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Atlas Copco Dryer
Food & Beverage VSD Compressors

Why Compressed Air Dryers are Important


There are many contaminants that can threaten your compressed air system, but moisture is among the most prevalent. You may be thinking, but it’s just water, but water can have a devastating impact on your compressed air system, your production equipment, and your end product. The best way to prevent moisture from contaminating your compressed air is with a dryer.

Moisture in your compressed air is inevitable as ambient air always contains moisture. When air is compressed, it is pressed into a more compact space. As a result, the contaminants it contains, including moisture can be found in higher volume.

So why is moisture a problem?


It all starts with your compressed air system itself, where the moisture can cause your equipment to corrode if your air is untreated (or improperly treated). This can reduce reliability and durability of your compressed air equipment and shorten time between maintenance.

Corrosion is a problem that magnifies downstream, for an example, rust particles from corroded pipes get into your compressed air and can harm the equipment that uses this air. It can also make it all the way into your end products and compromise their quality.


Moisture creates ideal conditions for microorganisms to grow, such as fungi, mold, and bacteria. These living organisms multiply in the hot and humid environments that are present in compressed air systems.

These microorganisms do not just pose a danger to your compressed air system itself, but an even greater threat to your end products. This is especially true when your end product is consumed by customers, such as food, beverage, or pharmaceuticals.

Types of dryers

Dyers are your most important line of defense against moisture in your compressed air. The right technology can effectively safeguard your system and end products, and therefore save you a lot of hassle and costs.

Refrigerated dryers

Refrigerant dryers are the most common type of dryer. They consist of an air-to-air heat exchanger and an air-to-refrigerant heat exchanger. They remove moisture from your compressed air through condensation.

Desiccant dryers

A desiccant is a material that adsorbs moisture. One of the best-known desiccants is the silica gel contained in the small pouches included in the packaging of products to keep them dry. Also referred to as a hygroscopic material, desiccant is used in dryers to adsorb the moisture contained in the compressed air. The air flows over the material, gives off its moisture and is thereby dried.

Membrane dryers

These dryers are quiet, are easy to operate, have no moving parts, consume little power, and require minimal service. 

They use a process called “selective permeation” of the gas components the air contains. The dryer consists of a cylinder that houses thousands of tiny hollow polymer fibers with an inner coating. Using their selective permeability, these fibers remove water vapor.

There is a lot to consider when choosing a dryer for your application. Your goal should be to find the optimal balance between meeting your air quality requirements and keeping your expenses down. Not sure what dryer is the right one for you? Reach out to one of our experts today.

Want to learn more about dryers and air quality requirements? Read our E-book on Compressed Air Dryers.

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