A pneumatic pressure regulator or pressure-reducing valve helps to maintain constant output pressure in compressed air systems. This is true, no matter the input pressure or the output flow.
Understanding how to properly maintain and service a pneumatic regulator is essential. This information helps ensure that it can continue working efficiently and minimize issues. Keep reading to learn about these devices and how to extend their longevity.
These best tips for maintenance will help you keep your equipment in good working condition, and for longer.
Types of Pneumatics Regulators
Regulators are considered a special class of valves that contains integral loading, actuating, sensing, and control components. Used in several configurations, regulators can be broadly classified as precision, special purpose, or general-purpose.
General Purpose Regulators
The general-purpose regulator is often referred to as a utility regulator. These have regulation and flow characteristics that meet most industrial compressed air application requirements.
This regulator type offers a long service life and ease of maintenance at competitive price points.
Designed for unique applications where regulated pressure has to be controlled within very close tolerances. When proper pressure is required for a specific process or the results of a test, the precision regulator is used.
These usually have a unique configuration or are used with special materials, such as fluids, instead of compressed air. Regulator construction ranges from being simple to complex and is based on the intended application and the desired performance requirements.
Maintenance Tips for Pneumatics Regulators
When it comes to the maintenance required to extend the life of a pneumatics regulator, there are a few tips to use. Knowing these tips helps prevent issues. Keep reading to learn what they are.
Checking the Efficiency of Your Pressure Regulator
To check your pressure regulator, you must release compression on the regulator spring. This is done by turning the adjusting knob in a counterclockwise direction, which opens the outlet valve.
At this point, you will make an adjustment to the total amount of pressure provided. Move it to 80% of the total inlet pressure. This should appear on the shut-off valve’s receiver side. The regulated air pressure is going to be shown on the regulator pressure gauge.
Make sure to watch the regulator during operation to see if the air regulator can compensate for changes in the flow while maintaining the regulated pressure at the 80% mark of inlet pressure.
Take the same steps at the 60%, 40%, and 20% supply pressure range.
If you are working with a relieving regulator (most of the modern pneumatic regulators available today are relieving) you can close the outlet valve which will halt the flow of the air out of the regulator. Then, back off the regulator from the 60% mark to 30% of total upstream pressure.
This will test your regulator when over-pressure at the outlet is dropped to the new pressure setting. This is done by bleeding off any air present in the unit’s outlet passage through the vent holes to the atmosphere.
It’s important to note that if your pressure regulator isn’t equipped with these vent holes, it will not be able to compensate. If this doesn’t occur, then you will have to remove air at the outlet manually.
Replace the Filter Regularly
The filter in your regulator is the first component that receives the supply air. The job of this filter is to extract most of the moisture and any air-line contaminants down to about five microns. There are some filters that can filter out particles as small as 0.3 microns, but it depends on the filter used.
It is necessary to engage in preventative maintenance for the compressed air filter to ensure continued filtering efficiency. Similar to the filtering elements in a car, your filter will need to be replaced every four to six months. However, this depends on how much you use the equipment.
The good news is most pneumatic regulators have filters that are able to be seen through a sight glass or bowl for easy self-monitoring.
Avoid Working on a Live System
When working on any equipment, safety is paramount. Be sure all energy supplies or sources are fully drained before engaging in maintenance. Also, use a shut-off valve with backflow that will exhaust to the atmosphere and the proper tag-out/lock-out procedures.
Always Follow the Flow Arrows
Make sure that you install the air prep components with the right airflow orientation. You will find arrows on each of the device’s components. This helps to ensure proper flow direction.
Professional Maintenance Is Recommended
Keep in mind, the above tips are DIY maintenance tasks you can handle in-house for your pneumatics regulator. Most experts recommend seeking professional services from experts at least once a year to ensure all the equipment parts and components work properly.
For those without experience, finding these issues is challenging. Also, this annual maintenance can add several years of life to any pneumatic regulator. This makes it well worth the investment.
Is Your Pneumatics Regulator Up to Par?
Through the years and regular use, pneumatics regulators may experience an array of issues. However, by investing in regular maintenance and care for the equipment, it is possible to extend the equipment’s life and ensure it is working efficiently, longer.
If you need help with a pneumatics regulator, consider reaching out to us. We can review your equipment and help you know when it is time to upgrade or replace your existing equipment.
Keep in mind, if you ignore the needed maintenance, it is much more likely your equipment will fail. It may also require expensive repairs sooner than later.
More help with Pneumatics Regulators
Click below to use our free Ask a Pneumatics Question feature: