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IndustryArena Forum > CNC Plasma, EDM / Waterjet Machines > Hypertherm Plasma > Powermax65 Air Filtration Requirement
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  1. #1
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    Powermax65 Air Filtration Requirement

    After reading through the manual of my Powermax65, I've got a few questions.

    1) Is the Eliminizer (P#128627) the only filter that I need? My local hardware store swears that I need separate coalescing and moisture filters.

    2) Right below the Powermax gas inlet, set-back inside the case, I can see what looks like an airfilter. It's not listed in the consumable parts of powermax. What is it and does this device require any type of maintenance?

    Thanks,
    Andy

  2. #2
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    You really need clean , dry air and lots of it for the 65. The filter on the machine is nowhere good enough.

    I use a motorcraft M60 filter as the first filter. Then I go into a coalescing filter before the dessicant dryer and then another coalescing filter on the output of the dryer. The coalescing filters came with the dryer setup. My air is perfectly dry and my cuts are much better than before the dryer was added and my consumables seem to last forever. I also have water traps in the permanent air lines around the shop because I can switch the dryer in and out of the supply line. We don't use it when we are just running air tools, etc., just when plasma cutting or painting.

    Get the air as dry as you can and you'll eliminate a lot of problems down the road.

    Willy

  3. #3
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    The method of filtering / drying your compressed air supply is dependant on your particular usage, the size of your compressor...and the humidity levels where you happen to live. There is no perfect solution for everybody.

    First....the air compressor takes air at atmospheric pressure and compresses it at higher pressure inside a tank. By doing this.....it essentially takes a lot of cubic feet of air and forces to fit is a smaller place (inside the tank)....with this air goes the relative moisture levels of water that happened to be in the air when the compressor was running. When the air runs through the compressor pump...it heats up from all the enrgy exerted on it to fit it in the tank.....and as the air sits in the tank it cools......while cooling the moisture condenses and forms water in the nbottom of the compressor tank. Some of the air stays suspended in the air.....and when you use air tools and the plasma....the moisture goes through the air lines....then as it is used in a tool or the plasma the pressure drops, which creates a cooling effect....which condenses more moisture from the air.

    An air plasma torch is engineered to ionize air (which is a mix of about 20% oxygen and 80% nitrogen (with a few small percentages of other gases), then DC energy is added to create a high temperature plasma jet (about 25,000 degrees F) which is used to cut metal. Impurities in the air that is being converted to a plasma....will change the conductivity of the plasma stream....and will produce gases as these impurities are broken down by the high temperature. Water breaks down into oxygen and hydrogen......which changes the gas mixture inside the torch....which shortens the life of the electrode and nozzle. Damage to the electrode and nozzle affects cut quality.

    In a very dry climate...there will be little or no moisture developed by compressing air...so no means of separating moisture from air will be necessary. As the humidity increases....steps must be taken.

    Here are the normal ways to remove moisture from compressed air:

    - In all cases....the air compressor tank should be drained on a regular basis. In low humidity a weekly manual draining is often adequate. In medium humidity, drain the tank once a day, in high humidity an automatic drain should be installed. If you are forgetfull...as I am, install an automatic drain on your compressor. This gets rid of the moisture that condenses in the tank....there is still some suspended in the air in the tank.

    - In low to medium humidity or low use applications....a coalescing filter or an absorbing filter should be installed at least 15 feet downstream (after 15 feet of piping)...or even better...right before the hose enters your plasma system. This allows the compressed air to cool a bit as it is passing through the pipe/hose, which allows the coalescing filter to centrifuge the water drops out of the air.....or for the absorbing filter to absorb this water.

    An example of a colescing filter is the Hypertherm accessory plasma filter kit....an example of an absorbing filter would be a filter such as a Motorguard brand that uses a paper element. The coalescing filter needs to be checked daily and drained if there is moisture....and the absorbing filter needs to be checked daily to determine if the filter is wet. Both of these types of filters also trap particulates (dirt, pipe dope, rust from your compressor tank, etc.) as well

    - In applications where you are using the plasma for production...and/or you live in a region with medium to high humidity...you may want to consider either a refrigerated air dryer or an adequately sized dessicant drier. It is also helpful to have a precooler (radiator) between the compressor tank and the refrigerated drier (or dessicant) with a coalescing filter to remove some water to make the driers more efficient.

    In reality.....most low duty cycle or hobbyist or small shop plasma cutting applications only need the first solution listed above....in fact the vast majority of these types of installations use no filter or air drying method at all.

    To answer your specific questions:

    1. Likely the Eliminizer ( which is a coalescing filter with a particulate filter inside as well) is adequate for your needs.....unless you are in extreme humidity.

    2. The unit on the rear of your Powermax is a small particulate filter with an automatic water trap. The instructions and details for replacing the element are in your operators manual.


    Jim Colt Hypertherm



    Quote Originally Posted by Genopsyism View Post
    After reading through the manual of my Powermax65, I've got a few questions.

    1) Is the Eliminizer (P#128627) the only filter that I need? My local hardware store swears that I need separate coalescing and moisture filters.

    2) Right below the Powermax gas inlet, set-back inside the case, I can see what looks like an airfilter. It's not listed in the consumable parts of powermax. What is it and does this device require any type of maintenance?

    Thank
    Andy

  4. #4
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    Thanks Willy, it seems like you've come up with a solid solution. I see the MotorGuard M60 Filter online. Can you tell me what models are working for you with regards to the coalescing filter and dessicant dryer?

    Thanks,
    Andy


    Quote Originally Posted by flyinwilly View Post
    You really need clean , dry air and lots of it for the 65. The filter on the machine is nowhere good enough.

