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Compressor Oil-Injected Air Compressors

FRL – The Unsung Hero in Your Compressed Air System?


When it comes to compressed air systems, there’s a lot more than meets the eye. The enclosed system contains numerous parts and features, each essential to proper function and exceptional efficiency. Even the smallest parts can make a big difference, especially when it comes to air quality. 

Industry professionals and those familiar with compressors frequently reference FRLs and the role they play in the compression process. But what are FRLs, and what do they do?

FRLs = Filter/regulator/lubricator 

FRL stands for filter, regulator and lubricator. Although they are discrete components, they are frequently bundled together on the distribution side of a compressed air system. Together, they help prepare the compressed air for end use. Let’s take a look at each part’s function:

  1. Filter – Filters help clean compressed air, removing everything from particulates and excess water vapor to contaminating aerosols. Depending on the function, there are many types of filters that could be used. Coalescing, adsorption and absorption are a few of the most common filters.

  2. Regulator – Regulators ensure the pressure stays within the desired pressure band. As the pressure increases, it closes the inlet valve to stop gas entering the regulator. There are different types of regulators including the unbalanced poppet-style, regulators that include a second chamber (good for larger flows or higher pressures), or a combination of the two. Regulators should also come with a built-in pressure gauge so operators can monitor the function.

  3. Lubricator – Lubricators do exactly what they say – lubricate the compressed air before it reaches the end use or pneumatic application. By adding an oil mist to the air helps to keep parts in good operating condition over a long service life. It’s important to select a lubricator that provides only the necessary amount of lubrication. Too much can clog the tools and too little can cause tools to wear out faster.

When choosing FRLs, there are a few considerations to keep in mind. To be effective, take pipe-connection size, pressure drop range, location and application sensitivity, as each of these dictates a certain type or size of component. 

Quality compressed air relies on both the supply and demand side. By using FRLs that are appropriate for the application, operators can improve pneumatic tool function and increase the lifespan of their system.

When it comes to compressed air systems – the devil is often in the details. Learn more here. 

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