use the correct material rated for a particular type of service. 

By the way, that air line was a distinctive shade of green and it was clearly identified with the manufacturers name, the model number, the working temperature and pressure, just like good hydraulic hose is marked.

dbell5
User Rank
Gold
Re: Dry Air
dbell5   10/29/2013 5:33:59 PM
PVC pipe for compressed air?

Not just a bad idea, it's an incredibly bad and dangerous idea!

PVC doesn't always fail "gracefully" and leak; it will shatter, propelled by the potential energy of the compressed gas. And PVC fragments don't show up well on X-Ray plates. Perfectly safe for incompressible liquids, but not for gasses.

Dave

GlennA
User Rank
Gold
Re: Water and air don't mix
GlennA   10/29/2013 4:05:57 PM
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William K;  Yes, it is possible to route compressed air in a trench in the floor - when it is done properly.  It sounds like that plant had someone with experience.

Critic
User Rank
Platinum
Dry Air
Critic   10/28/2013 2:15:04 PM
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One solution to this problem (piping in/under) the floor is to dry the air before it is distributed.  Buying and maintaining a drier does increases costs, though.

I worked for a small company that decided to save money by using PVC piping for compressed air.  Bad idea!  The shocks and vibration broke the pipes frequently.

William K.
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Water and air don't mix
William K.   10/28/2013 12:11:15 PM
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I once worked at a company that had air lines run in a combination drainage trench and utilities channel in the floor. The solution to the water accumulations happening was first, all of the discharge taps did point straight up, and second, the whole line sloped down to a section of larger diameter line that had a minute long blowoff just after quitting time every day. The section of line would hold over a gallon of water, much more than a single days accumulation. And the grill over the trench could all be removed for cleanout and servicing. But the trench was done with the original concrete and so the added expense was very minimal. It is possible to do, but air lines below are workable.

I worked at another place that had copper water lines in the concrete floor, and as you may be able to guess there were ongoing problems. The only real benefit is that they were good for a very high current ground connection.

GTOlover
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Expensive lesson
GTOlover   10/28/2013 9:55:25 AM
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Greg, I recall working for a company that had a concrete tunnel down the center of the plant. I thought that was kind of cool considering the plant was not large. At least not large in respect to other manufacturing facilities in the area. I asked about whose idea it was. The plant originally had everything underground. A water leak lead to erosion out one end of the plant. They had to bust up the floor to access and find the leak. In doing so, the company decided to build a tunnel. The bonus was now the compressed air could be purged down in the tunnel. The owner had to go the tunnel route as the building had overhead cranes wall to wall and no way drops could now be added with out looking 'unprofessional'.

If this glass company had to go this route, my guess, it was a very expensive fix!

Greg M. Jung
User Rank
Platinum
Expensive lesson
Greg M. Jung   10/27/2013 4:12:55 PM
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I hesitate to ask how much this fix cost.  I'm sure it was very expensive.

TJ McDermott
User Rank
Blogger
Where was the industrial engineer?
TJ McDermott   10/25/2013 3:54:35 PM
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Kudos for efficiency and elimination of unsightly piping, but where was the industiral engineer when the factory plans were being developed?  That's a pretty glaring oversight in that factory.

Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Water and air don't mix
Rob Spiegel   10/25/2013 9:04:26 AM
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Good for Sherlock Ohms seeing into this problem. In this case, Sherlock knew that air and water would likely mix if the system didn't take condesation into account.

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