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How is air compressed

If you're wondering how compressors operate to produce compressed air, Engineering Sales Associates is here to fill you in. Compressors contain different parts that must work in unison to pull in air that is then compressed and ready for use in industrial applications.

How the Process Works

The first part in a compressor that helps create compression is the controller. The controller sends a signal to the load solenoid, which then prompts the inlet valve to open. The screws in the compressor are then instructed to turn, which creates a vacuum in response. The screws have a tight tolerance that allows air to mix with oil as it enters the system through the screws. The air moves through the inlet valve and into the smaller spaces between the screws, which then start to rotate to help it move through the a part called the compression chamber. When air enters the system, it is compressed on the discharge side. If you have an oil-injected compressor, the compressor may also have oil in the rotors that delivers the air into the separator tank. They then move through a filter, where the oil is dispersed from the tank to be reused. The air helps cool the system before it is discharged from the compressor.

The Role of Oil

Even though compressors ultimately produce compressed air as their end product, they need sufficient amounts of fluid to operate correctly. One fluid in particular that compressors require is oil. The three main functions of oil are to cool, seal, and lubricate the system. The engine in a compressor can be protected by oil in several ways. Most motors are oil-injected, splash-lubricated, or pressure-lubricated. Although motor designs may vary, it's important to make sure that they have sufficient amounts of oil. Having sufficient amounts of oil, and quality oil, will influence the frequency of component replacements and service.

Types of Compressor Systems

There are several different types of compressed systems that work in slightly different ways to deliver compressed air.

  • Rotary screw

  • Rotary vane

  • Reciprocating

One of the most common types of compressors is the rotary screw. Rotary screw compressors are made for industrial use and can adapt well to many different applications.

Rotary vane compressors are designed much like rotary screw compressors. They are smaller and easier to use, which makes them a top choice for home projects.

Reciprocating compressors have a rotor that spins and makes the piston move. When the piston moves downward, freestanding air is compressed into a chamber and forced out as the piston moves up. Reciprocating compressors have a single-stage or two-stage design.

Contact Engineering Sales Associates for more information on compressors and how they work.

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