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Air Compressor - Black Iron Pipe ?

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Old August 31st, 2010, 09:00 PM   #1 (permalink)
gabrielcat gabrielcat is offline
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Default Air Compressor - Black Iron Pipe ?

M and R recommends using black iron pipe when connecting the air compressor to the press. Ingersoll Rand, who is the manufacturer of the compressor wants to use Simpliar aluminum piping. Ingersoll says the black iron pipe will flake and cause problems in the line.

Those who have installed an air compressor please advise.
Thank you.
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Old September 1st, 2010, 09:24 AM   #2 (permalink)
jayp jayp is offline
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Default Re: Air Compressor - Black Iron Pipe ?

Black iron has been an industry standard for many years, old school, I guess. Aluminum piping is very clean but more expensive. Speaking from experience in the industrial field for 30 years on a thousand or more machines, I have had excellent success with black iron pipe. A good filter before it goes into the machine will trap any flaking that will occur.
Once the black iron is up it is very rare to ever mess with it again.
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Old September 1st, 2010, 11:52 AM   #3 (permalink)
garagewear garagewear is offline
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Default Re: Air Compressor - Black Iron Pipe ?

What about galvanized?
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Old September 1st, 2010, 12:26 PM   #4 (permalink)
jayp jayp is offline
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Default Re: Air Compressor - Black Iron Pipe ?

I was always told galvanized was not to be used in compressed air systems. Never bothered to find out why, just didn't use it.
I inherited a system in a large manufacturing facility where they used schedule 80 (gray) pipe. Works great for a while and is very clean. But it is not compatible with the compressor oil and will cause cracks in the elbows and tees as time passes. i replace all with black iron.
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Old September 11th, 2010, 12:16 AM   #5 (permalink)
homersapien homersapien is offline
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Default Re: Air Compressor - Black Iron Pipe ?

PVC is the cheapest....it will also keep your air lines and press free of all the little corroding bits of iron/steel pipe.

I know you are not 'supposed' to use it for compressed air. This is really just a liability issue. When it fails it does so in a more violent manner than steel or other metal.

If you do choose PVC use SCH 40. There is no need for anything larger than 1". This will also leave you with a sufficient safety factor for the pressure. Also, make sure your compressor is not blowing oil. Some oils will degrade the material. (I believe this is one of the major concerns with pvc and compressed air.) Lastly, keep it out of the sunlight.

With all that said I would NOT run black iron to my press or chiller. If you dont go with the PVC id have to recommend stainless or copper. (I know expensive)
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Old September 11th, 2010, 12:31 PM   #6 (permalink)
Binkspot Binkspot is offline
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Default Re: Air Compressor - Black Iron Pipe ?

Black pipe is fine, indusrtry has used it for years even in applications with more sensitive equipment then a press. I have seen black pipe air lines that have been in service for over80 years. Use a good general purpose filter/strainer with a changeable element. PVC can burst and create schrapenel which can damage equipment and hurt people. PVC also becomes brittle over time. When oils from the compressor or a lubicator comes in contact with the galvinized pipe over time it brakes galvinize down to its basic element, zinc. This will show up as a powder in a dry line or a sluge in a wet line. Stainless comes in many grades, 18-8, 304, 316 etc. Lower grades will develope pin holes over time, in some cases the pipe will degrade faster the black pipe. Higher grades are to expensive to be practical. Copper is good but you need to knowhow to sweat the joints. If not done proprely you will have leaks which will be almost impossiable to repaire. Another good choise is reinforced nylon tubing with compression or push lock fittings but can get expensive.

In any application you need good filters but they are useless if they are not serviced. I recomend a pressure gauge at the tank and the end of the line. Better yet one at the in and out of each filter or strainer. You can see what is the pressure drop across the filter and know when to service it. Example if the in is reading 150psi and the out is 148psi the filter is clean. Readings of 150psi in and 130psi out indicate a pluged filter.

The one thing most people forget is the connection at the compressor and press. The connection at the compressor should have a metal flexable joint at least 12" long to allow movement. The air coming out of the compressor is to hot for hose or plastic. You should use a flexiable connection at the press.
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Old September 12th, 2010, 02:05 PM   #7 (permalink)
kpinkinc kpinkinc is offline
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Default Re: Air Compressor - Black Iron Pipe ?

I've used rubber hose from my IR compressor to my M&R Auto. I originally bought the aluminum piping but just changed it in to use the hose to save $1000....it works great. And if the hose does pop a leak, well I can change it out 10X over and still be cheaper. Been working for over a year w/o any problem though.
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Old September 17th, 2010, 08:54 AM   #8 (permalink)
bimmridder bimmridder is offline
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Default Re: Air Compressor - Black Iron Pipe ?

Jumping in a little late here. I have used both black iron and Simpleair (or an equal to it). I had hundreds of feet of iron pipe in our old facility. When it was time to add a new press, I went with the aluminum. I was able to split off the iron with adapters and run the aluminum to the new press. When we moved into a new facility a few years ago, I left the black pipe in the old place, but grabbed all the aluminum that wasn't ruined. ( A little flooding problem). Every piece of air equipment is fed with the aluminum pipe. The good and the bad, in my opinion. Black pipe is a lot cheaper...until you have a pipe fitter come in and do all the cutting, threading, and hanging. I can't do any of that myself. With the aluminum, figure out what you need in the way of pipe and fitting. Simply cut it to length, clean up the edges, and put the pieces together with couplings. It's light weight too!. You can also tap into a line if you need another line coming out, for example you want an air hose somewhere. I simple hole, fitting, and you're done. No doubt, it costs more. With only my own on the job experience with it, I ran lines for: three automatic presses, one manual press, coating machine, CTS machine, a couple pumps for ink, 2 stretching tables, and a few extra drop lines just for fun. I can add anywhere I want in about 10 minutes.

The pipe company also claims a higher volume of air flow through a smaller diameter pipe due to the fact that it's polished aluminum.

All that being said, I NEVER got a blessing from any equipment manufacturer saying they would recommend this way of doing it. Never heard anything to the contrary either. I will say, if anyone ever asks me to help them set up a press, I'll STRONGLY recommend aluminum pipe.
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Old October 22nd, 2010, 07:47 AM   #9 (permalink)
TurtleCreek TurtleCreek is offline
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Default Re: Air Compressor - Black Iron Pipe ?

What type of CHILLER is recommended for a 10hp Air Compressor?
My TUF requires 30 CFM & 110 PSI.
Need help on this one. Thanks
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Old November 12th, 2010, 12:53 PM   #10 (permalink)
bimmridder bimmridder is offline
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Default Re: Air Compressor - Black Iron Pipe ?

I'm bookmarking that page. I'll never use black pipe again.
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