What Type of Compressor Should I Use for My Site?

There are many considerations when selecting the right air compressor for your industrial site. Air compressors are a vital component for numerous industrial applications, often serving as the ‘hidden core’ of many operations. Different industries require different compressors, so it helps to be familiar with the features and benefits of each variant.

It is important to choose a reliable industrial air compressor that will suit the needs of your project. One of the main factors to consider is the volume, intensity and frequency of your workload. A compressed air audit is a valuable tool to benchmark what you need to achieve.

Piston Compressors: For Lighter Loads

If you are dealing with light compressed air loads distributed across a short amount of time, a piston compressor may be what you need. Piston compressors can be a highly cost-effective solution, depending on how they are used. They run at a start/stop pace, so their utility costs depend only on the amount of time they are operated. Maintenance costs also tend to be minimal, especially if the machine is properly sized.

Piston compressors should not be used for high-duty cycles ideally no more than 6 stop/starts per hour, due to the risk of overheating and higher electricity consumption. The air drying load must be sized beforehand to prevent the hot air from overwhelming the compressor’s drying mechanism.

Screw Compressors: For Steadier Loads

A screw compressor is suitable for steadier load spread out over long periods of time, even with flow reductions due to breaks. Screw compressors can be fully loaded hours at a time and turned off when dealing with lighter loads.

Screw compressors come with different control modes, which enable you to adjust the amount of energy consumed. These modes include variable displacement, load/unload and variable speed.

Depending on your industry or quality requirements, you may choose between oil-free or lubricated screw compressors. Oil-free compressors are more suitable for industrial applications that require pure air free of moisture and contaminants, such as pharmaceutical, chemistry or food and beverage.

Centrifugal Compressors: For Larger Loads

Centrifugal compressors are the ideal option for applications involving high flow requirements in larger industrial sites. They are the most suitable option for base loading because their air capacity allows them to supply higher energy flows to your industrial machinery. Centrifugal compressors are also lubricant-free and occupy a smaller footprint per kilowatt than screw compressors.

Consider Your Power Source

Your power source is the most crucial consideration for choosing an air compressor. Compressors are typically powered either by gas diesel or electricity. Diesel compressors deliver high output and convenience, but they emit exhaust fumes and should only be used outdoors or in well-ventilated indoor areas.

Electric compressors are a better choice for indoor applications and traditionally run on standard 415 3 phase voltage.

Air Energy is a family owned business that supplies leading-brand compressed air equipment and industrial pipework. We have over 20 years of experience providing products for a broad range of industries. Client satisfaction is our goal, and we pride ourselves on giving clients personalised services tailored to their needs. Contact us today.