Industrial Air Compressor Guide

Industrial Air Compressor Guide


An industrial air compressor is a tool that converts power (using an electric motor, diesel or gasoline engine, etc.) into potential energy stored as pressurized air or gas. The compressor forces air into a cylinder or cylinders until it (or they) reach the maximum design pressure. Usually the fluid is then released through a valve that regulates the outlet pressure.

When the energy contained as compressed air is released, the kinetic energy can be used for a variety of applications (move engines, sandblasting, diving activities, and many others). Utilizing the kinetic energy, the air is released and the tank depressurizes, when tank pressure reaches a lower limit, the air compressor turns on again to re-pressurize the tank.

The main difference between an air compressor and a pump is that a compressor works with air/gas and pumps work on a liquid.
Classification of air compressors according to pressure

The Naval Ships’ Technical Manual (NSTM), lists compressors in three classifications:

  1. Low-pressure with a discharge pressure of 150 psi or less.
  2. Medium-pressure compressors, with a discharge pressure between 151 psi to 1,000 psi.
  3. High-pressure air compressors with a discharge pressure above 1,000 psi.

Compressor types:

  1. Positive displacement

a.    Reciprocating compressors.

      1. Diaphragma
      2. Double acting
      3. Single Acting
    1. Rotary compressors.
      1. Lobe
      2. Screw
      3. Liquid Ring
      4. Scroll
      5. Vane
  1. Dynamic
    1. Centrifugal
    2. Axial


It is imperative to perform routine maintenance to ensure all industrial air compressor types run efficiently with no leaks, such maintenance includes monitoring and replacing air compressor fittings. By following the instructions from the included manual, must compressors will work and run with no problems. It is suggested that air compressor users perform daily inspections of their equipment, checking for:

  • Oil and air leaks
  • The differential pressure in the compressed air filter
  • Determining whether or not the compressor oil should be changed
  • Operating temperature
  • Draining the condensation from air tanks

When is an industrial air compressor worth repairing?

When  the repair cost is worth the value and the air compressor doesn’t have too many operational hours meaning that is relatively new. If the new technology has not taken over it, especially in energy efficiency. Also if spare parts are still easy to find and the repair is definitive, not just a patch that more sooner than later will become more expensive.

At the end money talks and if maths says that it is time to buy a new industrial air compressor, then there should be the maths to find the best new air compressor. On the other hand, in the long run, it is important to train personnel to give good maintenance to the equipment. If the company is not big enough to keep maintenance personnel or even if the  company has personnel to do these tasks. It is a good idea to hire the services from an industrial air compressor repair company, because they have been trained, not just to give regular maintenance, but also, preventive maintenance. Also these companies usually have spare parts to replace them immediately and keep working the air compressor as soon as possible. Preventive maintenance is always cheaper than corrective and major repairs.

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