Posted by Compressed Air Systems on | Comments Off on Oil-free Air Compressors
What is an Oil-Free Compressor?
When selecting an air compressor, it can be difficult to determine which type of compressor will be best for your application. While many factors play into this decision, users must ultimately decide whether an oil-lubricated or oil-free air compressor is the appropriate solution for their specific need.
In the oil vs. oil-less air compressor debate, many companies are beginning to recognize the benefits of using oil-free compressor models over their standard oil-lubricated air compressor counterparts.
Oil-Free Air Compressor Advantages
Oil-free air compressors offer a number of advantages over oil-lubricated models. Without standard oil usage, oil-free compressors provide significant cost-savings on filter costs and used oil disposal. While the gearbox takes a long-term lubrication solution, oil-free compressors eliminate the need for oil changes or fills during maintenance cycles. Additionally, because the oil-free compressors do not require increased force, they reduce related energy costs.
Even with these differences, oil-free compressors don’t sacrifice efficiency and can typically unload within two seconds at about 18% full load horsepower.
How Oil-Free Air Compressors Work
Oil-less air compressors work a little differently than oil-lubricated compressors, as they don’t require a lubricant to cool air. Instead, they go through a six-step process to compress and cool the air, as follows:
Intake Oil-free air compressors draw in air from the outside via an unloader valve. The air then passes through one or more filters to filter out any particulates, such as dust or dirt.
Initial Compression Once the air is drawn in through the unloader valve, it passes into a chamber where oil-free elements compress the air while keeping it free from lubrication contamination.
Initial Cooling The air is cooled for the first time at this stage to avoid unnecessary heat damage to internal compressor components. In pumps operating with two stages, air may also be compressed at a much higher PSI. Intercoolers also come equipped with filters to remove any condensation that rises from the cooling process.
Second Compression Once cooled, the air returns to the main chamber, where it experiences a high-pressure compression process.
Second Cooling Once fully compressed, the air passes through an aftercooling stage. This stage further cools the air into a form in which it can be properly stored.
Automatic Detection Oil-free air compressors offer an automatic refill technology. Sensors monitor the level of air within the storage tank, and the compressor will turn on and begin the process of refilling the tank with pressurized air once the stored air reaches a pre-set level.
Oil-Free: The Right Choice for Dentists
Dental offices are a prime example of an application that has greatly benefited from the use of oil-free air compressors. While some dentists fear that an oil-free compressor will be too loud for use in an office, noise suppressors can be fitted to the filters to cut down on the noise generated by the compressor. Oil-free air compressors also tend to be lighter and smaller, so they are better suited for use in small spaces, such as a patient area.
Some oil-free compressors can generate the same pressure and airflow as their oil-lubricated counterparts, and it’s important for dentists to choose the correct model. However, oil-free compressors are chosen in many medical applications for one primary reason—they drastically reduce the risk of lubricants contaminating the air supply.
Contaminated air can be extremely harmful to patients, so the benefits of oil-free models in this type of work cannot be understated.
Common Applications for Oil-Free Air Compressors
Of course, dentists aren’t the only professionals seeing benefits from oil-less air compressors. These compressors have also been shown to benefit a wide range of other applications, in industries such as:
Automotive Workers in automotive applications will benefit from reduced exposure to oil-contaminated air. In addition, oil-free compressors have been proven to provide high-quality finished paint jobs, and the less frequent maintenance cycle of an oil-free compressor ensures that processes run smoothly.
Chemical In chemical manufacturing and processing, product purity is an utmost priority, so using a purer supply of air is ideal. Oil-free compressors are also safer, since there is less risk of lubrication contamination reacting badly with other chemicals. With no need for oil changes or fills, there’s also less waste involved.
Electronics Electronics manufacturing often requires extremely sanitary conditions to ensure that products are fabricated contaminant-free and of the highest quality. The uncontaminated compressed air from oil-free compressors contribute to the ultra-clean conditions required by these processes.
Food & Beverage Air contaminated even slightly by lubricants can affect the end quality and flavor of food and beverages. In food and beverage manufacturing, oil-free compressors contribute to a healthier, cleaner final product.
Oil & Gas Oil-free compressors only require monthly maintenance to check parts for wear and don’t need oil changes or top offs, which contributes to error-free control systems and processes. The cleaner air provided by oil-less air compressors also contributes to increased safety and better quality final product in these applications.
Pharmaceuticals One of the most sensitive manufacturing processes, pharmaceutical relies on high-quality cleanroom conditions to guarantee the health and safety of its patients. Oil-free compressors contribute to pure production, reduced contamination risk, decreased waste, and more efficient overall processes.
Textiles Efficiency is a key factor in textile production, so the reduced maintenance and repair costs associated with oil-free compressors have been a boon for this industry. Oil-free compressors also contribute to higher textile quality and reduced wastage.
In business since 1963, Compressed Air Systems offers a wide range of air compressors, vacuum systems, and blowers. We also run our own installation, service, and rental departments. Backed by 55 years of industry experience, our team can help you address any compressed air challenge you may face.
Posted by Compressed Air Systems on | Comments Off on Top Tips for Energy-Saving Air Compressor Maintenance
Globally, the air compressor market is quickly growing due to the versatility and cost-effectiveness of air compressor units. Between 2020 and 2028, the market is expected to grow at a rate (CAGR) of 3.4% annually. However, despite the wide adoption of air compressors, many businesses don’t prioritize air compressor maintenance, resulting in increased expenses due to costly repairs or replacements and the associated downtime. Air compressor maintenance offers you many benefits, such as time savings, safety enhancements, and reduced production costs due to less energy consumption. See our guide to inline clean air treatment here.
