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2022 Industrial Air Compressor Buyer’s Guide

When you’re considering getting into an industrial air compressor, there are a lot of questions you may have about exactly what you need and which options are best for your setup. Fortunately, with the extensive knowledge we have of the industry, we can help you through the process. We’ve developed this guide to make it much easier for you to determine exactly what you need and what features may benefit your situation. 

There may be several reasons why you’re considering an industrial air compressor. Perhaps your shop or job site keeps burning through consumer-grade air compressors. You could be starting a business where you know you’ll need a commercial air compressor but aren’t quite sure exactly what you need from that point. Whatever the reason, we’ll go over all the necessary details most business owners need to know about commercial air compressors so that you can make a smart choice for your business.

What is an Industrial Air Compressor?

Let’s start with a basic description of what an air compressor is. An air compressor combines a pump with a strong tank, into which is pumped air under pressure. This pressurized air can be used for many residential, commercial and industrial applications. You may have even used one to air up a low or flat tire on your vehicle, but the applications go far beyond that point to power what are known as pneumatic, or air-powered, tools. These include grinders, ratchet drivers, spray rigs, power washers, drills, metal shears, grease guns and many more tools that are used on a daily basis.

So, what makes an air compressor an industrial air compressor? Consider the difference between, as an example, a push lawn mower and a large zero-radius mower. When you just need a little power, a push mower may work fine, but if you’ve got multiple acres to mow, a zero-radius mower is what you’re going to want. It’s the same with industrial air compressors, where you’ll need an air compressor that is tougher, rated to higher pressures and able to take the daily work and abuse that the environment may throw at it. An industrial air compressor will work harder, longer and faster to achieve the results needed in a more efficient manner, without breaking down.

Air Compressor Sizing

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There is a wide range of air compressor sizes, from tiny one- or two-gallon pancake air compressors for homeowners to use on occasion up to several hundred gallons of holding capacity. The gallon size refers to the volume of air your air compressor tank can hold. Just like a ten-gallon fish tank can hold ten gallons of water, a ten-gallon air compressor can hold ten gallons of compressed air.

Generally speaking, you’re going to base the size of the air compressor you need on the type of work that you’re doing. Take a solid look at the tools you’re going to use with your air compressor and see what kind of demand they’ll create. As an example, a paint spraying rig may work best using an air compressor that has a minimum capacity of 20 gallons but may still be able to work with an air compressor that has a capacity of 10 gallons. However, at the lower end, you’ll notice that you’re getting inconsistent pressure and that your air compressor is cycling, or turning on and off repeatedly, to try to keep up with the workload.

You’ll also want to take into consideration that you may have multiple tools running at the same time. In doing so, you’re creating a larger overall draw on your air compressor that may need to be considered when selecting the size of your compressor. Think about how much air you’ll need to supply to different tools in your setup if they were all running at the same time, then add a little buffer to ensure your air compressor can keep up with demand.

Air Compressor Types

Rotary Screw

A rotary screw air compressor will last longer, provide more consistent airflow, can be used with or without a storage tank for the compressed air, and can have a 100% duty cycle, drastically reducing downtime. Its construction allows it to move a higher quantity of air per horsepower than other types of air compressors, while its quieter operation and higher energy efficiency levels make it a great option for most commercial air compressor needs.

Reciprocating (Piston)

However, there are some situations in which a reciprocating air compressor may be a better option for your needs. In this type of commercial air compressor, a piston is used to compress air into a storage tank, from which it is released at a metered rate into the tools that are being used with it. Generally, it’s going to be able to reach higher pressures than a rotary screw air compressor, have simple maintenance and will be less expensive to purchase. However, the trade-off is that it will require more maintenance time and will fail earlier in the lifespan.

Air Compressor Performance

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When your air compressor is working well, there are specific ways to keep it operating efficiently for longer periods of time. Though you may expect this from well-serviced machines, there are a couple of other factors you should also consider when selecting your industrial air compressor to ensure you’re getting the right machinery for your needs.

