Despite the emergency, the focus for Metal Work in 2020 has not changed: compressed air treatment for industrial applications. After launching several innovative products in the mechatronic area, this year the company decided to focus on an essential component for pneumatic automation, namely the “air treatment unit”, a clear focus for future developments.
Compressed air treatment is an essential energy source, extensively used in industrial applications for its benefits in terms of easy and practical use, cleanliness, safety, reliability and easy transport. However, to be used, compressed air needs special treatment, as the air produced by industrial compressors is not suitable.
To treat compressed air properly, it is advisable to have a pneumatic switch, commonly known as a V3V, at the inlet of every machine or plant. This enables the air flow from the compressor to be manually or electrically interrupted if necessary, and the downstream circuit to be drained simultaneously, removing the presence of pneumatic energy in the system as a result.
Another basic element is the filtration unit that cleans incoming air, as on arriving from the network it can contain solid particles that could damage pneumatic component seals if not filtered properly, or obstruct the micro internal passage of various elements. For this reason a good filtration system is required upstream of the plant, which is satisfactorily implemented with components known as filters. Well-designed filters can even separate condensation present in compressed air, by channeling it to an outlet valve.
It is also important to reduce the level of humidity in flows of compressed air, as water present tends to oxidise metal surfaces and, in the event of low temperatures, turns to ice which obstructs passages. Dehumidification is achieved with dryers, preventing possible obstructions due to tiny ice particles.
Finally, air flows from compressors often contain industrial oils that tend to remove the inert lubricants present in the pneumatic components, and in some cases cause the seals to swell. In these cases the use of a purifier with a coalescing filter is required.
Another standard component in air treatment units is a pressure regulator. In practice, line pressure tends to fluctuate as a function of simultaneity and use factors. Given the same compressor, when several loads are used simultaneously the pressure of each tends to drop. Conversely, when some machines or plants are turned off, the network pressure tends to rise. To obtain a fairly constant pressure, a pressure regulator is required, which ensures constant system pressure. The regulator can also reduce pressure if too high, consequently reducing also energy consumption.
While these elements are required for machine operation, other parts have a “protective” function. When available, a lubrication unit introduces small amounts of lubricating oil downstream that are compatible with pneumatic devices. The soft starter allows to adjust pressure in the startup phase of machinery during the day. The risk, in case of excessive pressure with a cold machine, would be possible damage to moving mechanical organs.
PRODUCTS BY METAL WORK
Many years of experience and focus on detail have led Metal Work to develop an extensive range of products for compressed air treatment, which have become reference models in the industry.
One of the bestsellers of the Italian company is “Bit”, a compact, cost-effective line of products in engineered polymers for the regulation and delocalized filtration of small devices. Available with 1/8” and 1/4” threads for capacities up to 600 Nl/min, the Bit range has the main functions (regulator, filter, filter regulator, purifier, lubricator and air vent).
Moving up in terms of size, the “Syntesi®” series is available in sizes 1 and 2 with interchangeable threaded bushes in dimensions between 1/8” and 1” for capacities up to 7,600 Nl/min. “Syntesi®” is a complete, modular and flexible range that includes V3Vs, regulators (individual or in a set), filter-regulators, purifiers, activated carbon filters, soft starters, pressure switches, lubricators, air vents and safety valves. The family is constantly expanding, with the addition of pilot-operated regulators in 2020, while more news and upgrades have been announced in the near future, making this product line one of the most appreciated by customers.
Another popular solution among buyers and manufacturers is “Skillair”, an evergreen series with a flow rate of up to 20,000 Nl/min., also acts as a dryer or lubricator with automatic minimum level filling.
The “New Deal” series is mainly made of metal for heavy-duty work. With threads ranging from 1/4” to 1” and flow rates of up to 4,500 Nl/min, the ND is designed for use in all heavy-duty applications requiring a particularly sturdy structure.
The “ONE Comprehensive Unit” encompasses in one engineering plastic block all the main functions of an Air Treatment Unit: from V3V to filter, from lubricator to pressure switch. All functions are accessible from the user side to facilitate the insertion of the product inside a sheet metal panel.
More news from Metal Work include the “High-Relief Regulator”, a particularly sensitive regulator from the series “Regtronic” used for manual precision regulations via keyboard or remote control, with M5 2” threads and flow rates up to 20,000 Nl/min.
News and innovation are not stopping even during this emergency period: at Metal Work, imagination has not surrendered to the Coronavirus and the second part of 2020 will bring many new products and an untiring desire to keep moving on.