Kaishan USA | March 13, 2018 | Uncategorized
When it comes to selecting an air compressor for your business, you have a wide range of options. Industrial air compressors vary in terms of power as well as the air flow and pressure they can produce. They also come in various motor types, sizes, and designs, and you can choose from numerous features.
It is crucial that you know how to choose an air compressor that meets your needs and gets you the results you want while keeping your costs manageable. If you purchase one that does not have enough power, for example, you will not be able to complete your work reliably. It might even damage your equipment and cause safety hazards. If you buy a system with more power than you need, though, you will end up spending more than necessary—and the added expenses will not necessarily provide you with any benefits.
Because of the above possibilities, it is crucial to carefully evaluate your needs and consider all of your options when selecting an industrial air compressor. This article can serve as an air compressor buyer’s guide, which you can use the next time you need to purchase this equipment. Taking a look at each of the following factors will help you make the right choice.
The type of air compressor that is right for your business will depend on how you plan to use it, the tools you plan to use it with, and the resources available to you. Rather than buying the most powerful model you can afford or the least expensive one that meets your requirements, you should carefully evaluate your needs and the options available to you. Below are the factors you should consider.
1. Stationary Or Portable? Indoors Or Outdoors?
Most industrial air compressors are built to stay in one place within a factory or other facility. Some applications, however, require you to move them from place to place, perhaps to various job sites. Hence, compressors are available in both stationary and portable models. Portable models are not as powerful as stationary ones, but a high-quality piece of equipment will still have the capability to get the job done.
If you are using a portable machine, it is also more likely that you will be using it outdoors. Consider whether you will be using the system inside or out when selecting a compressor. One that you use primarily outdoors will need protection from the elements. Indoor industrial environments can be quite harsh as well. Hence, compressors typically come with some protective features either way.
2. Drive System Type
The location where you use your commercial air compressor will determine the type of drive it should have. You can choose between an electric-powered motor and a diesel-powered one. Electric motors are typically less costly to operate and need less maintenance, but they require a constant source of electricity. If you are working on different job sites, you might not have that access and would instead need diesel-powered equipment.
Some air compressors feature variable frequency drives, or VFDs, which adjust the amount of energy used based on the task at hand. They accomplish this by altering the motor input frequency and voltage, which saves energy and lowers operating costs. However, machines with these drives can be more sensitive to debris and harsh work environments.
A vital step in choosing an air compressor is determining the amount of power you need. Manufacturers measure the capabilities of their machinery in various ways, all of which are useful for selecting the perfect piece of equipment for your needs. Cubic feet per minute, or CFM, is a unit of measure for the amount of air flow that a compressor can produce. There are multiple types of CFM measurement, including:
To determine the amount of CFM you need, add up the requirements of all the tools you expect to use at one time with the compressor unit. Then, add 30 percent to that number as a safety net.
PSI, which stands for pounds per square inch, measures the amount of pressure a compressor can produce. This measurement is also sometimes written as PSIG, which stands for pound-force per square inch gauge. The PSI of your compressor should match or be higher than that of your highest-rated tool. You do not need to add the measurements together like you do to determine CFM. PSI and CFM are the two main power measurements you will use when selecting an air compressor.
HP or horsepower measurements can also give you useful information about the capabilities of a compressor—but are not used as a primary factor in choosing a commercial air compressor. The CFM and PSI you need will usually help determine the amount of HP you will get.
Manufacturers usually measure the running, or rated, HP of a motor, which is the output it can produce once it reaches its operating rpm. This HP measurement is the one that is most relevant to the air compressor selection process.
You may also check peak or brake HP, which measures the maximum output a motor can generate while the start windings are engaged. This description is less useful than running HP because the start windings stay engaged for a very brief period under normal operations. This level of output cannot be sustained for extended periods. The peak HP can be as much as 7 times higher than the running HP.
Other noteworthy specifications include the duty cycle and service factor. The duty cycle will be either intermittent or continuous. It describes whether the motor can run at full HP intermittently or constantly. If you need full power at all times, you will need a continuous duty cycle.