Tank Size and Performance

One of the biggest concerns is tank size. Tank size can promote or reduce short cycling, which is what happens when a machine cycles on and then off again frequently. These short cycles can cause a lot of wear and tear on the machine and are usually a sign that you have a tank that is too small for your needs. By starting out erring on the side of caution with a larger tank, you can ensure that you’ll be able to get the kind of performance you need without a lot of headaches in the process.

Ambient Conditions

The ambient conditions around your air compressor can have a big impact on its performance. If you’re working in marine environments, hot climates or areas with extreme outdoor conditions, you’ll want to talk to the company you’re purchasing from to ensure that they’re looking for the best option for your needs. Using a standard commercial air compressor in harsh environments can have a large impact on reliability.

Elevation

Elevation can also have a big impact on the performance of your air compressor. As an example, if you travel through the mountains, you may notice that pre-packaged bags of chips swell up because the pressure on the outside of the bag is no longer the same as the pressure on the inside of the bag. In this same way, taking the same air compressor that worked for your operation at sea level to the mountains will have a big impact on performance, because it must run much longer to build up the same amount of pressure in the low-pressure environment.

Service Programs

One of the biggest impactors of performance in industrial air compressor systems is having an effective service program in place. Whether you’re taking care of servicing your commercial air compressor or you’re hiring out the work, it’s a vital part of preserving your air compressor’s efficiency. It’s estimated that lack of maintenance can result in a 7% increase in energy use, because the equipment is no longer able to operate as smoothly and efficiently. Make sure to take the time to have your industrial air compressor serviced regularly.

Additional Tools & Accessories

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Now that you’ve decided on an air compressor, have you thought about the different accessories, lines and tools you’ll need to keep it operating effectively and efficiently? Let’s look at some of the biggest add-ons that can impact your commercial air compressor performance and reliability.

Pipe Sizing

Having sufficient pipe size is vital to keeping your equipment operating effectively. It’s very easy to get caught up in simply laying out piping that will provide you with a minimum level of support, but when you need to really add demand to your equipment, you’ll quickly run into issues with low pressure and variation in pressure providing inconsistent results.

Air Filters

Air filters remove dust from the air as it enters your air compressor, preventing it from showing up further down the line. Dust and debris can also cause a lot of wear and tear on the moving parts of your air compressor, so removing it before it enters the system is a vital part of ensuring the longevity of your commercial air compressor.

Air Dryers

By comparison, air dryers remove moisture from the air before it is passed onto the internal parts of your industrial air compressor, so that it doesn’t cause corrosion on the inside of your equipment. Though you may not notice the humidity, the shear amount of air that is compressed into your equipment can cause the moisture to build up quickly, causing rust, freeze-ups and other issues with your equipment.

Finding the right industrial air compressor for your needs is more complex than simply driving down to the local store and tossing one in the back end. It takes careful consideration of your environment, needs and expectations. If you need help finding the perfect commercial air compressor for your company’s needs, the experienced professionals at Advanced Air & Vacuum would be happy to work with you to find the perfect solution. Please feel free to reach out today with any questions or for more information.

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Oil Vs. Oil-Free Industrial Air Compressors

Choosing between an oil flooded industrial air compressors and an oil-free one isn’t as easy as it used to be. Things that need to be considered before choosing is what is best for the application and what the overall life cycle costs are in comparison, maintenance and repair costs are considerably different, and both types have their own pros and cons.

Maintenance

Oil-flooded air compressors not only need to have their oil levels properly checked and maintained, but they also need to have oil and filter changes on a regular basis – much like cars. This means that you must ensure that someone does these interventions. If you don’t have a dedicated maintenance person, you may want to consider doing this yourself or scheduling a routine service. It is very easy to forget to check and/or change the oil and filters as often as is required.

If these maintenance tasks are forgotten about or neglected, it will surely decrease the efficiency of the air compressor and compromise the reliability. As with cars, a compressor that runs without sufficient quantity or quality of oil and filtration will lead to very costly air compressor services, and likely, major repairs.

