• Properly Maintaining an Industrial Air Compressor

    Industrial air compressors are a crucial and fundamental part of the plant's operation (so crucial, in fact, that compressed air is also known as the fourth utility). With so much emphasis on the lifetime of these machines, air compressor maintenance has become key to conserving a company’s funds. When properly maintained, industrial air compression systems decrease downtime, increase production rates, and improve the quality of the air being produced. Two system components that require routine maintenance are the compressor package and the compressor drives. A lot of minor problems can be attended to simply by cleaning, replacing parts as necessary, and doing away with harmful conditions that could hinder the compressor’s working ability. Using a professional air compressor maintenance service will reduce safety hazards and increase the reliability of the air compressor.

    Components that need to be maintained by the compressor package are the heat exchanger surfaces, the compressors, the air-lubricant separator, the air-inlet filter, the lubricant, and the lubricant filter. Heat exchanger surfaces should be kept clean; if they are not, the air compressor will be less efficient. Air lubricant separators usually perform at 2 or 3psid when new and working at full capacity. Manufacturer manuals suggest changing the air lubricant separators when it reaches a 10psid. Air compressor lubricant often becomes acidic and deteriorates the equipment, therefore decreasing system efficiency. Lubricant-injected rotary compressors require lubrication to be applied to bearings, gears, and contacting rotor surfaces. To prevent reduction of compressor capacity, air-inlet piping should also be cleaned regularly.

    The compressor drive must be maintained through lubrication and cleaning. It is necessary to keep the air passages clean and clear of obstruction due to the fact that motors require cleaning. All enclosed motor fins should be free of debris to allow the compressor drive to cool. For motors with bearing grease fittings, first clean the grease fitting and remove the drain plug. Then, add new high-quality grease, run the motor for an hour, and finish by replace the drain plug. Excessive bearing wear can be caused by tight belts; on the other hand, loose belts can slip and create wasted energy. It is efficient to check and adjust belts regularly to reduce stretching and deterioration.

    Lack of maintenance can cause excessive energy consumption, high operating temperatures, poor moisture control, and excessive contamination. Keep in mind that all industrial air compressor equipment should be maintained in accordance with the manufacturers recommendations. Depending on ambient conditions, it may be prudent to carry out maintenance more often than advised by compressor manufacturers.

  • Types of Condensate Drains

    A condensate drain is a necessary component of a compressed air system because it disposes of potentially harmful condensates in a safe way. Condensates form from the cooling of moisture in the air system, and must be drained properly and regularly. If the condensate is not drained, water vapor and other contaminants would not be properly removed via refrigerated air dryers or mist eliminators. These drains are categorized into zero air loss drains and timed electric drain traps.

    Zero air loss drains operate automatically via pneumatic power and waste no compressed air when they discharge condensate. These condensates are continuously measured by ultrasonic sensing technology systems, allowing for constant monitoring of the process. The discharge from these drains can be executed at a rate of up to 60 gallons of condensate per hour. The state of the condensate is irrelevant and, as such, it can be dirty, emulsified, or clean. Regardless of the state it is in, all condensate is discharged through this process. Zero air loss drains expel no compressed air, hence the term “zero air loss”. Once a predetermined amount of condensate has accumulated in a reservoir, the drain discharges the condensate safely and efficiently.

    The second type of condensate drains are timed electric drains. These drains are programmed to drain condensates at specific time intervals, and are designed to discharge condensates at pressure ratings as high as 720psi. External knobs adjust the open time and duration between cycles, while valve-open lights display operating conditions. A motorized ball valve is also used for the timing of these electric drains.

    The third type of condensate drains are automatic drain traps, also known as float drains. These drains operate without electricity and are used to discharge both clean and heavy emulsion condensates. These automatic drain traps are relatively compact in size and operate automatically, saving both space and energy costs.

    After the drains have discharged the condensate, oil and water separators are used to reduce hazardous waste in these condensates. Oil and water separators work by siphoning out materials such as mineral oils, semi-synthetic lubricants, synthetic lubricants, 24KT fluids, and polyglycols from the compressed air. Because oil and water mixtures are not safe to release back into the environment, the lubricants are trapped in these systems, allowing water to pass through.

    All these drains are used in compressed air systems to keep the air free of water vapor and other contaminants. Draining condensates is one of the most important aspects when dealing with industrial air compressor maintenance. Not only will a well drained system function more smoothly, but it will also save you valuable time and money.

  • Buyer's Guide to Industrial Air Compressors

    An air compressor is a tool that works to convert power that is normally derived from either an electric motor or an engine that is run by gasoline or diesel, into energy. The energy that an air compressor produces is pressurized into compressed air that is then release into burst a of air as a form of energy. Compressed air in this system is normally stored inside of a chamber until it is needed and then it is released when needed for applications. If you have found the need for an air compressor and need one bigger then what the everyday handyman would need, then you may want to consider purchasing an industrial size air compressor.

