I traveled to Lynchburg, Virginia recently, along with Mike Semko of PBE, the Van Air Systems distributor in Virginia.  Mike and I stopped by Buncher Rail Car (BRC) to inspect recent installations of single tower deliquescent compressed air dryers.

BRC operates a rail car repair facility.  It’s akin to an automotive body shop repair shop for rolling stock.  Removing old paint and corrosion from rail cars is an important part of BRC’s service.  BRC uses steel shot to blast the trains clean.  As readers of this blog know, dry compressed air is necessary for abrasive blasting.  Water in compressed air lines really reduces productivity in blasting and painting operations.  Just think about it: Water + compressed air + steel abrasive = rust.

The rail yard environment favors the use of a deliquescent air dryer.  Rail yards are generally dirty and dusty.  Most of the equipment needs to be designed for outdoor service.  Lynchburg is hot in the summer and cold in the winter.  So BRC needed air dryers rugged enough to handle a tough operating environment while still delivering dry, clean compressed air.

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BRC - Lynchburg, VA

Refrigerated dryers don’t last long in jobs like this.  There are too many sensitive parts and pieces.  And a refrigeration dryer produces at best a  35⁰ F dew point.  This would present issues in the winter when ambient temperatures in Lynchburg dip well below 35⁰ F.  A regenerative desiccant dryer would be overkill for the application because the customer does not require a -40⁰ F dew point.   Abrasive blasting and painting calls for liquid free air.  It doesn’t require high purity “instrument quality” compressed air.

So what was the best solution?  Mike and I met with BRC earlier this year to present single tower deliquescent dryers as an option.  The single tower dryer, or “deli” as we like to call it, holds up well in dusty, dirty, and outdoor conditions.  We suggested BRC install after coolers, filters, & dryers outdoors to take advantage of the cooler temperatures vs. installing them in a hot compressor room.  The deli reduces the dew point of compressed air 20⁰ F below the entering compressed air temperature.  The outlet dew point from the deli dryer is self-compensating.  For instance, in the winter when the ambient temperature is say 35⁰ F, the discharge compressed air temperature from the after cooler is 45⁰ F.   This 45F air then enters the deli dryer where the dew point is reduced by 20⁰.   The net effect is our outlet dew point from the dryer at this set of conditions is 25⁰ F.  The dryer outlet dew point is 10⁰ F below ambient which eliminates the potential for any more water condensing in the piping or in this case “freezing”.  In the warmer months the same performance scenario holds true.

Buncher personnel liked the idea of the deli dryer because there are no moving parts and the only maintenance required is periodically adding Dry-O-Lite desiccant and draining the condensate from the dryer.  They also liked the added advantage of a 1 PSI or less pressure drop thru the dryer.  When you are sandblasting, every pound of pressure saved is like money in the bank.

After completing a survey of Buncher’s compressor stations and piping layouts we proposed Model D54 and D42 dryers to handle all of the compressed air drying requirements for the facility.  The dryers have been installed for several months now and are solid performers.

Don’t take my word for it.  Here what the end-user has to say about the dryers’ performance:

Attention Van Air Systems distributors!  Look for deli dryer sales in the right markets, where application conditions make our technology the very best solution.  Be on the lookout for outdoor, dirty, dusty, remote, and all around challenging environments.   The deli dryer will put smiles on the faces of your customers at sawmills, ready mix plants, bulk cement plants, asphalt plants, automated dairies, mines, gas compressor stations, onboard vehicles, mobile and stationary sandblasting/painting operations, and of course rail car repair facilities.  Have you sold a Van Air Systems product recently and want to share your story?  Let us know.  We’d love to publicize your successes.

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