Oil-free air compressors do not need this same level of attention to the oil, because some don’t need any oil or the fluid that is used is less depended on. This is done with friction-producing parts that are coated in Teflon or made of self-lubricating materials or using water for cooling. Other methods of oil-free lubrication may also be used.

Air Contamination Concerns

One of the biggest issues with oil air compressors is that the oil will end up in the air. Whether this will be a problem for you depends on whether this oil will damage the equipment that is being powered by that air, if oil contamination will harm a product or process.

Products like foods and medicines are especially sensitive and must have no contamination at all. Meanwhile, applications like auto shop or metal fabrication are usually very tolerant to contamination, not only from compressor oil but other contaminants, like water or dust. Because of these differences, it is important to think of your application’s requirements when deciding which type of industrial air compressor to buy and utilize.

It is important to note that while water-cooled air compressors won’t have oil contamination in their air, they often release water into it instead. If you need the output air to have nothing in it but air itself, go for a machine with Teflon-coated or other self-lubricating parts that do not require any fluids at all and make sure to implement the necessary external dryers and filtration.

Durability

While oil-free air compressors have become much more durable than they used to be, durability is still a concern. In an oil-lubricated air compressor, the oil is changed when, or before, it wears out. If the maintenance is done on the right schedule, then the parts that the oil protects will be fine.

Meanwhile, the protective coatings on the internal parts of oil-free air compressors do eventually wear out, and there is no way to restore the protection. This means that eventually, an oil-free air compressor will need to be replaced. Typically, multiple oil-free air compressor parts will wear out and fail at roughly the same time, making it so that air compressor repair is not cost-effective when this happens.

Loudness

Oil-lubricated air compressors are often quieter than their oil-free counterparts. This is because oil is generally a better lubricant than the alternatives, making it so there is less friction between the parts inside the machines. If noise level is a concern to you, go for the oiled version if your application can accept some oil contamination in the air.

Cost

Oil free compressors typically cost more to purchase up front but can produce less maintenance costs going forward due to less fluid changes and requiring no oil removing filtration.

Size

Size is another factor that influences which type of air compressor to buy. Usually it’s easier to find oil flooded models of air compressors and smaller oil-free ones. However, if your company’s budget allows and the application justifies the requirement of oil free air, you can get large, heavy duty oil-free air compressors. These big oil-free models are often used by large production facilities in the food, pharmaceutical, medical and electronics industries.

Call Advanced for Industrial Air Compressor Advice

At Advanced, we offer advice to help you navigate through the spectrum of options that are available when it comes to air compressors. Just tell us about your intended application for the equipment, and we can advise not only on whether to choose oiled or oil-free compressors, but on which size, compressed air treatment, and compressed air piping configuration will be best for your facility.

If you already have an air compressor, you’ll be glad to know that you can also get air compressor service from our experts. We have specialists in both air compressor, vacuum pumps, fluid pumps and electric motor repair to serve you. Our repair services can often be done on site, or we can take your compressor, pump or motor to our massive repair facility.

Our air compressor parts department can handle all your DIY and installation needs, too. We offer aluminum air piping system components as well as every other part you’ll need for in-house installation and servicing. Contact us today for all your air compressor needs.

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When Do You Need an Oil-Free Air Compressor?

An industrial air compressor typically uses oil for lubrication, but there are oil-free alternatives as well. Oil-lubricated versions have oil spread throughout their moving parts, and this oil must be monitored, topped up, and changed on a regular basis. Meanwhile, oil-free versions use a combination of self-lubricating parts and grease to be able to keep moving.

In most applications, oil-using compressors are preferred despite the maintenance involved. This is because they tend to be able to deliver more compressed air than the oilless options. Compressed air volume is important in situations where multiple people will be running tools off the compressor system or when a single/multiple machines simply need a lot of air.

Standard oil lubricated compressors also tend to last longer than oil-free versions. However, there are some applications in which an oil-free air compressor is needed, and in fact, can be mission-critical. This is why there are several oil-free options available.

When Do You Need an Oil-Free Air Compressor?

