Compressed Air Pipe System

History of compressed air pipe systems, compare alternatives, system examples, control operating costs, guidelines, condensation, opening or closing compressed air systems.

Purpose of a compressed air pipe system

The purpose of the compressed air piping system is to deliver compressed air to the points of usage. The compressed air needs to be delivered with enough volume, appropriate quality, and pressure to properly power the components that use the compressed air. Compressed air is costly to manufacture. A poorly designed compressed air system can increase energy costs, promote equipment failure, reduce production efficiencies, and increase maintenance requirements. It is generally considered true that any additional costs spent improving the compressed air piping system will pay for themselves many times over the life of the system. Compressed air is utilized in many commercial industrial facilities and is considered a utility essential to production. Transair’s aluminum compressed air pipe system provides airtight fittings with full bore flow creating a more energy efficient system.

Transair compressed air pipe systems are quick to install and ready for immediate pressurization. Components are removable and interchangeable and allow immediate and easy layout modifications reducing production downtime. Unlike the performance of steel pipe, which degrades over time due to corrosion, air quality is clean with optimum flow rate performance with the use of a Transair pipe system.

Thanks to its large choice of sizes in Ø 4″ , Ø 3″, Ø 2 1/2″ , Ø 1 1/2″, Ø 7/8″ and Ø 1/2″ and an extensive range of accessories, the Transair system meets the requirements of numerous industrial and garage workshop installations. Furthermore, you can’t beat the simple installation, energy savings, and layout flexibility of Transair compressed air piping solutions.

History of a compressed air pipe system

Example of a compressed air pipe system

Controlling operating cost

Pressure Drop Costs: To compensate for pressure drops, the compressor must work harder, which implies more energy consumption and additional costs.

Cost of pressure drops over a 10-year period

Technologies offering smooth bore pipe work (aluminum, plastic) provide a high reduction in pressure drop and thus also operating costs. Conversely galvanized steel systems, affected by rust and pitted interior surfaces after several years of use, cause higher operating costs.

Annual costs: In terms of overall performance versus costs, the choice should not only depend on technology and purchasing price. The exact cost of a system also includes annual operating costs (such as installation and commissioning of a system).

Example of Annual Costs for a 650 ft system (200 m)

Technologies offering smooth bore pipework (aluminium, plastic) provide a high reduction in pressure drop and thus also operating costs. Conversely galvanized steel systems, affected by rust and pitted interior surfaces after several years of use, cause higher operating costs.

Guidelines for optimizing an air pipe system

The installation of an air pipe system should be completed in accordance with certain guidelines. These pages include various recommendations to be observed in order to obtain the expected performance, reliability and security of your air pipe system.

  • Bends and bypasses involve pressure drops. To avoid them, use assemblies: they allow modification of a system and the bypass of obstacles.
  • Limit excessive reductions in pipe diameters, which also involve pressure drops.
  • Threaded components create ever increasing leaks over time, choose materials that do not corrode.
  • Ensure consistent quality clean air.
  • The size of a system has direct influence on the good performance of tools: choose the appropriate diameter according to the required flow rate and acceptable pressure drop.
  • To facilitate access for maintenance, do not position a system underground.
  • Install drops as close as possible to areas of operation, therefore where tools require maximum energy for optimal working.
  • Install pipe supports as follows: two supports per 10′ pipe length and three supports per 20′ pipe length.

Fast and safe opening or closing of a compressed air system

In order to ensure the safety of workplace operators, overhead tasks are subjected to various regulations that may require the use of special equipment.Since it is operated from the workshop floor, the remote shut-off valve guarantees:

  • Personnel safety by avoiding the risk of climbing to access
  • Quick operation with no need for ladders, scaffolds or lifting equipment

Principle of Operation:

Single acting valve, which is normally closed.

Technical specifications:

  • Working fluid: compressed air (dry, wet and lubricated air)
  • Air quality: filtered to 50 µm minimum
  • Maximum working pressure: 13 bar (185 psi)
  • Minimum pilot pressure: 4 bar (60 psi)
  • Working temperature: -20 ° to +60°C (-4°F to 140°F)

For compressed air pipe systems, pilot pressure is taken from upstream, without the need for any separate energy supply. Piloting is controlled via the pilot kit connected to the valve by push-in connection.

For vacuum systems, a separate external compressed air supply to the valve is necessary for the corresponding port on the valve to be shut-off.

The problem of condensation

Condensate collects within the pipeline and circulates throughout the system.

The temperature variance between the outside air and the air within the pipe system will create a drop in the temperature of the pipe network air and cause condensation of water vapor present in the system.

Condensate matter adversely affects pneumatic applications, therefore we must ensure that it does not reach the workstation, if we want to prevent breakdowns.


The traditional method is to install an upward loop

Condensate water thus remains in the main system and the workstation is not affected by poor quality air.

Equipping compressed air pipe systems with brackets that incorporate an upward loop is essential-even when a dryer is used. Dryers remove only a proportion of the water that is present in compressed air since condensation continues to occur due to variations in temperature levels.

Furthermore, such brackets increase the safety and protection of pneumatic tools and equipment should the dryer break down or malfunction. For example, 11 liters (2.9 gallons) of water per hour can be produced by a compressor generating 294 cfm at 20°C (68°F).

To create this upward loop takes time and many fittings must be used, thus increasing the risk of leakage. A modern and faster solution is to use a bracket with an integrated upward loop (see below).