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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:

  1. 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. 
  1. 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. 
  1. 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.
  1. Second Compression
    Once cooled, the air returns to the main chamber, where it experiences a high-pressure compression process.
  1. 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.
  1. 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. 

 

Learn More

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.

To learn more, check out our Benefits of Proper Air Maintenance Compressor Guide to see how you can improve the compressed air efficiency in your operation.

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

Energy SavingRegardless 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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Top Tips for Energy Saving Air Compressor Maintenance

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.

Compressed Air Applications

Air compressor systems are popular installations that can handle a wide variety of packaging, pumping, and material handling tasks. Compressed air is a reliable medium for transferring power to control equipment throughout manufacturing and non-manufacturing processes. Learn more about the applications of compressed air systems and how Compressed Air Systems, Inc. can help you build, rebuild, or optimize your system.

Compressed Air Systems

Compressed air systems give facilities access to pressurized air. These systems include a motor-powered mechanical device that compresses input air to a set pressure level for use in a variety of applications. In industrial compressed air systems, the compressed air passes out of the motorized unit into pipes throughout the plant. Depending on the applications and unique needs of the facility, the air system may also include a drying component that removes humidity from the air before it’s distributed.

Compressed Air Applications

Compressed air is used extensively throughout commercial and industrial processes. However, it is also vital in applications beyond manufacturing. Common industries that rely on compressed air include:

  • Agriculture. Compressed air is used for pneumatic tools, vacuum packing equipment, and conveying equipment, as well as general farming equipment.
  • Construction. Compressed air provides power for pneumatic tools and equipment on active construction sites.
  • Food and beverage. This industry uses compressed air for bottling and packing processes that preserve goods, conveying and product handling processes, and fluid pump systems.
  • Mining. The mining industry relies on compressed air to power drilling tools and provide processing power for filtering and separating applications. 
  • Recreation. Amusement park rides and ski lifts use air-powered brakes, and hotels and other large-scale facilities use compressed air to control elevators. Other recreation-related applications include cleaning sensitive equipment, efficient sewage disposal, sprinklers for landscaping, and more. 
  • Service industries. The service industry includes a wide range of services such as dry cleaners, hospitals, and more. These facilities use compressed air for climate control and laundry machines. Hospitals also use air compressing systems to control respiration systems for patients.

Key applications for compressed air include:

  • Air knives
  • Bottle filling
  • Fluid pumps
  • Food filling machines
  • Nitrogen generation
  • Packaging
  • PET bottle blowing
  • Product handling
  • And more

Working With Compressed Air Systems

No matter what processes you use compressed air for, it’s important to invest in a system you can rely on. At Compressed Air Systems (CAS), we’re the leading provider of reliable compressed air systems. We specialize in creating custom solutions for facilities across multiple different industries. Our services include:

  • Compressed air audits and leak detection
  • Compressed air leak elimination
  • Equipment and system rentals
  • Rotary screw rebuilds for motorized compression units
  • Turnkey design, development, and builds for compressed air systems

We serve clients throughout the following industries:

  • Manufacturing and Industrial
  • Medical
  • Aerospace
  • Electronics
  • Fleet Maintenance
  • Plastics
  • Food and Beverage Processing

For specialized air compression systems that interact with consumable goods such as pharmaceuticals, beverages, and food, we build our systems to comply with the FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

To learn more about the applications of compressed air, or for more information about our capabilities, contact us today.

The Importance of Having a Backup Compressed Air System

For companies that rely on compressed air to do business, it’s essential to have a backup compressed air system in place. If your primary system goes down, you’reCompressed air system in a facilitiy. looking at downtime, reduced production, and potentially irritated clients who will take their business elsewhere. The recent supply chain shortages can cause additional delays as you wait for a new compressor or spare part. By simply having your backup compressor ready to go, you can eliminate that downtime and keep your customers happy while you wait for your primary system to get fixed or replaced.