1. When Oil in the Airflow Would be Disastrous

One of the common issues with oil-lubricated air compressors is oil getting into the output air and lines. In certain applications, having this happen will be catastrophic. Oil could contaminate products that are being produced, gum up or destroy your airlines or equipment, or cause many other problems. One easy way to ensure that there will be no such issues is to choose an industrial air compressor that doesn’t use oil in any place where it could cause catastrophic contamination. Some industries that are likely to have an oil-free compressor include food & beverage, pharmaceutical, medical/dental, and scientific research, almost all products made that are consumed by people should be produced with oil-free air.

2. When Frequent Maintenance is Unlikely

Another time that you may consider an oil-free air compressor is when the machine will be in a situation where regular maintenance is going to be neglected. Scientific labs or schools are good examples of such environments. Anywhere that has workers who are tasked to things unrelated to the air compressor system maintenance, or where no one is specifically in charge of that maintenance, is a good location for an oil-free compressor. Be careful though, sizing the air compressors appropriately for these scenarios is critical to avoid premature failures or ongoing frustrations.

Oil-Free Air Compressor Types

There are several oil-free air compressor designs. Oil-free rotary screw compressors use the same basic principles as their oiled cousins and have two variants: Dry and water-injected. With the dry type, the intermeshing rotors do not touch each other, so friction is prevented. Lubricated timing gears are outside of the compression chamber, and these maintain the relative positions of the rotors without introducing lubrication into the air flow. Heat is reduced via an air-cooled radiator.

Meanwhile, water-injected rotary screw compressors spray water into the compression chamber to seal the gaps between the rotors and reduce heat.

Rotary lobe air compressors use internal lobes that intermesh to create air compression. Since there is no mechanical contact within the compression chamber, the need to oil the chamber is eliminated. Cooling is accomplished by using a two-stage compression cycle, with the air being sent through an intercooler between the stages. In the intercooler, the heat of compression is drawn off and condensate is removed.

Rotary scroll compressors started off as parts for residential air conditioners, but later, industrial versions entered production. These still have lower horsepower than other types of industrial compression equipment. They use two intermeshing scrolls or spirals, one of which is stationary. These spirals do not touch each other, so the need for lubrication in this area is eliminated.

Oil-free reciprocating compressors use self-lubricating parts, non-metallic guides and piston rings, and other such measures to eliminate the need for lubrication in the compression chamber. They are direct adaptations of their oily counterparts. Air cooling is provided by external fans, which are connected to key parts like the cylinder, cylinder head, and sometimes, the heat exchanger. In some cases, the spokes of the flywheel serve as the fan.

In all cases, an oil-free air compressor is only free of oil in its compression chamber. Important parts outside of this chamber may be lubricated with grease or oil. Because of this, you will still need to have air compressor service performed at some point. However, the level of maintenance required may be lower with some of the oil-free systems. Even more importantly, there is no oil in the compression chambers of these machines, so you never have to worry about line contamination leading to product contamination or equipment fouling.

Find Out Which Air Compressor is Perfect for You with Advanced Air

If you need help deciding on whether you need an oil-free air compressor or which specific type of oil-free air compressor to get, call us here at Advanced Air. We can tell you exactly which one will be best for your application after just a quick conversation.

We are also ready to help when you decide to redesign, upgrade, or add to your existing air compressor system. We’ll recommend the best configurations for your compressed air piping, the optimal places to draw compressed air from, and more. Consulting with us for any design issues can save you from inefficient operation and excessive energy costs, premature wear, product losses, and other problems.

We also help you with designing your air compressor piping system, perform air compressor service/repairs (including electric motor repairs), and can get you all parts you need.

If you need an air compressor for a limited time, you don’t have to make the investment of buying one. At Advanced, we offer air compressor rentals for your short-term jobs, as well as for use when your main system is under repair, or for long-term usage if needed. This makes it easy to get the power of compressed air without buying a new machine.

