The demand for temporary compressed air, air treatment and on-site nitrogen solutions for the chemical industry continues to grow. Specialized equipment like 100% oil-free compressors, air dryers, on-site nitrogen generators, accessories and equipment operators are often required to minimize downtime, maximize production and assist in seamless operations.
On-site units need routine maintenance and can even breakdown, requiring assistance from a trusted rental provider that can deliver the ideal equipment to keep facilities up and running.
Reasons to rent air compressors and related accessories range from the need of temporary air while on-site units undergo maintenance or breakdown, supplemental air to meet extra compressed air demand during peak seasons or special projects, additional compressed air demand during turnaround, upgrades or new projects.
Typical uses of compressed air in the chemical industry include:
- Process air — used in direct contact with product for product conveying, aeration and cleaning. Sometimes compressed air is mixed with product to accelerate drying processes. Quality of air is critical as compressed air comes in direct touch with the product.
- Air operated control valves and cylinders, air operated fluid pumps, air curtains – oil and water can result in pneumatic system contamination, instrumentation malfunctioning, internal corrosion of pipeline. 100% oil-free and dry air is critical for this application.
- On-site nitrogen generation — compressed air is filtered by a membrane to produce nitrogen used in a variety of chemical applications. High efficiency membranes and quality of air is critical for reduced cost of on-site nitrogen production.
When searching for a specialized rental solution, there are key factors that should be considered for the proper selection of equipment and suppliers:
- Quality of air: 100% Oil-free, dry air is critical to minimize downtime and maximize production. 100% oil-free compressors with air quality certifications are available with variable air temperature outputs, pressure dew points, accessories and operators. External desiccant dryers are recommended to remove moisture down to pressure dew point of -40F.
- Total solution: It is important to look at the total solution, not just the equipment supply. It is advantageous to have contingency planning of temporary air and nitrogen requirements for the critical process and applications system and to work with a supplier with strong knowledge of the various applications, and who has excellent project management and engineering capabilities. The logistics of the operation can often be managed from project commencement, to completion and installation. Commissioning and operator services may also be useful where on-site staffing may be an issue. Energy management, such as re-fueling services, also reduces the project management workload.
- Remote monitoring: Consideration should be given to the level of equipment monitoring required. Is remote monitoring available? This is where a satellite-based system can alert the supplier of any potential problems, and appropriate safety, environment and quality systems and accreditations held.