The service factor of a motor describes the percentage of the rated HP it can operate safely at, and is typically higher than the rated HP. Machines with higher service factors can run under more adverse conditions—such as low voltage or high startup load—without failure.
6. Electrical Requirements
Before purchasing an air compressor, ensure that it is compatible with your incoming electrical supply. Most industrial facilities have 3-phase electricity, while residential and commercial buildings use single-phase power. You will also need to select the right voltage. A qualified electrician will be able to tell you the electrical requirements of your facility.
7. Tank Size
You will also need to figure out the size of your storage tank, which is also called a receiver tank. With larger tanks, you will have more pressurized air available for immediate output. If you have a smaller tank, the compressor will have to work harder to get the same output. These tanks are useful for storing air when demand is higher than the compressor capacity. They also help reduce pulsation in the air line.
Look for a tank size of at least 5 gallons per CFM. If you plan to use your compressor in short bursts, you can use a smaller tank. If you are going to use it for longer periods, you should choose a larger tank. If you will not need to use it for long periods in the beginning, but might eventually move to jobs that require that type of function, consider purchasing an air compressor with a large tank to cover both your current and future requirements.
You can also choose between a horizontal and a vertical tank. The option that is best for you depends on the intended location of your air compressor and the space available in your facility. Vertical designs have a smaller footprint and work better if you have limited space.
Cost is also an important factor in your industrial air compressor selection. Carefully calculating the specifications you need can help you keep costs low by ensuring that you do not purchase a more powerful system than is necessary—or, worse, one that is not powerful enough.
The purchase price is not the only cost factor to consider. Higher-quality systems may cost more up front, but they can save you money in the long run through reduced operating and maintenance costs and a longer lifecycle. If you purchase a more reliable, high-quality unit, you will have to spend less on repairs and will not have to replace it as soon, which may make the extra upfront expense worth it.
Look for efficiency ratings and the listed life expectancy of vital components during your research. Warranties will give you peace of mind in case something does go wrong. Also consider the product’s reputation for durability, reliability, and maintenance costs.
Different kinds of air compressors come with varying features. Sometimes, these features will be part of standard specifications. In other cases, you may have the option of adding the ones you need. Consider the benefits a feature will provide you with and weigh the costs against those advantages. If the function will provide a net benefit, it is a smart investment. Here are some of the features you may have to consider, when selecting a commercial air compressor.
An important consideration is the materials that the components are made of. Look for durable materials, such as steel and cast-iron. The better your system can resist wear, corrosion, and other damage, the longer it will last and the lower your maintenance costs will be. A durable construction also means that your compressor will work more reliably, so do not overlook this quality.
You should also pay careful attention to the make and model of all motors, starters, belts, and other critical components. Ask about smaller but significant parts such as valves, bearings, and gears. The manufacturer and distributor should be able to give you information about the parts used in an air compressor’s construction. All the components your equipment uses should have a reputation for reliability and durability.
Air compressors use various types of control systems, all of which work to match the amount of air supplied to the amount of air you need. The two main control types are fixed-speed and variable-speed controls.
Fixed-speed controls aim to keep the speed of the compressor constant. Numerous technologies enable fixed-speed control, including modulation, variable displacement, dual, and start/stop.
Variable speed controls allow you to adjust the speed of the compressor so that its output exactly equals the demand. This process enables you to operate your compressor much more efficiently. These types of systems are more advanced and need to be able to run reliably and efficiently at multiple speeds.
Before choosing an air compressor, take a look at how the controller works for the system and the features it includes. The controller might be digital or manual. Many of our models come with password-protected touchscreen controllers that can sequence up to 16 machines. They also provide access to maintenance schedules, history, and fault alarms so that you have the exact data you need for best performance.
4. Noise Reduction System
Noise level varies from model to model, but any compressor will make some amount of noise during operation. The noise rating of a compressor unit, which is measured in decibels, will tell you how loud you can expect the system to be. As they are designed to help make the workplace a more comfortable environment, several air compressors come with noise-reduction systems like sound enclosures. Carefully consider your team and the environment you will be working in before deciding on an acceptable noise level.