At Advanced, our staff are not mere employees or technicians, we are experts. We have certified specialists in air compression to handle all your compressed air needs, from choosing a new compressor to handling all sizes of air compressor repair jobs with any difficulty, we have solutions. We also have motor specialists who will perform electric motor repair either at your location or in our large in-house repair facility. Contact us today for all your compressed air requirements.

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Types of Air Compressors for Different Applications

There are several types of air compressors, and they each have applications where they excel. However, for industrial air compressor options, only two types are the most common. These are reciprocating and rotary screw air compressors. There are several other varieties or air compressors that are used for unique applications, which can include rotary vane, rotary scroll, rotary tooth, and the list goes on.

Reciprocating Compressors

Piston Compressors

These are some of the most versatile and common air compressors and are typically smaller or less in horsepower. They use one or more pistons to force air into a small space, through a series of valves, increasing its pressure, then discharged out of the pump. Where the air goes next depends on the application. Common discharge destinations include compressed air tanks and compressed air piping.

This type of compressor is best used when an intermittent duty cycle is called for or in relatively low air demand operations. For example, if an air tank needs to be filled every so often instead of constantly, a piston air compressor is usually a good choice. The same goes for situations where you need to be able to emit a burst of compressed air from a hose every so often.

Notably, piston air compressors can be found in everything from home tire fillers to giant natural gas processing plants. When sized appropriately and in the right conditions, a piston reciprocating air compressor should last at least 15 years but in many cases can last decades!

Diaphragm Compressors

These reciprocating compressors use a diaphragm to compress the air or gas instead of a piston. The diaphragm is oscillated to compress and expand the air/gas within a chamber. Since the air or other gas never contacts the lubricated parts of the machine, there is no chance of the gas being contaminated by oil. Because of this, they are preferred when it is essential that contamination does not occur at all. The diaphragm design is typically used in low flow scenarios with increased pressure requirements. The diaphragm design uses compressed air to actuate and create the higher pressure, therefore consumes more air to produce the higher pressure, these must be sized just right and takes a specialist to properly calculate.

Rotary Compressors

When a company needs an industrial air compressor that can handle a constant or fluctuating demand that requires a continuous duty cycle, rotary compressors come to the forefront. These use a variety of means to keep compressed air constantly flowing.

Helical Screw Compressors

These are good choices for applications where you need a constant supply of compressed air. They’re also excellent for various installation scenarios, whether they are fuel (gas or diesel) driven where you’ll need to bring them in on a trailer, such as road building and construction or electric motor driven with power being supplied form a residential/commercial/industrial building.

This type of compressor uses meshing rotors or otherwise know as a female and male interlock, to pull air or other gas into the front of the rotor and compress it as it travels further along the rotor towards the discharge end. The rotors form “cells” that get tighter as they move, and these both create the compression and keep the air/gas from re-expanding before it should. A discharge port on the opposite end screws allows the compressed air to and travel through the treatment to its destination.

Helical screw compressors have some advantages over their reciprocating counterparts. Since there is no on-off action, vibration and noise are reduced. The biggest advantage is that rotary screw air compressors are designed to run nonstop.

Depending on the specific model involved, lubrication can be provided by water or oil. Some models are suitable for applications where oil-free discharge is critical.

Sliding Vane Compressors

When an application requires an industrial air compressor to run in a contaminant-rich environment, these are often the best choice. They use bushings instead of bearings, and they operate at slow speeds compared to the helical screw compressor. In many industries, helical screw compressors have overtaken these despite the benefit, but they are still popular in applications involving natural gas, oil, and other non-air gas compression.

These compressors work via a series of vanes that slip into a rotor. As the pump rotates, the vanes slide along the inside wall of a cavity, bringing air into a large cavity first and then squeezing the molecules into a smaller space thus reducing the available volume and increasing the pressure as it rotates. Motion is from the intake side to the output end, and by the time the air/gas reaches the output side, it is sufficiently compressed.

Centrifugal Compressors

When you need compressed air for a huge facility, you will run into centrifugal compressors. They drive commercial refrigeration applications up to over 100 hp and can also be found in facilities that need up to 20,000 hp of compression power. These aren’t just strong machines; they can handle huge volumes of air – up to 200,000 cfm or more.

