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Thread: Anyone use a dessicant air dryer?

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
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    Ventura,CA.
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    100

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    Doc, we are in southern california, very low humidity. The housings we use are approximately 10 lb. housings. We use the paint booths all day ,(well, figure realistically 6-8 hrs.) 6 days per week. Usually we get 2 months or more out of the desiccant before it changes color and needs changing. We also use a coalescent filter in front of the desiccant and our plant air has a refrigerated air dryer , and auto drains.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    4,205

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    I cracked open my used Camair desiccant dryer, and poured out a large quantity of this stuff. Can anyone tell me what it is?



    It's a pellet material roughly the size of the beads from a beanbag chair, appears to be some sort of... maybe ceramic? It'd definitely not silica gel, at least any of the style I'm used to seeing.

    Is this stuff just a simple absorbent, like kitty litter? Pelletized fuller's earth or something?

    JMM: Sounds like you guys get something around 300 to 350 hours of use per 10 pounds. I assume one cannister per booth? I use my compressor a LOT less than even just one hour a day. I might frequently go long periods of barely an hours' use per WEEK.

    So theoretically, I might get two years or more out of a desiccant charge.

    Doc.
    Doc's Machine. (Probably not what you expect.)

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    On the Oil Coast,USA
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    19,016

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    Doc,look locally for silica gel cat litter.Walmart among others carrys it.Look for one that says 100% or 99.5% silica gel.The brand I buy is mostly clear with some percentage of blue indicating crystals mixed in.When the blue indicator crystals turn pink it's saturated and time for a bake in the oven (electric works best) it can be reused many times so long as no oil gets in.
    I just need one more tool,just one!

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    yuma az
    Posts
    29

    Default Hmm

    I have one that harbor freight used to sell it basically just a pipe filled with desiccant beads. I use it whenever I use my plasma or paint gun . air goes through that then another filter works pretty good

  5. #15
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Lancaster County PA
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    That looks like alumina beads, a very good desiccant. In the air separation bulk plants we used it by the ton for drying air.
    We had to get down to less than 1ppm CO2 and water before allowing the air to get to the main heat exchanger where it would be cooled to liquid temperatures in order to distill the N2, Argon. and O2.
    The dryers we used were huge with 1 being online at a time while the other one was being regenerated using ~350 deg "waste" N2 to drive off the moisture and CO2. The bottom layer of the dryer "beds" is alumina, Just like in your picture and was there to remove the water.
    There was then a large SS screen to keep the layers separate, above the alumina was a layer of "mole sieve" material to remove the CO2. The air was then dry enough to prevent the main heat exchanger passes from being plugged with ice or CO2. The alumina was very efficient at removing the water.

    Edit to add: It's a shame but if the mole sieve material above the alumina ever got soaked with water because of a malfunction, we would replace all of the alumina and mole sieve material and send tons to the land fill. The alumina was still good but the mole sieve material would get replaced because it is hard to get the water out of it. When we had to repack the dryer we would always replace both materials.
    Last edited by dmartin; 08-10-2018 at 02:33 AM.

  6. #16
    Join Date
    May 2013
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    Lancaster County PA
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    I'm retired but still know most of the plant managers on the east coast. If you want I can call around and see if there are any plants being shut down for maintenance that happen to need the "sieve" material replaced.
    If so i'm sure I could get 50 lbs or so for the cost of shipping. The alumina is still good when that happens and if coincidentally there is a plant that happens to be doing that I would be glad to check. Let me know and I'll check
    into it.

    Dwight

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    Alumina beads- yep, looks like you're spot on. Lots of suppliers, lots of different sizes available. I suspect that's what's in the "recharge" kit they sell for this Camair dryer.

    Thanks for the offer on the potential surplus, but really, shipping alone will be steep. I'm going to see if I can find a local supplier, we've got some oilfield-support companies in the area, I'd imagine one of them might be able to find something.

    If not, I'll just buy that "refresh" kit- it has the filter and sight glass replacement anyway, and I need those too.

    Doc.
    Doc's Machine. (Probably not what you expect.)

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Stevens Point, WI
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    The air hose in my shop acts more like the garden hose at times. I tried a few different driers and did look at the desiccant type. But I figured the desiccant would soak up with water, then the container would start to fill with water. So I went with the HF refrigerated drier. Boy am I happy! Not a drop comes out the hose.
    Andy

  9. #19
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Lancaster County PA
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    294

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doc Nickel View Post
    Alumina beads- yep, looks like you're spot on. Lots of suppliers, lots of different sizes available. I suspect that's what's in the "recharge" kit they sell for this Camair dryer.

    Thanks for the offer on the potential surplus, but really, shipping alone will be steep. I'm going to see if I can find a local supplier, we've got some oilfield-support companies in the area, I'd imagine one of them might be able to find something.

    If not, I'll just buy that "refresh" kit- it has the filter and sight glass replacement anyway, and I need those too.

    Doc.
    Yeah I thought that too that the shipping may not be worth it, but figured I'd offer anyway. Just in case it would be hard for you to get. Good luck with it.

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
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    Temple, Tx
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    Doc - Did you notice that the air coming into jmm03's system has already been through a refer dryer? My objection to desiccant was based on a system wherein the desiccant was the only dryer other than a simple water trap. In that case, the desiccant did not last very long at all (week or so). Too much of a pain. If your use is very low, it may work for you. But if the desiccant is your only dryer, be ready for frequent changes.

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