Condensate drains are fitted to areas in your compressed air system that collect condensate. This includes receivers, filters, dryers and some areas of pipework. The condensate drain effectively drains the condensate automatically saving the need to go around your system draining condensate manually. It also ensures the amount of condensate in the system remains small, limiting the chance for moisture to be discharged into your downstream equipment where it can cause issues with delicate machinery or final product.
There are many different types of condensate drain available but the two most common type are float operated drain valves and timed drain valves.
Float drains (also known as zero loss drain valves) have a small chamber in which condensate accumulates. When the chamber fills to a certain level a small float operates a valve which drains out the condensate at full air pressure. Once the chamber has emptied the valve closes, stopping any compressed air from flowing out. Float drains don’t require a power supply but do require additional pipework to make them work effectively.
Timed drain valves have a small electronically controlled timer that triggers the valve to open for a regular period (of maybe 5 seconds) every 15 or 30 minutes. Typically the time between openings can be set, as can the activation period. Timed drain valves need a single phase supply to operate correctly. Also they will allow for a certain amount of air to be lost each cycle costing energy and loss of air.