Dramatic temperatures mean more attention than ever needs to be paid to essential equipment to ensure it’s prepped, protected, and in peak condition for the summer season.
Australian summers are becoming increasingly hotter year by year, and the Bureau of Meteorology has predicted this summer will be no different. At Hitachi Global Air Power, we understand the unique climate challenges Australian businesses face and are here to help you maintain optimum compressor performance as the mercury soars.
As the hot weather descends upon us in the coming months, your compressors will have to work harder to maintain the same level of output they do during the cooler winter months. There are several service factors that should be considered critical for maintenance in preparation for high ambient temperatures. “Summer servicing needs to happen now. Sites will become much drier and dustier, so machines will be ingesting a lot more airborne dust and debris than normal with the potential to block critical airflow through the oil and aftercoolers”, says Brett Dunlop, Customer Service Manager for the Sydney branch. “Pre-filter mats need to be cleaned or replaced on a more regular basis, for example”, he explains. “If they’re clean, it allows for a more consistent and clear airflow. When there is restricted airflow, machines will often suffer from symptoms such as overheating; this, in turn, can have a cascading effect on other critical components and often results in increased oil carryover. Machine trips are frustrating, time-consuming and costly”.
Another essential factor to consider is the condition of thermal bypass valves. “These regulate temperature across the oil cooler, and the valves particularly should be inspected or replaced to ensure differential temperatures are regulated and to alleviate any unnecessary failures or plant shutdowns”, explains Brett. “Machines running with deteriorating thermal bypass valves will likely be impacted on those hot summer days and nights. The outcome of running above the design temperatures can also lead to a reduction in the machine’s expected service life”.
Most air compressors in industrial/mining and agriculture use are air-cooled so cooling airflow is also highly critical. As well as temperature care, oil and after coolers do become externally clogged over time and must be cleaned regularly.
Shael Esler is the National Service Business Manager for Hitachi Global Air Power. “It’s not just the compressor that needs attention, it’s the whole package”, she says. “Of course, compressors are critical, but dryers, for example, are just as important. They’re essential to output lines and the functionality of the overall product”.
Machines that run hot will also work much harder than they should and become more prone to failures that can potentially deem the machine irreparable. Pre-summer servicing will improve the reliability and longevity of machines, avoiding the potential for massive capital expense in the event of equipment failure.
Brett still has the extremes of last summer in front of mind as the next one approaches. “Our summer ambient temps are increasing year on year. In Sydney last year, we had 47 – 48 degree days. So as we near the new normal of 50 degrees for a summer’s day, it’s critical the cooler is working efficiently and effectively to allow machines to operate under those extreme conditions.”
Summer in Australia also means it’s the holiday season, and this can be the ideal time for bigger industrial sites to do thorough servicing and upgrade of their equipment during shutdowns. “Many of our customers will be between production cycles at this point; for example, it’s post-harvest season/pre-bottling and canning time for many in food and wine production”, says Shael. “Taking the time to engage in a thorough maintenance plan while things are quiet will pay off ten times over in the peak of production, so that operations can run seamlessly and without interruption”.
Hitachi Global Air Power is dedicated to providing the best solutions for your compressed air needs. Our reputation for reliability and innovation, along with durable, high-performance equipment, is long-standing.