Kevin is looking at an old-fashioned water separator for air compressors. When you plumb your studio for air, a water separator is one tool that should be by the compressor where the air comes out of the main tank and into the delivery line to come into your shop. The water separator takes the high pressure air from the tank and runs it through a desiccant inside the separator so it comes out clean and dry.
Then the air is ready to be used. That’s because you don’t want your air tools to suddenly become water powered tools when you pull the trigger.
The compressor squeezes the air to create pressure and literally squeezes the moisture out of the air. As the compresses and is dumped into the tank, it cools and condensation forms in the tank, creating a puddle.
So when you’re ready to work, it’s a good idea to drain the tank. Kevin then shows the valve that lets you drain the tank, and how it works.
Next Kevin shows a line that comes in from the compressor. He shows a little water trap he made to capture some of the water before it gets into the hose – and potentially into his plasma cutter and other tools. He does have a water separator on the plasma cutter itself to take whatever might get through the line so it doesn’t damage the plasma cutter’s electronics.
If you have a big junction, it definitely helps to have a drain at the end of a line with a ball valve for draining the line so you don’t damage your air tools.
Kevin then talks about how there are different types of fittings and quick disconnects and how important it is to make sure you have matching ones. There are different styles and shapes and lengths, so you need to have the same kind. Buy both fittings at the same time so you know they will fit. If you have a leak, replacing both parts makes sure you get rid of your leak entirely.
He is also now making sure that all of the fittings are the same style so he can use any tool at any location. It’s worth it to standardize them, although he emphasizes that you don’t have to change all of them at once.
Another thing to look out for is the air lines. Kevin shows cracks in the outside covering of one of his hoses. The covering protects the actual line that carries the air. As the outer covering breaks, though, it exposes that inner line. If that line gets nicked, the fitting on the end could shoot off, and you could have a hose whipping around the shop. Check both ends – the part you use and the part that comes out of the wall. If you can see the inner liner, replace the hose. Otherwise you might have to stop and fix that problem at an inconvenient time.
You also want to oil your air tools. You can get air tool oil from “Horrible Freight,” any air tool dealer, the Snap-on truck, etc. Just a drop or two into the end of the air tool is enough to lube the seals and bearings. This helps your tools last longer and protects the tools’ moving parts against water in the line.
Kevin also recommends pulling back the quick release fitting before releasing it rather than popping it off. He says it even helps to hold the release’s sleeve back when attaching tools – this helps the fittings last longer.
Now that Caron is ready to go back to work, you might want to take just another moment to see him try to oil his tools ..