What Is An Air Receiver

What Is An Air Receiver?

Air receivers help manage and optimise compressed air systems. Serving as a storage depot, this essential part of any compressed air system functions to meet peak air demands, ensuring a steady supply of compressed air even during high-demand periods. This allows the air compressor to operate more efficiently by releasing pressure from the tank as needed. 

Industries around the globe leverage the power of air receivers to balance air storage and demand. With the right air receiver, even systems with smaller air compressors can supply air at the necessary time and in the volume needed, optimising operations. 

So, let’s dive in and unveil how using an air receiver can revolutionise your compressed air system.

What Is A Compressed Air Receiver Tank?

An air receiver (air tank) is a vessel used to store compressed air. This compressed air storage is crucial in ensuring your system always has air supply at the necessary pressure.

An air receiver tank has three main functions:

  • It serves as a buffer to accommodate demand peaks. When your system requires a large volume of air quickly, the air receiver releases its stored air to meet this demand, ensuring that your compressed air system can always respond effectively to changes in demand.
  • The air receiver helps to stabilise system pressure. By storing a significant volume of air, the air receiver can respond to fluctuations in system pressure, releasing or collecting air as needed.
  • An air receiver can improve air purity because it reduces the amount of moisture in the air. As wet air enters the receiver tank, the moisture condenses and can be removed from the system.

Types of Air Receivers

Wet vs. Dry Compressed Air Storage: What’s the Difference?

Two main types of air receivers, namely wet and dry air receivers, differ based on their placement concerning air dryers.

Wet Air Receivers

A wet air receiver is typically positioned before the air drying system in a compressed air setup. It acts as a temporary storage for the air from the wet tank, which is still in its “wet” state, laden with moisture. One of the key benefits of a wet air receiver is it removes a substantial amount of moisture before it sends the air through the air dryer. This lightens the load for the dryer, enhancing its durability and efficiency. However, note that a wet air receiver can’t eliminate all moisture. Therefore, it’s usually used with an air dryer for optimal moisture management.

Dry Air Receivers

On the other hand, a dry air receiver is typically placed after the air dryer in the compressed air system. The air in the tank has already been dried, hence the term “dry” air receiver. Its purpose is to stabilise pressure and provide air ready to use during high-demand periods. A dry air receiver can help maintain steadiness in the air supply, especially for systems using a smaller air compressor. A dry air receiver requires meticulous maintenance to prevent any moisture from entering the tank and contaminating the dried air.

Choosing the type of air receiver depends on the specific needs of your air system, and both wet and dry receivers have unique benefits and limitations.

What Is An Air Receiver?
What Is An Air Receiver?

Air Compressors, Air Receivers and Pressure Regulation

Effective pressure regulation is critical in both air compressors and air receivers. It ensures the smooth operation of the entire compressed air system. Without proper pressure control, a compressor could force out the air too rapidly or too slowly, potentially causing damage or reducing efficiency. 

In air receivers, pressure regulation helps maintain a steady air supply, particularly during high-demand periods. It prevents the system from experiencing abrupt pressure drops that could hinder operational performance. 

However, pressure regulation does have its limitations. It requires regular maintenance to keep the system functioning optimally. Despite this, the benefits significantly outweigh the challenges. 

Proper pressure regulation can enhance the longevity of your air system, boost efficiency, and save on energy costs, making it an essential aspect of any compressed air system.

Why Do You Need An Air Receiver?

One of the key benefits of an air receiver or compressed air tank is its capability to reduce the load/unload cycles of the compressor. By acting as a buffer and storing compressed air, it reduces the frequency of compressor on/off cycles. This reduces wear on the compressor and enhances its lifespan and operational efficiency.

However, while air receivers offer numerous benefits, they have some limitations. For example, they require regular draining and maintenance to prevent the accumulation of condensate and rust, which could hamper performance.

Overall, if a constant and reliable flow of compressed air is needed in your operations, incorporating an air receiver into your system is a smart, cost-saving, and efficient choice.

How to Calculate the Size of Your Air Tank

A basic rule of thumb for sizing your air tank is to allow for 3-4 gallons per CFM (cubic feet per minute) or 10-15 litres per second of compressed air. Also, consider other factors, such as the compressor’s output pressure, demand fluctuations, and specific application requirements. 

Choosing the right air tank size matters because it directly influences the efficiency of your air dryer and the amount of compressed air it can store. A correctly sized air receiver will provide a constant supply of compressed air, help meet short-term peak air demands and increase the efficiency of your compressed air system. 