5. Cooling System
In order to prevent overheating, air compressors need a system to dissipate waste heat. This cooling system may use air or water—or sometimes another liquid, such as oil—to cool the equipment. It might also be an enclosed or an open system and use either centrifugal or axial cooling fans. Your air compressor unit might include an air dryer or aftercooler as well, in order to remove heat from the air stream.
The cooling mechanism is a crucial system and has an impact on the efficiency, noise level, and reliability of your compressor. Remember that if you are operating the compressor indoors, sufficient ventilation is crucial for adequate cooling.
6. Structural Protection
If you are using your air compressor outdoors, you will need to ensure that it has sufficient protection from the elements. Indoors, it needs protection from debris and dust, which could cause severe damage. For increased reliability, your compressor should have structural protection for all critical parts and fittings. A frame made of a sturdy material will also help to improve durability. Know your environment well and determine where you will use the compressor most often before selecting the best model for your operations.
7. Safety Features
Safety is always a priority, so make sure that your air compressor has the safety features you need. Useful safety features include guards around potentially dangerous components, automatic shutdown mechanisms in case of overheating, and alarm systems that will alert you if an error occurs. These safety systems will help protect not only your employees but also your equipment.
A wide range of industries use air compressors, including the manufacturing, automotive, agricultural, energy exploration, construction, woodworking, and pharmaceutical sectors. The type of industry and the types of tasks you plan to use your compressor for are vital aspects in choosing an air compressor.
Air Compressor Types
For industrial applications, you need a rotary screw compressor. There are other technologies available, but they do not provide enough power for most industrial uses. Rotary screw compressors are also more efficient and cost-effective than other options for industrial applications.
Tool Type and Use
The types of tools that your industry uses also play a critical role in air compressor selection, as the tools that you use with your air compressor determine the CFM and PSI requirements of your compressor unit. If you use these tools intermittently, you can choose a smaller tank. If you need to use them continuously for long periods, you will need a larger tank.
If you work in an industry that requires you to move from one job site to another, you will need a portable air compressor with a diesel-powered motor. You might not always have access to electrical power at these job sites, so portable, diesel-powered equipment will give you the flexibility you need to move around. Industries such as construction, demolition, and energy exploration need this type of compressor unit.
On the other hand, if you are part of a sector such as manufacturing, where you work in one facility all the time, you can instead use a stationary, electrically powered air compressor. These units are less costly to purchase and operate, and they can also be more powerful. The trade-off, of course, is that you cannot move the equipment around, and you need constant access to electric power.
Do not forget to consider the environment in which you will be using the machinery. If you plan to use it outdoors, you should prioritize protection from the elements over other features. Think about the typical weather in your area and whether or not moisture, heat, cold, or other conditions will be of concern.
Indoor environments can also sometimes be harsh. The air in manufacturing facilities, for instance, often contains a substantial amount of debris such as dust and dirt. Be realistic about the type of exposure your air compressor will face before you decide, that way you do not have to worry about maintenance or repairs soon after purchase.
Compressors From Kaishan
When choosing an industrial air compressor, ensure that you make the right choice and get a machine that meets your needs while maintaining efficiency and cost-effectiveness. Considering all of the factors listed above is an essential step in this process. Working with an experienced company with knowledgeable staff is also extraordinarily helpful.
Kaishan Compressor is an engineering-based company that has been in the air compression business for more than 60 years. We sell our products in more than 60 countries and offer a wide variety of air compression products—you are bound to find something that fits your needs from our selection of more than 60,000 rotary screw compressors. We utilize vertically integrated production, and our equipment leads the industry in reliability and value.
At Kaishan Compressor, we have made large research and development investments to ensure that we are designing the best equipment. From enclosures, tanks, and frames to coolers, castings, and air ends, you can rest assured that we build our own components for the highest performance and quality.
Browse our website for more information on our products. You can also contact us to learn more about what we offer and to get help with the selection process. Our team of helpful, knowledgeable professionals is standing by!
When it comes to selecting an air compressor for your business, you have a
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