    I use a motorcraft M60 filter as the first filter. Then I go into a coalescing filter before the dessicant dryer and then another coalescing filter on the output of the dryer. The coalescing filters came with the dryer setup. My air is perfectly dry and my cuts are much better than before the dryer was added and my consumables seem to last forever. I also have water traps in the permanent air lines around the shop because I can switch the dryer in and out of the supply line. We don't use it when we are just running air tools, etc., just when plasma cutting or painting.

    Get the air as dry as you can and you'll eliminate a lot of problems down the road.

    Willy

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    Thanks for the detailed information. I don't have much experience with pneumatics and this information is very helpful. I live in the tropics, rain fall exceeds 100 inches / year so I’m going to need to implement one of your high humidity suggestions. The dessicant drier seems like the best choice for a hobbyist attempting to keep costs down. This approach should save me money on consumables while increasing cut quality. If there are any particular driers that you’re fond of, suggestions would be appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Andy

  6. #6
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    I use a Domnick Hunter D006 dryer. It is an older model that I purchased off Ebay. New ones are fairly expensive. It uses activated alumina as the desiccant and is a regenerative dryer. It has 2 columns of alumina and one column is active while the other is drying. After a minute or two, the active column switches and the old active starts drying. It works very good as long as you protect the alumina from oil vapors from the compressor. Thus the need for the coalescing filters and the Motorcraft.

    If you are going to use a desiccant dryer, I would stick with one that uses activated alumina instead of silica gel. It doesn't break down like silica gel, is very clean and easy to handle (small beads), and is more effective at higher gas temperatures ( hot compressor), and is relatively inexpensive and lasts a long time.

    A lot of folks on the zone use refrigerated dryers but I don't know anything about them or how effective they are for your environment. Maybe someone else can chime in and offer some insight.

    Good Luck,

    Willy

  7. #7
    Registered jimcolt's Avatar
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    I did not notice before my first response that you were located in Guam....my son was stationed there on a U.S. Sub (City of Corpus Christie) until about a year ago...then they moved the sub to Hawaii.

    Being in a tropical region...you definitely should look for either a refrigerated dryer system or a dessicant dryer. Flyinwilly has good suggestions about dessicant dryers....and there should always be a particulate filter after a dessicant dryer.

    If you are looking at low cost...I have heard decent reports about the Harbor Freight refrigerated dryer...usually priced at about $350.....sometimes on sale for $299 or so.

    This same type of equipment is used for automotive paint spray applications....so often you can find this equipment used...for a decent price when a shop closes.

    Jim Colt Hypertherm


    Quote Originally Posted by Genopsyism View Post
    Thanks for the detailed information. I don't have much experience with pneumatics and this information is very helpful. I live in the tropics, rain fall exceeds 100 inches / year so I’m going to need to implement one of your high humidity suggestions. The dessicant drier seems like the best choice for a hobbyist attempting to keep costs down. This approach should save me money on consumables while increasing cut quality. If there are any particular driers that you’re fond of, suggestions would be appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Andy

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    Quote Originally Posted by jimcolt View Post

    If you are looking at low cost...I have heard decent reports about the Harbor Freight dessicant dryer...usually priced at about $350.....sometimes on sale for $299 or so.

    This same type of equipment is used for automotive paint spray applications....so often you can find this equipment used...for a decent price when a shop closes.

    Jim Colt Hypertherm
    I'm certain you meant to say Harbor Freight refrigerated dryer there.

    I have one, it's been working great since I replaced the power switch--it melted in the first hour of use.
    Carl

  9. #9
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    You are correct...I'll see if I can still edit my post!

    Jim

    Quote Originally Posted by I Lean View Post
    I'm certain you meant to say Harbor Freight refrigerated dryer there.

    I have one, it's been working great since I replaced the power switch--it melted in the first hour of use.

  10. #10
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    Great, thanks for the help. I'll fight high humidity with the reasonably priced Harbor Freight refrigerated dryer.
    Compressed Air Dryer

    I'll also keep my ever moist compressor as dry as possible by installing an auto drain kit:
    Automatic Compressor Drain Kit
    Drip Irrigation Kit

    Using flyinwilly design as a template here is what I'm considering:
    <Compressor>--<MotorGuard M60>--<Eliminizer>--<refrigerated dryer>--<Regulator>--<PowerMax>

    What changes could improve this approach?

    Thanks for the guidance.
    Andy

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    I'd put the refrigerated dryer first in line after the compressor. If you remove the bulk of the water as soon as possible, then your Motorguard filter will last much longer before needing replacement.

    Just my thoughts. My system is:
    Compressor (with auto drain)--> HF refrigerated dryer--> around 80 feet of copper air line--> desiccant dryer--> Eliminizer filter--> Powermax 45

    I only have the desiccant dryer in there because I was using it before I got my refrigerated unit, and I figured it couldn't hurt to retain it.
    Carl

  12. #12
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    How 'bout the regulator. Do you put that right before the PowerMax or right after the Compressor?
    Thanks,
    Andy

    Quote Originally Posted by I Lean View Post
    I'd put the refrigerated dryer first in line after the compressor. If you remove the bulk of the water as soon as possible, then your Motorguard filter will last much longer before needing replacement.

    Just my thoughts. My system is:
    Compressor (with auto drain)--> HF refrigerated dryer--> around 80 feet of copper air line--> desiccant dryer--> Eliminizer filter--> Powermax 45

    I only have the desiccant dryer in there because I was using it before I got my refrigerated unit, and I figured it couldn't hurt to retain it.

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