The Importance of Backup Compressed Air Systems

There are several reasons why you’ll be grateful for your backup compressed air system. It’s not only for emergencies—you can also use it to help with fast turnaround expectations, load sharing, and more:

  • Reduced Downtime: Instead of waiting for your primary system to be repaired or replaced—something that could take weeks or months if you’re waiting for a part—you can minimize the financial impact of downtime by having your backup system ready to go.
  • Saved Costs: When you invest in a backup system, you save money in the long run because you won’t lose production if your primary system goes down. You won’t have to pay employees overtime to meet deadlines. 
  • No Project Delay: You can switch to your backup compressor almost instantly, allowing for smooth continuation of the project you’re working on. You can run your backup compressor while you wait for any necessary replacement parts to come in.
  • Seamless Scheduled Maintenance: Instead of facing downtime during routine or emergency maintenance, you can plan to run your backup compressor during that time. That reduces the pressure on the maintenance technician to work too quickly, and it allows you to schedule maintenance when it’s convenient for you and the maintenance team. 
  • Load Sharing: Instead of letting your backup compressor sit unused and wondering if it will work correctly when you need it, keep it in action. Spread the workload over both machines with a timer to ensure even load sharing, and schedule maintenance for each while the other is in operation. 
  • Increased ROI and Production: No downtime means no wasted time. Production stays on schedule so you can meet deadlines and keep clients happy. Your backup compressed air system pays for itself over the years with increased production. 
  • Operate Multiple Pieces of Equipment: On a tight deadline, a large projection, or in anticipation of orders to come, you can speed up production by using both systems at once to operate multiple pieces of equipment. 

Compressed Air Systems: Your Partner for Air Compressor Systems

Since 1963, Compressed Air Systems has specialized in air compressed air, blower, and vacuum systems for clients in a range of industries, including food and beverage, medical, industrial, aerospace, CNC machining, plastics processing, woodworking, electronics, and more. With a 30,000-square-foot facility in Tampa, Florida, we sell, service, and rent pneumatic tools and equipment, and we offer compressed air audits, leak detection, and more. 

If you need a backup compressed air system, we can help. Our customer care team is friendly and responsive, and we’re prepared to answer any questions you might have. Contact us to learn more about the benefits of having a backup system or to request a quote.

Dental Air Compressors: Choosing the Right One

Every day, dental practices rely on air compressors to provide safe and comfortable services to their patients. However, new air compressors can be a serious investment for most practices, making it essential to select the right one for your office.

Three main factors go into choosing the right air compressor for your dental practice:

  • Power: Most dental offices require compressors to operate between one and five horsepower to efficiently run their equipment
  • Pressure: Each dental tool necessitates a specific amount of pressure to run properly, and air compressors must provide enough pressure to safely operate all your tools simultaneously
  • Production: Make sure your compressor choice exceeds your practice’s required cubic feet per minute (CFM) or liters per minute (LPM) ratings to ensure it can easily handle your dental equipment and accommodate new additions as necessary.

What to Consider When Choosing a Dental Air Compressor

The above considerations govern selecting the compressor with the right physical attributes for your practice’s needs. Some of the most important decisions that factor into optimizing your air compressor’s power, pressure, and production levels include those concerning:

Size 

You should consider both the size of your practice as well as the desired size of the air compressor in relation to it. Most dental air compressors measure output in one of two ways:

  • Cubic feet per minute (CFM)
  • Liters per minute (LPM)

Dental chairs typically require 50 LPM or 2 CFM of air per chair. Additionally, you should account for the number of personnel who regularly use your equipment, as too much simultaneous use could strain a system that’s not prepared for it.

Use of Oil

Most dental environments benefit from using oil-free compressors. Oil-based compressors risk contaminating surrounding fluids, which could imperil patient health. Oil-free air compressors also require less maintenance and upkeep because they work with less volatile substances.

Power

Most compressors rate power output either in kilowatts (kW) or horsepower (HP). 1 kW equals 1.34 HP.

This power range governs a compressor’s ability to pump air. Dental air compressors come in a range of power ratings, but for most dental offices, compressors with 1–5 HP (~0.75–3.7 kW) get the job done.

Motors 

All dental air compressors run on motors. The motor runs the compressor, and the compressor has one or two pistons depending on the model.

Pressure

All dental tools have specific pressure requirements. Many measure their pressure requirements in bars, which equal ~14.5 psi each. Most dental applications use pressures of 5 bars, but to avoid straining your equipment, it’s usually a good idea to generate slightly more pressure than each tool requires.

Dental Air Compressors from Compressed Air Systems

Compressed Air Systems offers a full suite of air compressors designed for dental applications. Our products include:

  • Scroll dental air compressors
  • Reciprocating dental air compressors
  • Oil-free compressors
  • Quiet and noise-free models that result in greater patient comfort
  • Custom-sized air compressors
  • Custom horsepower options

Essential Tools for Dentists Everywhere

At Compressed Air Systems, we know that at the center of each well-functioning dental practice is a good air compressor. Air compressors make patient care safe, comfortable, and efficient.

If you would like to learn more about our range of dental air compressors or other compressed air systems, contact us today.