    If you make the choice to go the route of purchasing an industrial air compressor, then there are a few factors that you may want to consider when making the purchase. First, what kind of power source will you be able to supply for your compressor? Will it be electricity, gas, or diesel powering the compressor? Next, how readily available are replacement parts for the compressor you are considering. The last thing that you want to have to do is wait weeks for parts to repair the compressor, so make sure replacement part are easily available. A third question you need to ponder is whether or not this industrial air compressor will be stationary or if you will need a little more maneuverability from it to get to any job that you have. Another thing to consider is the price. What is your price point for an industrial air compressor? How much can you afford?

    The current trends and technology concerning industrial air compressors show that more people are interested in energy efficient models that may be more expensive initially, but will be a long investment. Energy efficient models will produce energy savings. Once you have decided what size you need, whether you need it to move, and what you can afford, ask yourself if you are ready to invest in an energy efficient model to save yourself some money over a period of time.

    Once you have made a decision about what you are looking for, then comes time to find a reputable dealer. Ask other business owners, who have needs similar to yours, who they would recommend. You can also browse the internet for answers, or call the Better Business Bureau to check into what companies dealing with industrial air compressors have good ratings.

  • Air Demand Analysis on Your Industrial Air Compressor

    When having your brand new compressed air system designed, be certain to hire a professional engineer to conduct an Air Demand Analysis. An Air Demand Analysis can guide you in customizing your system according to your business’ needs and usage. This Air Demand Analysis is a key step in obtaining the highest performance and efficiency from your machine. The engineer will perform a series of test and use that information to create a detailed analysis that will help develop a compressed air system that benefits your finances, energy costs, and even the environment.

    During the process, data that is both accurate and valuable will be utilized to optimize your system. Air consumption profiles help determine which system is best suited for your operation. Everything from the type of compressor to its layout is designed and tailored on a case by case basis. This step is highly encouraged since it can save on energy, translating to a huge savings on costs over time.

    An Air Demand Analysis can significantly reduce energy costs. Electricity is the highest cost incurred of operating an industrial air compressor. This Air Demand Analysis serves to meet all of your requirements while keeping the pressure used to a minimum. This is achieved by matching you with the most appropriate device and customizing the layout and features of the unit.

    The Air Demand Analysis consists of several steps. The air demand and other data is collected and then used to appoint the best systems. Then, each system undergoes vigorous testing to determine the power consumption and overall efficiency within the variables of your working operation. Lastly, the best system is selected and tailored to fit, with a detailed 3D image of your system available to be viewed pre-installation.

    The engineer will be capable of providing a realistic prediction of energy savings. This allows you to have the opportunity to compare the extremes of having an Air Analysis versus not having one. The best systems are durable and perform optimally, and the professional will do everything in his or her power to ensure you have the best system.

    An Air Demand Analysis is extremely important when designing a compressed air system. A professional engineer or vendor can perform tests to determine the system that best performs in your environment while saving the greatest amount of energy. Maximum performance, reliability and efficiency are three key traits that your system will be designed and tailored on.

  • Common Terms to Learn When Dealing with Air Compressors

    If you are dealing with air compressors, there are many terms you will come across that may be essential to understand. Knowing the meaning of these terms will give you a better understanding of what you are dealing with when it comes to air compressors and any issues that may arise.

    First, we will go over some of the basic components of air compressors. The air regulator is used to gauge how much air is being disbursed from the tank. The check valve makes sure all the air is flowing in one direction. The line pressure gauge measures how much air is in the hose that supplies the tool with air. This is important to avoid injury or damage to the tool. The tank is the largest part of the compressor. It holds the air until it is ready to be used by the tool. The tank pressure gauge determines how much air is available to use in the tank.

    The next thing to learn are technical terms involved when dealing with air compressors. PSI or "pounds per square inch" is the measure of how much force is being delivered by the compressor to the tool. A typical painting tool will require 40-50 PSI, while some hand tools require around 100 PSI.

    ASME stands for American Society of Mechanical Engineers. An ASME certified tank has certain welding standards that must be adhered to in order to be called an ASME certified tank. In order to be in code on certain jobs, an ASME certified tank is required for any work with air tools.

    Cubic feet per minute, or CFM, is the amount of air being delivered from the compressor to the tool. Compressors with higher CFPM ratings provide more air.
    A single stage compressor has one cylinder. It is usually used for smaller jobs, such as painting. A two stage compressor has two or more cylinders. These are commonly used for jobs that require higher PSI or will be in use for longer periods of time.

    Tool ratings are the types of tools that are compatible with a compressor. The size of the compressor and the output determine what types of tools can be used with it. Depending on how much the tool will be used and for how long can determine the tool rating.

    Knowing these common terms and more technical terms will help you understand air compressors better and hopefully put you on the right track to buying one.