Archive: Aug 2019

Different Types of Pipes and Fittings for Compressed Air Systems

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Pipes and fittings are components that connect everything in a compressed air system. Piping has the potential to make or break any enterprise that uses compressed air systems in its day-to-day operations.

Because faulty and inefficient piping can result in lost power, it is important to pay attention to the layout, installation, and maintenance of pipes and fittings of compressed air systems. Factors that impact pressure efficiency include obstructions and blockage, moisture, and sharp angles. Undersized piping is one of the biggest problems when delivering the air to the application.

Pipes and fittings are integral to the compressor system running efficiently and properly. If the quality of these components is poor, they can cause leaks and other issues.

Types and Uses of Pipes in Compressed Air Systems

The two basic materials used in pipes for compressed air systems include:

  • Plastic
  • Metal

Plastic Pipes

Plastic pipes don’t corrode. As a result, there is a minimum risk of rust and a lower risk of obstructions. The interior surface of the pipe is smooth, which encourages laminar flow. Ideal plastic pipes for piping compressed air are made of acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS). Polyethylene (PE) piping and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) piping are also good choices for compressed air applications. PVC is not recommended and is an OSHA violation if used. It degrades and can burst, causing damage and is very dangerous to employees exposed to it.

Pipes and Fittings for Compressed Air Systems

Metal Pipes

Metal pipes are the preferred choice for compressed air systems.

  • Black Steel Pipe

Black steel is commonly used in compressed air systems. The material is strong and durable, but time-consuming in labor. It is heavy but susceptible to corrosion. The threaded connections can also slip and leak.

  • Galvanized Steel Pipe

Galvanized steel is widely used in compressor systems. It is less susceptible to corrosion. The galvanized coating can flake off and cause blockages in air stream applications.

  • Copper Pipe

Copper pipes are corrosion-free and easy to cut and weld. They can be pressed together with special fittings and tools. They are lightweight and have a wide range of fittings available for compressed air systems. They also have a very smooth interior for a solid laminar flow.

  • Aluminum Pipe

Aluminum pipes have anti-corrosive properties. It is lightweight, which makes it easy to carry around and install. The fittings are easy to put together.

  • Stainless Steel Pipe

A stainless-steel pipe can be welded and pressed easily. The interiors and exteriors have no risk of degradation and corrosion. Stainless steel is heavy and this can make it difficult to fit. The high cost of this material makes it less common in compressed air applications.

Use of Fittings in Compressed Air Systems

Fittings (push-in) are an ideal choice for connecting and disconnecting lines without the use of tools. Our vast selection of fittings includes:

  • Bulkhead unions
  • Male elbows
  • Male swivel elbows
  • Male connectors
  • Female elbows
  • Female connectors
  • Unions

These fittings are available in nickel-plated brass, steel, and nylon plated brass. The ability to quickly connect them can save substantial time during assembly. The fittings are reusable, which enables you to connect and disconnect again and again. These components can help keep a compressed air system running as smoothly as possible.


Compressed Air Systems provides high quality compressed air pipes, pneumatic fittings, and compressed air parts and fittings to keep the compressed air system operating efficiently. Contact us to receive more information about different types of compressed air pipes and fittings.

How to Select the Right Water Chiller

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Water chiller systems see use across a wide variety of industries. These systems supply chilled water to cool products, mechanisms, and machinery throughout a facility. Water chillers are typically closed-loop systems, which means that water is constantly circulating to be repurposed for maximum efficiency.

Water chiller systems are known for providing a high level of energy efficiency. They see heavy use in the food and beverage, chemical, medical, and pharmaceutical industries, among others. Depending on the intended application, there are three options: scroll chillers, screw chillers, and centrifugal chillers. The largest differentiator between these types is their load capacity.

Scroll Chillers: Optimum Energy Efficiency

Scroll chillers are oftentimes the most economical choice between the three types of water chillers. They are typically the best choice for organizations who deal with low-capacity projects. This is because capacity control is stepped rather than modulated, which may be disadvantageous in applications that involve a high capacity.

Scroll chillers are so named because they utilize scroll compressors. These compressors trap and then compress refrigerant vapor, increasing system pressure as the volume of the vapor is reduced.

Key features of scroll chillers include:

  • Greater operational reliability
  • Low noise emissions
  • More difficult to manage capacity control
  • Individual refrigeration circuits for each compressor
  • Electronic expansion valves

Screw Chillers

The major advantage offered by screw chillers comes from their ability to engage in modulated capacity control. While scroll chillers utilize stepped capacity control based on the number of compressors in a system, screw chillers use only one compressor. This means that the output capacity of that one compressor can be set anywhere within the range of 20-100%.

Screw chillers utilize screw compressors. These compressors are available in sizes nearing 500 tons; but large screw chillers are ideal for applications where capacity exceeds 200 tons.

The features of screw chillers include:

  • Cool efficiently according to building capacity
  • High level of energy efficiency
  • Moderate levels of noise emission (greater than scroll chillers)
  • Minimal maintenance requirements
  • Long durability horizon
  • Small footprint

Centrifugal Chillers

Centrifugal chillers rely on centrifugal compressors, using the principle of dynamic compression to both compress and raise the pressure of a refrigerant. A rotating impeller accelerates the refrigerant and converts velocity energy into pressure energy.

Centrifugal chillers are the best chillers for organizations that need to cool a large amount of space. Their capacities range from 200 tons to thousands of tons depending on how many centrifugal compressors are inside of the chiller itself. These chillers offer users the most extensive form of modulated control of all three chiller varieties. Capacity may be configured by changing any of the following:

  • Number of stages
  • Compressor speeds and sizes
  • Impeller diameters
  • Refrigerant types

The defining features of a centrifugal chiller include:

  • Very reliable
  • Highly efficient
  • Compact when operating range is taken into consideration
  • Very high noise emissions
  • Ideal for cooling larger facilities

Compressed Air Systems supplies several nano process chillers capable of improving the efficiency of your company’s cooling applications. The distinctive closed circuit design of nano products provides users with greater control over water temperature than traditional systems and reduces system waste levels.

Download our eBook, “Water Chiller Selection Guide,” for more on the three types of chillers, a view of typical configurations, and a bonus application worksheet for industrial process chillers to help you decide which chiller solution is right for your operation.

Download the Water Chiller Selection Guide