Choosing the Right Air Compressor

Choosing the right compressor is an important decision; you need to have a good understanding of your application and its demand for air. Installing the wrong compressor can significantly increase energy costs or reduce productivity. Compressors come in many different types, models, and sizes.  We’ve compiled this guide to help make the process a bit easier.

Sizing Matters
Picking the right size compressor is one of the most crucial factors when selecting an industrial compressor. By far, the largest cost associated with an air compressor's lifecycle is power consumption. Therefore, its capability needs to match your compressed air demands. Too large and you’ll waste too much energy; too small and you won’t be able to meet your demand.  

Establish your pressure and flow requirements…
It is essential that you determine the capacity required by your compressor for your business or specific application. You must establish the minimum pressure and flow required to operate your compressed air system successfully.  This helps to reduce energy costs and optimise productivity to maintain long-lasting performance. There are several ways this can be determined if you are unsure of your current needs. Original equipment manufacturers (OEM) can provide data sheets and recommendations, or you can conduct a compressed air audit to establish your exact compressed air demands. Read more on our blog, Compressed Air Audits: Everything You Need To Know. You also need to factor in demand during peak periods and consider any future expansion.

What type do you need?
There are two main types of technology when it comes to industrial compressors: rotary screw compressors and piston compressors. The type of compressor you need is influenced by how often you use your compressor and the capacity required.

Piston Compressors: These are the ‘workhorses’ of industry and are robust, economical, and easy to maintain. However, they can be noisy to run and release larger amounts of oil into the compressed air when working hard. Designed for intermittent use, the duty cycle of a piston compressor is 60% maximum, meaning they should only be run for 35 minutes per hour.  

Rotary Screw Compressors: These compressors allow for higher flow rates and are more common in industrial applications. They can run at a 100% duty cycle whilst maintaining the same air quality.  Screw compressors are easily integrated with other equipment to optimise the system such as air dryers, receivers and VSDs. If you require a high flow rate with a higher level of air quality, then screw compressors have oil-free models for the medical, food and beverage industries.

It's always a good idea to seek technical advice before selecting and installing an air compressor. Our highly experienced team can help guide you through this process and ensure the most cost-effective, energy-efficient system for the long term. Call us today!