There are many key levels of compressed air quality ranging from shop air to breathing air. The required air quality will determine the type of filtration and drying system.
Begin with capacity requirements and load factors for each tool and machine that will use compressed air. These compressed air requirements are generally available from the equipment manufacturers. For an existing system, a professional air system audit will provide valuable information.
Determine the pressure required at the point of use. Pneumatic tool manufacturers rate tool capacities at specific pressure ratings. The minimum required pressure can be determined by the equation:
Pr = Pp + PL where:
Pr = Minimum required pressure, psig.
Pp= Pressure at point of use, psig.
PL = Total pressure loss, psid.
Total pressure loss includes any losses at the dryers, centrifugal separator, particulate filter, oil removal filter, and oil vapor adsorber, as well as piping and valves.
Once capacity and pressure requirements are known, the air compressor size and input power requirements can be obtained from manufacturers.