Top 5 Energy Saving Tips
Regardless of your specific industry or application, a well-maintained air compressor plays a vital part in reducing energy consumption. Here are five top tips you can implement to increase the energy savings from your air compressor:
Cost Saving Advice: Hoses, Fittings, and Waste
Check your fittings regularly, ensuring they create a tight seal. Loose fittings are a significant cause of leaks in air compressor units. If the fittings seem corroded or worn out, you should repair or replace them immediately. Consider inspecting hoses since they act as the system’s key connection points, and any damage to the hose could disrupt the entire system. Hoses usually get damaged during cold weather or bent, resulting in corrosion or cracks. Additionally, drain your unit’s receiver tank to avoid suboptimal operation due to a lack of storage capacity.
Apply Proper Controls to Multiple Compressor Units
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Proper controls maintain steady system pressure and ensure that only the required compressor units are brought online. This eliminates the inappropriate use of compressed air and ensures each unit is operating at peak efficiency. The controls are also helpful in turning off compressor units that are not needed or not being used.
Ensure Piping & Storage are Properly Sized
The problem with most systems is the lack of adequate storage and piping. When sizing piping, it should optimize the transfer of compressed air at the desired flow and pressure to the point of use. Having wider piping from two to three inches can minimize the pressure to around 50%. On the other hand, reducing the distance traveled by air can lower pressure by about 30%-40%. Having the wrong storage size can result in issues with production or increased costs due to wasted energy.
Change Your Air Filters Regularly
Air filters should be inspected monthly and replaced regularly. Drops in pressure as little as two psi can cost about 1% in compressor horsepower efficiency. Regular inspection and replacement maintain air quality and reduce the chance of pressure dropping. There are several point-of-use and air-line filters in a typical system, which should also be maintained regularly.
Reduce the Operating Pressure to the Lowest Possible Setting
A common rule for most compressors indicates that every 2-psi reduction in system operating pressure can result in 1% in compressor energy-saving efficiency. Continuously adjust the pressure setting to reach the lowest possible setting without compromising performance. Additionally, centralized systems using multiple compressors can be set to run using a central controller. Turning down the pressure on your compressor even 10 PSIG is a 5% savings in electrical costs.
Contact Compressed Air Systems for More Advice
Maintaining your air compressor is essential to ensure daily operations and equipment continue running without interruption. At Compressed Air Systems, we are proudly celebrating nearly 60 years of delivering superior equipment design and engineering, custom turnkey installations, compressed air leak detection and elimination, air compressor rentals and services, and more. We have partnered with Kaeser to create a long and productive business partnership as a proud supplier of Kaeser air compressors. Get in touch with us today for more information about our services.
Air compressors serve as essential components in a wide range of industrial and manufacturing applications. Regular compressed air maintenance is crucial for ensuring optimal performance and efficiency. Neglecting to perform regular air compressor services increases the risk of performance issues, which can result in extra expenditures as well as increased downtime. Air leakage, in particular, is one of the most costly compressed air system problems.
Intentional and Unintentional Leaks
No matter how big or small, air compressor leaks can be very bad for business. Below are some of the most common signs of unintentional air leakage.
Wear and tear is common in any type of air compressor. Over time, valves on your air compressor may loosen, allowing for air leakage. Checking the valves occasionally may help in preventing unintentional air seepage.
Air compressor systems rely on strong, sealed piping to release air with the right amount of pressure. Having holes in the piping or tubing of your unit can lead to multiple air compressor issues.
If the drain trap that funnels condensed water from your air compressor is faulty or open, air compressor leaks and water leakage can occur. These issues can also lead to more serious damage over time.
Air compressor leaks are sometimes intentional, brought about to assist in equipment cleaning, drying, employees cleaning off clothing, sweeping floors, etc. Although these leaks are created purposefully, they can still be taxing on your system, and many users end up misusing or wasting air.
Monitoring the frequency of intentional leaks will help in limiting the amount of wasted air. After all, your business is paying for every bit of air used.
Where the Costs Add Up
The biggest issue surrounding air compressor maintenance is the hidden cost of potential leaks. Most companies assume there is a higher cost associated with regular maintenance than reactionary repairs. However, an air compressor that isn’t regularly maintained will inevitably lead to higher costs over time.
In fact, a compressor air system that isn’t regularly serviced operates on a 20% leak rate on average, and some air compressors may lose up to 30% of their air. System leaks can also lead to higher energy bills. When your compressed air system maintenance falls to the wayside, production can be affected in a big way.
Make sure the company performing checks on your compressed air system does a comprehensive walk-through. They should be testing hoses, tubes, pressure regulators, and couple fittings to determine if there is leakage. They should also be utilizing sophisticated ultrasonic leak detectors.
An ultrasonic leak detector will pinpoint the location of the leak in your air compressor or lines. Having an ultrasonic leak detector on hand may also prove useful in between scheduled maintenance checks. A tool like the Jorc Locator can detect leaks up to 33 feet away, and also provides audible and visual indications of air leakages, making it easier to find the leak.
Stay Proactive With Compressed Air Systems
At Compressed Air Systems, Inc., we’re here to ensure that your air compressor is in tip-top shape. Our experts are at the forefront of compressed air solutions and are well-versed in all aspects of air compressor and system maintenance and upkeep.
If you suspect that air leakage is negatively affecting your compressor, you need to take immediate action to correct the issue. Leakage is a more significant problem than many people realize; the smallest unintentional leak can lead to poor performance and wasted energy within your system.