Air compressors are an important part of the industry, especially in SME workshops and factories. They allow power to different pneumatic tools such as the nailer and impact wrenches, among others.
As it is a machine whose versatility is undeniable, it is important to know it thoroughly to make the most of its capabilities and know how to deal with its preventive maintenance.
In this note we will tell you about its characteristics, its classification and some tips and tricks so that you can take advantage of it and it will last for many years.
Ten things you need to know about air compressors
1. How are they classified?
Air compressors are classified according to two main criteria: maximum pressure offered at the tank outlet, and compression system used.
Compressors can be classified according to the pressure they offer at the tank outlet. There are three categories:
- Low pressure: they reach 150 psi (10.55 kg/cm²) maximum.
- Medium pressure: they are in the range of 150 psi (10.55 kg/cm²) to 1000 psi (70.3 kg/cm²).
- High pressure: exceed 1000 psi (70.3 kg/cm²).
Classification by compression technology
Compression is achieved, on some models, by a pair of special screws, called Lysholm. Air enters a chamber, the screws compress the air, pressurizing it and expelling it into the tank, where it is stored.
Other models use two helical rotors—one male and the other female—that mesh with great precision. Here above we offer a video where you can see the operation of this mechanism.
They compress the air through both fixed and rotating blades, and the air circulates parallel to their axis. These compressors allow a constant pressure to be maintained at the outlet, which is why they are the most suitable for applications industrial high demand. Their disadvantage is that they are usually large, so they are not portable.
2. What criteria should I follow to choose the best air compressors?
There are several guiding criteria when choosing a compressor that is suitable for the tasks to be carried out in the garage, workshop or SME.
The first is to calculate the maximum airflow of all the tools that will be used simultaneously. This value is cumulative and 25% of the sum must be added; So, if we plan to use two tools which joints require an air flow of 10 l/s, it will be necessary to find a compressor that ensures at least 12.5 l/s.
In summary: if the sum of the consumption of all the tools is ft, look for a compressor whose capacity (DC) satisfy this simple equation:
Cc = Ft + 0.25 Ft
3. What shapes can the compressed air tube have?
The tube is arranged vertically. They are highly sought after in small workshops where there is not much space. Its disadvantage is that, as it has a higher center of gravity than other models, it is necessary to keep it out of the way to prevent it from tipping over.
b. Horizontal tube
It is the most common. The cylinder is arranged horizontally, with the compressor on top or to the side. They are almost always provided with wheels to make it easy to transport. Their center of gravity is low, making it difficult to tip them over. Their disadvantage is that they take up more space than other models.
c. Flat cylindrical tube
The tube is low height and width, so they take up little space both in width and height. They are the most portable of the three models, although due to the dimensions of the tank, they do not have as much capacity.
4. Are there portable air compressors?
Yes, and there are also many different models. Among them they differ mainly by the shape of the air tube; some are wide cylinders, others are long bottle-like tubes.
Although they provide a limited amount of compressed air, their small size and weight make them ideal for carrying in your car trunk or grocery basket. tools. Many of them even allow you to connect to the car’s 12V outlet, making them particularly useful for jobs in the field, where electricity is not available at all.
5. Are there compressors with internal combustion engines?
Yes, although they are larger and are mainly intended for applications industrial. There are models with gasoline and diesel engines; the latter (Diesel engines) are semi-permanent, and need to be towed by a utility vehicle.
Their main use is for road work (they feed hammers and other Neumatic tools large).
6. What practical applications do air compressors have?
There are numerous tools and applications possible thanks to the air compressors. Impact wrenches, Dremel type saws, airbrushes, nail guns and even the simple use of compressed air as a cleaning method are some examples.
In general the tools and accessories are divided into three large groups: those accessories that make use of air directly (compressed air guns, airbrushes), by means of pistons (nailers) and finally, those that use it to turn a pneumatic motor (saws). and hand lathes).
7. What accessories can I use with air compressors?
As we saw before, there is a wide range of tools and accessories that can be connected to a air compressor. It is considered an accessory to all tool simple that makes use of compressed air directly.
Some examples (which can be seen in the photograph above) are air guns —used to blow pressurized air with different nozzles— and airbrushes, of which there are different models for each need. In the latter case, the Venturi tube principle is used to atomize the paint or the liquid contained in the attached tank.
The main use of the airbrush is to carry out precise painting works, although it can also be used with other substances such as poisons (for fumigation), oil (to protect different pieces of steel and iron during metallurgical processes in a workshop or factory) and even powders. as ceramic glazes.
8. What should I keep in mind for daily use?
There are three key aspects to review before using the air compressors.
to. Oil level
Everything compressor It has a small oil tank, which is used to lubricate the different parts of the compressor. Each model has its own measurements, so it is safest to consult the manual to find out how to measure the oil level and what is the appropriate level.
The time of use must also be taken into account; On average, the oil should be changed after 1,000 hours of use.
b. Water level
Air contains moisture. When compressed, this moisture condenses and forms water, which settles at the bottom of the compressed air cylinder. It is very important to purge this liquid from time to time, to prevent it from emulsifying with the oil and oxidizing or damaging the different moving parts of the compressor waves tools used.
There is usually a small rubinete or bobbin under the tubes, or to the side. When you open it, pressurized water will come out for a few moments. When only air comes out, it means purging is complete.
c. Air filter cleaning
The third important factor is to check that the air filter is clean. Check your manual to find out where it is located, how you can check it, and how to replace it if necessary.
9. What should I avoid when using the compressor?
The compressor The air filter needs regular cleaning and maintenance, both the motor and the tank and other static parts.
The tank, due to use, can suffer scratches on the paint. It is important to always keep its surface properly clean and covered with paint to avoid corrosion due to the different chemicals that may be suspended in the air. Corrosion should be avoided and if detected should be treated immediately with some rust converter and then a fresh coat of paint.
The engine must remain clean and free of particles. The same can be said for compressor heat sinks, pressure gauges, etc.
Finally, to correctly store the air compressorsFind a place sheltered from the sun, humidity and corrosive elements. The ideal is to place them at the back of a garage if they are used at home, or in a corner of the factory that is far from the machines that give off chips or dust.
They must also be protected from the passage of people, especially those outside the activity being carried out, children and pets or animals.