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Triple stage breathing air, filter and pressure regulator assembly sets typically consist of a 5μ micron pre-filter that will remove most particles (0.01mm+) and 90% of any moisture with a piggyback air pressure regulator to adjust outlet or downstream air pressure between 0.5 to 10 Bar visible with a pressure gauge, then a 0.01μ micron RED coalescing filter that will trap any remaining oil vapour and particles larger than 0.00001mm and finally an activated charcoal filter that will trap any biological particles or faint odours to give safe filtration down to 0.003ppm for technically pure air and is ideally suited for spray booths.
Some units will have a larger 20 micron element or an option for a 40μ micron pre-filter element, which should be avoided. The job of the pre-filter to protect and remove as much debris and moisture as possible before it reaches the coalescing filter. Pre-filter elements are much cheaper to replace than coalescing filter elements. If you use the air filter system for breathing air and paint spraying, an option to consider are the sintered bronze filter elements, as these can be cleaned and reused but are more expensive as the disposable plastic PE filter elements.
It is also wise to make sure your air compressor is serviced and maintained correctly and mounted where it can draw the cleanest air possible, having a compressor within a dirty, dusty or moist environment not only increases maintenance costs for the compressor, but the compressor will draw in and compress this dirty damp air and send it downstream to contaminate all the pneumatic equipment and filtration systems in the pipework.
Basically, any well manufactured air filter units will have two drain options;
1. Semi Automatic drain - You can drain the bowls of water and oil deposits manually (twist or pull) or the unit will automatically drain when the air pressure drops below 0.5 Bar or 7psi. We suggest you connect a tube, typically 6mm ID to the drain so that the water / oil fluid waste can be contained.
2. Manual drain - You can only drain the bowls of water and oil deposits manually (twist or pull), but if you forget to drain the waste it will accumulate and could end up clogging the filter and potentially preventing flow and contaminating the coalescing and activated carbon filters. The Shako UMF systems will allow for both options, but semi-automatic drain is standard and is the preferred choice for most paint spray shops. If the unit is mobile, we would suggest the latter (manual drain) to avoid waste being dumped in a paint spray booth.
The unit on the right-hand side in another triple stage air filter set made up of a filter regulator with pressure gauge, a coalescing filter and then the activated carbon filter as a single module, however in this case all three units are fitted with a heavier duty aluminium bowl with sight glass.
Box Kit usually includes a fully assembled system, Aluminium bowls, bowl guards, semi-automatic drains, 2x wall mounting brackets and screws, pressure gauge, blanking plug and should include a set of IOM instructions.
Systems can typically be mounted either way around, simply screw in the pressure gauge to the front and the blanking plug to the rear, depending if inlet on LHS or RHS accordingly.
In some instances, there is no need for a pressure regulator to adjust the outlet air pressure, as the pressure has been regulated elsewhere. Typically, there is not much difference in costs, but you do see improvements in air flow and the units are typically smaller than the combined regulator units. The picture on the Left demonstrates this.
In some applications air users do not require activated carbon filtration to remove odours or bacteria either because the air compressor is mounted in a cleaner environment and is therefore drawing in cleaner air or the user is either a hobbyist or low volume user in a small paint spray garage. In these instances only the filter regulator and coalescing filter unit is required, thus saving space, weight and size.
The 2 stage filter unit on the right is an example of this system.
Here on the right hand side there is a stand alone Coalescing air filter, element can be replaced with activated carbon filter if preffered so long as the air is already dry and oil free i.e. already through a prefilter and coalescing filter.
In this case however we can see the visual filter status gauge window at the top of the unit. As flow demand exceeds the filter capability (usually signs of filter clogging) the orange pin becomes more visible, when this reaches the top it is time to change the element. Not many systems have this feature but we strongly recommend breathing air filters are only used with this safety feature in place to avoid air starvation.
The Shako UMF coalescing filter and UMFK activated carbon filter systems are manufactured from 1/4 through to 1" BSP, NPT or Rc thread, however the larger 3/4 UMF06 and 1" UMF08 on the left hand side have larger filter status gauges.
The UMF is proven to provide high quality clean air essential for paint spraying and clean air applications to a higher standard than most rivals in the market today.
Most breathing air filter systems will not remove Carbon Monoxide (CO) or Carbon Dioxide (CO2).
Finally it should be easy and inexpensive to install replacement 5 or 40 micron pre-filter, coalescing or activated carbon filter elements. Don't get caught by units that force you to buy expensive or even non stock replacement filter elements.
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