As the name implies, centrifugal compressors work by using a spinning impeller to throw gas outwards. The gas arrives in a casing volute, where its speed slows and it tries to expand, thereby increasing its pressure. Multiple stages may be used to achieve the needed pressures.

Axial Compressors

These are the titans of gas compressors. They can deliver from 8,000 to over 13 million cfm and are used in industrial machines. Jet engines use this type of compressor and can achieve even wider cfm ranges.

Like centrifugal compressors, the axial versions first cause the air or other gas to reach a high velocity, and then slow it down to increase its pressure. These compressors use a series of curved blades for the slowing process.

Which Compressors Are the Most Popular?

In most cases, an industrial air compressor that uses a piston or a helical screw will be the best choice for a shop. Few companies need the extreme capabilities of the other types, and both the piston and helical designs are well-tested and economical.

The choice between these types generally boils down to the needed duty cycle. Piston-based compressors are best for intermittent duty and/or lower cfm demand, while helical screw versions can keep the air coming constantly and at a higher volume of CFM.

Other considerations include the need for oil-free air, the harshness of the environment, and whether the machine will be stationary or brought to a job site without power.

Get Our Expert Advice When Choosing Your Next Air Compressor

At Advanced, we can easily advise you on which type of air compressor is best for your application. We’ll ask all the necessary questions and you’ll provide the needed information and within just a simple five-minute phone consultation. There is no need to guess and risk an expensive mistake.

We also offer all other types of air compressor service you may need, including electric motor repair, general air compressor repair or maintenance, air piping or system design, air compressor rental, and all the air compressor parts you need.

Our specialists are certified in all brands of air compressors, so when you call us, you are talking to skilled experts. Contact us at Advanced Air today for all the help you need.

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5 Common Air Compressor Problems

Like all other machines and mechanical systems, air compressors have certain problems that crop up from time to time, but the more it is relied upon, problems may occur far more often, causing frustrations or loss of production. Therefore, it’s a good idea to check on the air compressors routinely. Here are some of the things we frequently encounter when customers call Advanced Air for air compressor service.

1. Failure to Start

Trying to start an industrial air compressor and having nothing happen creates a unique form of anxiety. Once that passes, it’s time to try to figure out what’s causing this unresponsiveness.

Often, an air compressor doesn’t start because it isn’t getting any power. First, do the obvious and make sure that it’s still connected to its power source, that no fuses are popped and that no breakers are tripped. If there’s a reset button on the unit, try hitting it. It is possible if a fuse is popped, or a breaker is tripped or a button needs rest, that there could still be something wrong that needs to be further addressed. However, if you can restore power, you might be able to keep running for some time to stay productive, if you suspect something further maybe wrong or want peace of mind, call Advanced Air and schedule a service call.

Some people find it surprising that compressors won’t start due to pressure, that can be too high or too low. In this case, you may need to adjust or replace the pressure switch or may have mechanical failure with a check valve which trips a compressor under excessive load or in some rotary screw cases, the compressor has an anti-start switch that is triggered if too much pressure is sensed.

If your system doesn’t have enough oil, this can lead to catastrophic failures. Check the oil often, and if it’s low, try putting more in but always make sure the right oil is added, but know that many pumps will need to be replaced if they’ve been run without oil to the point of seizing.

2. Fuses Blow or Breakers Trip when Compressor Tries to Operate

Old motors can draw too much power thanks to worn-out windings, loose wires, and general wear. This can cause enough of an extra load to trip a breaker or blow a fuse.

Improper wire or breaker size can also be the cause of the failure. This causes the compressor’s motor to overheat and create an overload condition at the breaker/fuse box. When installing an air compressor call Advanced Air and we will tell you exactly what size wire and breaker should be installed in any scenario, our air compressor service can even include installing the proper electrical.

