Membrane Dryers Dehydrate Compressed Air

An interview with a dryer specialist from Air Products PRISM Membranes

Q: How do your customers use air dryer membranes?
A: Our PRISM air dryer membranes are used primarily in locations where other dehydration technologies don’t work well, so remote applications, pneumatic tools, and mobile applications are common. Many of these applications are small, non-industrial projects, like drying compressed air for pneumatic cow milking robots, and pneumatic tools on the worksite. Our dryers are used on trains often for mobile applications that need to have reliable, dry air. On many trains, the doors, brakes, and electrical contactors are powered by compressed air- and that air must be dry for the system to function properly.

Q: What are the consequences of using compressed air that is not dry?
A: Compressing humid air acts as a multiplier for the water vapor. This is bad news, especially in colder climates where the water can freeze and clog the air lines. When humid air is compressed and used with hand tools, we see a lot of rust and corrosion on the inside of the systems which makes them wear out really quickly. Using one of our membrane dryers upstream of the tool is a smart solution to keep the compressed air dry, and ultimately prolong the life of the tool.

Q: What is the range of air flow that PRISM air dryers can handle?
A: The smaller applications would be like the hand held tools, but we also have our membrane dryers in high flow applications like submarines and power plants.

Q: What is the future like for Air Products’ dryer membranes?
A: The number of applications for “point of use” or mobile dehydration is increasing more and more. These applications are on trucks and trains- where other dehydration technologies like large refrigerated dryers just don’t work. We are actively partnering with OEM system builders who incorporate our membrane dryers into their unique compression systems, so we’re always happy to be involved in the next dehydration applications that come along.