Atlas Copco introduces unique ceramic desiccant dryer media05 August 2020

Until now, desiccant in air dryers has always consisted of loose beads made of activated alumina, molecular sieves, or silica gel.

Cerades is the first ever solid, ceramic desiccant, according to the company, and is said to be the result of years of research and development by Atlas Copco with the goal of radically improving desiccant dryer design, efficiency, and performance.

In conventional heatless desiccant dryers, the compressed air flowing through the drying towers must overcome resistance from loose desiccant beads. With the Cerades system, compressed air is channelled straight through the structural tubes. A no-resistance airflow results in minimal pressure drop across the dryer, leading to lower operating energy costs.

The CD 20⁺-335+ range has been designed for continuous operation of 100% airflow, in comparison to the industry norm of 70% to 80%. This performance includes a constant pressure dew point of -20°C/-5°F or -40°C/-40°F as standard. (A dew point of -70°C/-100°F uses a molecular sieve dessicant). Dew point is adjustable to allow for seasonal or application changes and to reduce energy consumption.

Because the new dryer handles higher airflow than comparable desiccant designs, the overall dimensions of the unit are considerably smaller than average. Its compact desiccant blocks offer a longer service life, allow for rapid, easy maintenance, and extended service intervals.

Conventional loose desiccant decomposes significantly over time, releasing a fine dust into the air system and ambient air during desiccant replacement. The solid Cerades ceramic desiccant eliminates the health and environmental hazard and the need for extra filtration and maintenance to combat this dust problem, thus giving compressor users ISO 8573-2010 Class 2 particulate air purity without the need for a post dryer dust filter.

Stef Lievens, Atlas Copco Compressors business line manager, industrial air, states: “It outperforms traditional desiccant on every level. It simply is an important all-round improvement.”

A major advance in dryer technology is the optional dew point-dependent switching feature. A pressure dew point sensor will only switch airflow to the next tower when the desiccant is saturated. During this cycle time extension, the dryer consumes no purge air, resulting in a significant reduction in energy use of up to 90%.

William Dalrymple

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