3. The Compressor is Far Noisier than it Should Be

Many air compressors are loud, but there are times when they may become far louder from an abnormality. You may hear grinding, banging, or other sounds of mechanical destruction. Sometimes, this can be an easy fix – but also may indicate a costly repair. Don’t throw it away just yet.

First, check for loose parts. If you find any, tighten them. Points of particular interest include the pulley, flywheel, cooler, clamps, belt, nuts/bolts and belt guard.

Check the floor mountings. Examine the vibration pads and the mounting bolts. Replace worn-out pads and tighten loose bolts. If there are no vibration pads, it is highly suggested to have them installed immediately.

If neither of these fix the issue, it may be time to call in Advanced Air. One of the likely causes of noise is a piston or rod issue. Fixing this requires removing the cylinder head, cleaning it, replacing broken parts and gaskets, and then reassembling.

Crankcase issues can also make a lot of noise. In some cases, the crankcase can be refurbished. In other instances, replacing it outright is a better bet.

4. Air Leaks

Leaks in compressed air piping rob your system of its power and increase your energy bills massively. If the leaks are bad enough, they can stop the system from reaching the proper compression entirely.

To check for air leaks that may not be obvious, turn off the system and watch the pressure gauge. If the pressure reduces on its own, you have a substantial number of leaks. Another hint that there is a leak is that the compressor comes on more than usual during normal operation.

If you find that there’s a leak, the next thing to do is uncover its source. You can walk around the plant and listen for air hissing out, which is a sure sign of a leak. If you hear it, follow your ears to the source. An alternative is to put soapy water on the fittings and other likely spots and see if it bubbles. If it does, a leak is there.

Finally, every hose assembly only lasts so long, check your hoses often as this is where most leaks are found and replace when found, this will reduce energy, reduce wear and tear on the compressor, reduce maintenance costs, and also provide more safety for those working around the hoses.

different-types-of-industrial-air-compressors

5. Excessive Oil or Water in the Discharge Air

Too much oil or water in the compressed air can damage pneumatic tools, equipment and parts, and it can decrease the quality of the products you’re making. Unfortunately, it is a very common problem. There are several possible causes and fixes to consider.

Sometimes, the wrong oil viscosity and an overfilled oil reservoir are common causes of excessive oil in the lines. The importance of a professional routine maintenance program will avoid this from ever happening. It is typical for oil to have to be changed at least once a year and in many cases upwards of a few times a year.

Other problems include filter saturation due to lack of maintenance or not enough filtration. We highly suggest an annual air compressor service plan. Consider Advanced Air to put this contamination problem to bed by providing the right service plan and we have every type of dryer and filter to accommodate any scenario.

Call Advanced Air for Service or Parts

Whether you want to diagnose and fix your own air compressor problems, or you’d rather have certified professionals take care of it, Advanced Air is here for you. We also offer air compressor parts and oil, or filters and dryers , or piping and fittings, and we offer support and instruction for those who are eager enough to handle on their own. Whether you are seeing a common problem or something more unusual, contact Advanced today. We’ll be happy to help.

 

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10 Tips for Maintaining Pneumatic Air Systems

Pneumatic systems need regular maintenance not only to keep working well, but to ensure that tools and accessories attached to them do not get damaged. There are several types of systems that can be based on an industrial air compressor, so the exact types and frequencies of maintenance tasks may vary. One thing that does remain constant is that pneumatic system maintenance is needed. We will provide general guidelines to give you a good starting point for keeping your system in top shape.

1. Check for Leaks

There are many potential sources of leaks and checking them all on a regular basis is one of the keys to keep your system running optimally and not overworking your air compressor. Your industrial air compressor can provide enough power to overcome the loss caused by some leaks, but even small ones will force it to cycle too often. This doesn’t just increase your energy costs, but it also shortens the life of the compressor by forcing it to work harder and more often than it should, which will create higher maintenance and repair frequencies.

You can check for air leaks in a few ways. Using soapy water to coat the outside of suspect seals, pipe joints, and especially the hoses in your compressed air piping, the soap will cause bubbles where air is escaping. In some cases, you can hear leaks. Walk around your facility near any compressed air piping and equipment, and you may hear the hiss of escaping air, if you can hear it it needs to be fixed immediately!

