Earlier this year I joined the Compressed Air Best Practices discussion group on LinkedIn.  The group is composed of more than three thousand compressed air professionals and plant operators.  Its goal is to provide a forum for discussing a range of compressed air system topics.  Rod Smith, publisher of the eponymous magazine, owns the group.  So far as I can tell, this means he screens requests for admission and keeps out hacks, flacks, and shameless marketers.

I’m normally adverse to participating in any on-line forum.  Most of them devolve into a collection of off-topic, poorly informed or simply ugly rants.

That’s not the case with the Compressed Air Best Practices forum on LinkedIn.  In fact, it's just the opposite.  With a few exceptions, I’ve found the discussions to be relevant, highly informed, and professional in tone.   And what a relief it is to know how few sales pitches occur on the forum – even though many of the participants, like me, have products to sell.

Marveling at the wonder of information technology is old hat.  Nonetheless, it’s worth noting the amazing power of such a simple concept: the collection in one virtual space of thousands of people whose highly specialized technical knowledge is shared freely.  In the not too distant past, gathering multiple opinions from compressed air experts would have taken a plant engineer weeks upon weeks and cost many thousands of dollars.  Now with a forum like this, one can collect a wealth of expert advice in hours if not minutes.

Here are some of the discussion topics that I’ve recently enjoyed reading through.

  • Jose Alberto Cardenas with Kaeser asked for comments on whether air receivers should be installed upstream or downstream of a refrigerated dryers.   (The consensus answer: it depends.  I love the nuance in many people’s posts!)

 

  • Another recent discussion involved minimizing periodic low system pressure due to volume surges through dust collection equipment.  (The consensus answer: receiver tank + needle valve and some instrumentation.)

 

  • Here is a discussion that does a great job answering the question, What’s the dew point of compressed air exiting an after-cooler?

 

Explore more of the forum discussions for yourself.  Or better yet, if you've got a question related to compressed air treatment, contact one of us at Van Air Systems.  +814-774-2631; info@vanairsystems.com

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