Customer Stories

Compressed Air Systems for the Automotive Industry

A classic car sits on a large, empty road at sunset

Classic cars are big money.  In fact, the global market is worth billions and employs thousands of people.  The ownership of these cars is one of the most popular hobbies in countries such as the United States, United Kingdom, and Europe and is growing ever more popular in China and the Middle East.  With auctions, clubs, and a cult-like following, the appeal of owning a vintage car takes on a life of its own.

What drives the enthusiasm for classic car ownership?  Owners of collector and exotic cars often see their purchase not only as a bit of nostalgia but as a way of diversifying their business portfolio. If you drop some serious cash on a high-end classic car, you want to protect your investment and reduce the risk of it dropping in value.  One of the keys to keeping your investment in tip-top form is to maintain the condition of the car.  One method of doing so is Dry Ice Cleaning also known as Dry Ice Blasting to clean and restore the undercarriage of high-end automobiles.

Dry Ice Blasting is seen as a more efficient process than other types of blasting such as sand or wet blasting as the dry ice evaporates into the air with virtually no cleanup required.  Restoration for the car, easy clean up for the restorer, and environmentally friendly as the removed contaminants fall to the ground and are simply swept up and properly disposed of.  Leveraging the 3 principles of kinetic energy, thermal shock, and rapid expansion, dry ice blasting safely removes dirt and contaminants from paint, plastic, rubber, and metal with no disassembly required of vintage automobiles.  Compressed air is needed in conjunction with the dry air blasting equipment to drive the dry ice pellet.

Unknown to many users, in a typical compressed air system there are 10 major contaminants coming from 4 different sources.

Contaminant Source 1 – The Atmospheric Air

·        Water vapor

·        Micro-organisms

·        Atmospheric dirt

·        Oil Vapor

Contaminant Source 2 – The Air Compressor

·        Liquid oil

·        Oil aerosols

·        Oil vapor

·        Condensed liquid water

·        Water aerosols

Contaminant Source 3 – The Air Receiver

·        Rust

·        Pipe scale

Contaminant Source 4 – The Distribution System

·        Rust

·        Pipe scale

These contaminants must be removed or reduced to acceptable levels if the compressed air system is to operate safely and efficiently. One of these contaminants, water vapor is drawn into the compressor intake from atmospheric air. Remember, you are taking 8 cubic feet of air and compressing it into 1 cubic foot!  Water separators remove bulk condensed water and liquid oil and are typically installed prior to coalescing filters.  Coalescing filters remove oil and water aerosols and solid particulates such as rust, atmospheric air, microorganisms, and pipe scale.  Even with all this protection, water vapor is still left in the compressed air system. Why? Water vapor is water in a gaseous form and will pass through water separators and coalescing filters. Water vapor can only be removed with a compressed air dryer which can take the form of a refrigerated, desiccant, or membrane-type dryer.  The water removal efficiency of these dryers is expressed as a Pressure Dew Point (PDP)

Dryce™ Nation, located in Orlando, FL, is the only comprehensive automotive dry ice cleaning in the world.  Not only do they provide restoration of high-end classic cars but also sell a line of Dry Ice Blasters. Compressed air is needed in conjunction with the dry air blasting equipment to drive the dry air pellets. To achieve this, Dryce™ Nation purchased an air compressor for their restoration lab.  

However, without a compressed air dryer to remove the water vapor, the wet compressed air mixed with the dry ice pellets creating a very messy cleaning situation for the Dryce™ Nation team.  Looking for a solution, they bought and installed a refrigerated compressed air dryer. However, with the refrigerated dryer generating a dew point of only around 34F PDP, the problem did not go away. They needed a desiccant dryer with a -40F PDP to achieve the results they required.

Only after they installed a nano model NDL 130F modular desiccant air dryer with an Energy Savings System in their restoration lab did they experience a clean, dry mess-free finish.  Not only does Dryce™ Nation use the nano desiccant air dryer for restoration but they sell a dryer with every Dry Ice Blaster system sold. 

Utilizing the nano modular desiccant dryer has been the most beneficial contribution to dry ice blasting in my experience. If you’re in the desert you might not need it, but I’m in Florida.


-Scott Ales, President of Dryce Nation

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