Another practical way to determine if leaks exist, you can shut down your system and keep an eye on the pressure gauge of the tank, if the pressure falls on the gauge when nobody is using air, the air is escaping somehow. In the case that your own leak search doesn’t reveal the culprit, call us at Advanced. We use expert methods to pinpoint which parts are leaking.

2. Lubricate the System

Air compressor pumps and motors and certain accessories need to be lubricated on a regular basis. Be sure to implement routine maintenance and follow manufacturer’s recommendation for timing and lubrication type to avoid expensive system damage.

3. Be Careful Where the Air Compressor Sits

Dust and debris will get sucked into your air compressor and trapped in the filtration so be mindful on where the air compressor are placed. Many things that are often found in these filters are dirt, pollen, dust, lint, even moisture and many more, this will cause your compressor to not work properly and require compressor maintenance more frequently.

4. Change the Filters Regularly

The system’s application will determine how often filters need to be changed. That said, it is important to change them soon enough to prevent them from becoming clogged, or worse, failing and allowing contaminants to proceed through your system.

Filters are found in many places. Look for filters in air lines, inline dryers, and for some machines even oil removing filters. If your system deals with transporting some type of product, look for filters that deal with that substance, too. The frequency of filter changes will depend on the level of contamination they have to filter out, the size of the particulate being removed, and other such factors.

5. Check and Lubricate the Seals

Check all seals regularly so that you quickly spot any that need to be replaced or lubricated. Seals wear out over time, so it’s normal to need to change them out every so often. How long this takes depends on several factors, including the sealing material and general conditions at the seal’s location. If the compressor is leaking oil it is a good indicator that a seal or gasket needs to be replaced.

6. Refill Mist Lubricators

Some systems have mist lubricators, which automatically emit a mist of lubricant onto targeted parts. Make sure these have lubricant, so nothing goes dry unexpectedly.

7. Check and Service the Silencer

Silencers get clogged over time, and when this happens, they must be cleaned or replaced. Check them on a regular basis so that you don’t find out about the problem by the arrival of abnormal operation. Silencers can be considered intake filters that are applied to the inlet side of a pump or can be considered a muffler for a purge process, like on desiccant dryers.

8. Replace Worn or Failing Parts Before They Break Down

Breakdowns happen suddenly, making them impossible to schedule for. They can also incur expensive emergency service calls. To avoid breakdowns, replace worn or suspect failing parts while you still have time to schedule the proper maintenance. This will let you either have a calm, planned downtime for the event, or even set up an air compressor rental to keep your shop running during repairs. A little maintenance spread out can make all the difference.

9. Design or Redesign Systems to be Easy to Maintain

Ease of maintenance doesn’t just save your company man-hours and reduce the level of irritation involved in keeping your system running efficiently, it is also important for ensuring that every part gets maintained appropriately. If it’s a huge hassle to get to a section of the system, that section is likely to be ignored more often than not. Then, it’ll demand attention by breaking down, forcing you to get an air compressor repair that could otherwise have been avoided.

Of course, it’s easiest to design new air systems with maintenance in mind. If you’re completing a system installation, make sure that all system components are easily accessible – including all the compressed air piping. This will do much to ensure that every part on the maintenance checklist is maintained.

If your system is already in place, go over the maintenance checklist yourself to see if it’s possible to safely reach all the components that need to be checked. You may find some parts that are so inaccessible that it’ll be worth it to go ahead and redo the layouts of those areas of your system. The investment will pay for itself by reducing component failures and increasing the efficiency and accuracy of your maintenance crew.

10. Call Advanced Air

If you need air compressor parts for standard preventive maintenance, need electric motor repair, installation or piping needs, or other advanced repairs, or you would simply rather have professional maintenance technicians handle all your air compressor service, contact us at Advanced Air at one of our three locations in North America. We have certified professionals in all aspects of an air compressor system, whether it is electrical, plumbing, installation, service or repair.

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