Larger air compressors are suitable for tank-mounted options, offering more air to meet compressed air needs. Despite these benefits, regular maintenance is required to prevent the accumulation of condensate and rust, which could affect system performance. The right size of the air tank will depend on your unique circumstances, based on the demand and the efficiency of your compressed air system.

What Type Of Air Receiver Do I Need?

  • Vertical Air Receivers: These high-capacity tanks are ideal for larger industrial applications. They require less floor space, making them suitable for compact areas. Their main limitation is the need for a high ceiling clearance. 
  • Horizontal Air Receivers: These tanks offer easier access for maintenance and are generally preferred when ceiling height is restricted. However, they do consume more floor space. 
  • Small Air Receivers: Suitable for smaller systems or mobile applications, these are portable and easy to install. However, they hold less air and may not be suitable for high-demand situations.
  • Large Air Receivers: Perfect for large industrial applications with high air demand. They can store more air but require more space and intensive maintenance. 

Choosing the correct type of air receiver depends on your specific needs and constraints. Consider the physical space available, the volume of air needed, the need for portability, and the available budget. 

Installation and Maintenance

Proper installation and regular maintenance of air storage tanks are essential to ensure an air compressor system’s prolonged and efficient operation. 

When installing an air receiver, the first critical factor is space availability. Since air receivers, especially large ones, require substantial space, the choice of a vertical or horizontal air receiver should be dictated by the room’s dimensions. Safety is paramount during installation, so ensure the area is dry to prevent the corrosion of the air receiver. 

Maintenance primarily revolves around regular draining to prevent moisture accumulation. This issue becomes more critical in systems without a dry air tank, where wet air storage is a constant threat. Over time, water can condense out of the air stream, leading to rusting and eventual failure. So, regular draining ensures dry compressed air before it enters your system – and that the air is free from particulates that could cause system damage. 

When demand peaks in compressed air require the system to pull air through at a higher rate, moisture has less chance to condense before usage. Despite this, regular draining remains an indispensable maintenance procedure. 

Remember, a well-maintained air receiver is valuable and an investment towards the longevity of your air compressor system.

Safety Considerations

When dealing with air receivers, there are several safety considerations you should take into account:

  • Pressure Relief Valves: All air receivers should be equipped with pressure relief valves that function correctly. This safety device ensures excess pressure vents out, protecting the system and personnel. 
  • Professional Manufacturing and Installation: The construction and installation of an air receiver are not DIY tasks. Professional manufacturing guarantees that the air receiver is designed and built for the safe storage of compressed air. Similarly, professional installation ensures the air receiver is set up correctly, minimising the risk of failure during operation.
  • UK Regulations: In the UK, the Pressure Systems Safety Regulations 2000 (PSSR) dictate that air receivers must undergo regular inspections by a competent person to ensure their safety. This regulation aims to prevent harmful releases of stored pressure energy in the air receiver, which can occur if the vessel is not appropriately maintained.
  • Moisture Management: The air entering the air receiver should be dry to prevent corrosion. Regular draining is necessary as water falls out of the air stream and collects in the air receiver, which could lead to rusting and failure.

Observing these safety considerations not only helps extend the lifespan of your air compressor installation but also ensures personnel safety and overall system efficiency.

Energy Efficiency and Cost Savings

Air receivers are vital to reduce energy consumption and operational expenses in your air compressor system. Specifically, they help elongate the cycles of the air compressor used, which leads to tighter pressure bands. When the demand for air is high, the air receiver can supply air for short-term needs, preventing the compressor from cycling on and off frequently. Longer compressor cycles extend the life of your compressor, meaning fewer maintenance costs and breakdowns.

Another benefit is that the air receiver acts as a temporary storage for compressed air, managing the temperature of the air before it enters the system. This results in less strain on the air dryer since the air going through it is cooler and contains less moisture. So dry compressed air is ready to be used more efficiently, resulting in energy savings. 

Need An Air Receiver? Get Expert Help

Air receivers are vital in compressed air systems, providing substantial energy efficiency and cost savings. They ensure a steady supply of air, manage air temperature, and promote a longer lifespan for your installations. 

However, the choice of the right air receiver requires expert knowledge. This is where Control Gear, one of the top suppliers in the UK, comes in. Our specialists are ready to provide solutions tailored to fit your needs. Get the best performance from your air systems. 

Reach out to Control Gear now for expert advice and discover the optimal air receiver for your operation.