Atlas Copco Compressors' AIRnet piping system is being enhanced with the addition of the Pre Fit (PF) Series, a family of products that are pre-torqued for rapid push-together assembly. The PF Series, which will be available in 20mm to 50mm sizes, does not require heavy tools and reduces installation time by up to 85 per cent.
Building on the success of the existing AIRnet range, the PF Series uses the same lightweight and durable aluminium piping, together with aluminium and polymer fittings, to make installation simpler. Being five times lighter than conventional galvanised steel piping and avoiding the need to have cumbersome lathes and threading and welding machines on site for fitting, the PF Series can be installed by a single technician, thereby reducing labour costs by as much as 20 per cent.
The PF series, manufactured within Atlas Copco's new production facility in Belgium, offers the same benefits to end users as the rest of the AIRnet range, being highly efficient in the way it delivers clean compressed air, as well as nitrogen and vacuum. The pipes and connections are resistant to corrosion, mechanical shocks, and thermal variations, while minimising pressure drop and leaks thanks to low-friction surfaces and seamless fittings. This ensures a longer lifespan, reduces stress upon the compressor unit itself and protects the downstream manufacturing process.
AIRnet's low-friction surfaces and seamless fittings significantly reduce the total cost of ownership by delivering air more efficiently. For example, a 1 bar pressure drop within a piping system forces the compressor to consume 7 per cent more energy.
James Houseman, the Product Specialist at Atlas Copco Compressors, says: "Piping is often overlooked as a component but can have a huge influence on the efficiency, performance and lifespan of an air system. A company may have a highly efficient compressor, but its performance can be undermined without a strong system of piping. For example, a pressure drop of just one bar requires the compressor to use seven per cent more energy. That is why we urge customers to consider not just the compressor but the complete system. The new AIRnet range is designed and manufactured to remove any concerns about corrosion, leakages or loss of pressure. Yet having such an advanced solution does not mean extra work for installers; in fact, it is quite the opposite because AIRnet has unique features to speed up and simplify the installation process. There is no need for the threading and welding machines that had to be carried around in the past. In this way, both end-users and installers can benefit from the new AIRnet range."
Installers follow a simple five-step process to assemble the PF Series:
Once the piping is connected, there are position indicators to provide a visible assurance of accurate torquing and safety. 100 per cent vision inspection during the manufacturing process ensures that every fitting is complete, with all seals and other components correctly in place. Included in the PF series are the 40mm and 50mm diameter sizes, with the 20mm and 25mm due to have PF fittings by mid-2014. The 63mm, 80mm, 100mm and proposed 158mm sizes will retain a classic fitting.
An advantage of the AIRnet range is that the classic and PF fittings are interchangeable, while the new Adaptor Union kit allows connectivity with an existing BSP/NPT threaded system. In addition, the breadth of pressures the PF series allows has been expanded, from a minimum of 0.013bar to 16bar, compared with 0.13 to 13bar in the classic range. Similarly, the temperature range has been expanded in the PF series, which means the piping can be operational from -20 to +80degC, compared with -4 to +70degC.
The wide scope of requirements that can be met by the PF series is further extended with the availability of an optional conductivity strip for ATEX applications in hazardous environments, which the company says is the first of its kind in the market.
To help with design and quoting for a new system, AIRnet support tools provide calculations of pressure drop and an automatically generated list of required products. The reliability of the AIRnet range is backed by a 10-year guarantee. For more information, go to www.atlascopco.co.uk/airnet.