Air compressors have numerous applications in industry and are used in various fields, including automation and assembly, chemical manufacturing, agriculture and construction. All compressors work by converting power from an external source, such as an electric motor or diesel engines, into stored energy which may be released in the proper execution of pressurised air. The pressurised air is then used to power tools and machinery.
Choosing the Right Air Compressor
However compressors vary within their method of operation, air capacity and level of pressure that they may deliver. The right compressor will able to put on enough air and deliver a high enough level of pressure for the duty, but performance must be balanced against considerations such as cost and durability smallest compressor Compressed air is measured in cubic feet each minute (CFM), with a high requirement for CFM needing a more substantial air capacity and higher horsepower (HP).
Types of Industrial Air Compressor
You can find three major forms of industrial air compressor based on the method of operation. They are reciprocating compressors , rotary screw compressors and centrifugal compressors.
Reciprocating compressors are positive displacement compressors , where air is reduced in volume to improve its pressure. Reciprocating contain pumps driven by pistons with a cylinder compressing and displacing the air. You can find two types, direct drive compressors and belt drive compressors. Belt drive compressors tend to be more durable and able to deliver higher pressures. Reciprocating compressors can be found in single stage and multi stage. Multi stage compressors deliver higher pressures and tend to be more efficient, meaning lower electricity consumption and lower costs. Reciprocating compressors tend to be portable and ideal for trades people involved with construction and similar fields.
Rotary screw air compressors also work by a positive displacement process. They use two helical screws meshed together to force air through and compress it. The method of operation is really a smoother process than that of pistons, with less surges and vibration than that sometimes within reciprocating compressors. They are durable and easy to maintain. Rotary screw air compressors generally have greater capacities than reciprocating compressors and can deliver higher air pressures. Some types have variable speed drives and thus airflow and pressure can be closely controlled, and where airflow requirements are variable this can lead to significant energy savings. Rotary screw air compressors have various applications, finding use in areas such as construction sites, factories and hospitals.
Centrifugal air compressors work by a different mechanism. They utilize the momentum gained from a spinning disk to transfer and pressurise air. This process is called dynamic displacement and is really a continuous process, causing a steady method of getting pressurised air. They could deliver very high pressures. However the method also requires higher speeds and higher air capacities than other compressors. The capacity and airflow can be controlled by means of inlet guide vanes. Centrifugal compressors have many applications, and are used for machinery such as pneumatic drills and automotive superchargers and turbochargers, in addition to for air conditioning and refrigeration. They are also within gas turbines, gas pipelines, oil refineries, petrochemical plants and chemical plants.