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What Is A Filter Regulator Lubricator (F.R.L) And What Is It Used For?

Posted by SMC Pneumatics USA on 4/17/2020 to Basic Pneumatics
What Is A Filter Regulator Lubricator (F.R.L) And What Is It Used For?

Pneumatic equipment has a reputation for being squeaky clean, but air leaving a compressor can be hot, moisture and even soiled. Over time, this can dramatically reduce the life of any downstream equipment. You need to remove oil, water droplets, and other contaminants.

Valves and cylinders can eventually get corroded over time as a result, which is a major issue for anyone who has a significant amount of money invested in a project that relies on this kind of gear. As a result, you’ll need to invest in a filter regulator lubricator that keeps air cleaned and lubricated under any circumstances.

How Filter Regulator Lubricators Work

Each FRL is made up of three different components that are installed together in a single housing, which makes it easy to deploy regardless of your specific circumstances. These feature an air filter, a pressure regulator system and a lubricator in one piece, just as the name might suggest.

Each of these pieces of gear has its own jobs to do, which can each help to support a much larger air compressor system. As a result, you’ll want to consider each separate part individually before you start to consider the whole of the equipment.

Airline Filters

Traditional inline filters keep particulate matter from getting into the flow of air that you find in almost all air. While you might think that pneumatic systems are clean, and they certainly are, there’s a good chance that the ambient air around you has a little bit of something in it.

At the same time, there’s always a risk that there’s going to be something dirty in the rest of your work area. If you’re doing any kind of productive activity at all in your place of business, then there’s a good chance that you’re going to get at least some particulate matter sprayed into the air in the process.

As a result, these filters are needed to keep things moving well. A typical SF series clean air filter from SMC Pneumatics is available either as a cartridge or disposable model. The filtration level goes down to as much as 0.01µ, which represents an efficiency of 99.99 percent overall.

Naturally, these components are built into filter regulator lubricators and therefore behave almost identically to them in that respect. While you could always get one as a standalone component, the FRL system will do the job automatically for you. Just as the name suggests, it also comes with a pressure regulator.

Working With A Pressure Regulator

Like any other pressure regulator that you might have used, pressure regulators are capable of reducing and controlling the air pressure moving through a compressed air system. This includes rotary screw-type air compressors. You’ll also see regulators referred to as pressure reducing valves or PRVs. If you ever hear someone talk about FRL devices that include a PRV, then you can tell yourself that they’re just working with standard components.

General-purpose regulators have been offered for years as both relieving and non-relieving styles. Regardless of the kind of equipment that technicians were working with, they needed to make sure that they calculated downstream equipment flow and pressure requirements accurately so they could get a properly sized regulator.

Having too much pressure going through the downstream line is an excellent way to cause damage to something. In some scenarios, you could even make the tubing itself explode if you were to exceed the manufacturer’s specification on it. On the other hand, too little pressure isn’t going to allow you to do any productive work. In fact, you might damage some delicate components in this fashion as well.

For instance, certain types of devices might only open partway, which in turn would cause them to jam and therefore cease to function over time. Granted, high-quality stainless steel parts from SMC are built to be surprisingly durable, but it’s never a good idea to operate outside of the original manufacturer’s specifications.

At the same time, the FRL includes a lubricator to make things go a bit more smoothly, no pun intended. The lubricator adds a controlled slight quantity of tool oil into a compressed air-powered system to reduce the overall friction of moving parts.

In a way, all air tools have to be lubricated to some degree just as any tool that has moving metallic parts. You’ve probably had to add some oil to constant other types of components in the past. However, you might not always think about doing so with your pneumatic gear.

Eventually, most air tools, pressure valves, air motors, and even cylinders will require at least a little lubricant. Using an airline lubricator solves the problem of having too much oil that you end up with whenever you turn to a traditional method like using a grease gun or one of those little oil cans that might make you think of pioneers or settlers trying to work to get their farming wagons moving. Even though these methods may be tested by time, they can muck up your system.

Using this kind of air-powered equipment can avoid another problem, too. At times, you might forget to oil things or might not get enough into a system with these conventional methods. If this at all sounds like what you’ve been dealing with from time to time, then you also want to work with a lubricator.

Solving Common Pneumatic Issues With Frl Combination Units

Fortunately, FRL modules work to solve all of these problems in a single box. Our combination units are packaged together in common body sizes that feature standard connection ports so you won’t have to worry about making sure that everything stays together well. In fact, you’ll probably be able to find an off the shelf solution this way that fits the type of equipment that you already have installed in your place of business.

That helps to virtually eliminate any problems you might have experienced from mismatched components or dealing with odd sizes. Just let us know if you have any concerns or other special needs.

Control Your Flow Rate With SMC Pneumatics

Naturally, you’ll find everything you need at SMC Pneumatics. Never worry about searching around if you’re trying to find a part that is hard to find. Our experts can make recommendations for discontinued parts and match you with the right one.

In fact, you’ll want to get in touch with us using the convenient contact form on our site to tell us all about the requirements of your specific business. We’ll make sure to do our best to get you the kind of FRL parts you need to keep your machines running longer than you had ever thought they could.

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