Many industries rely on high-pressure compressed air solutions to complete certain tasks. While standard high pressure is considered anything over 150 pounds per square inch (PSI), many high-pressure air compressors used in industrial applications range from 2,000 PSI to 6,000 PSI. When buying a high-pressure air compressor, consider the cost, space requirements, and end application. Below we take a closer look at high-pressure air compressors and some common applications, so you can decide on the best compressor for your needs.
What Is a High-Pressure Air Compressor?
A high-pressure air compressor intakes outside air and compresses it to the high pressures required for varying applications, including SCUBA diving, firefighting, pneumatics, and other uses. The air entering the compressor is cooled as it moves through each compression stage to reach optimal high pressures, up to 6,000 PSI. Boosters can supplement the air compression as needed.
High-pressure air compressor systems feature a compressor, fill stations, and tanks. During periods of peak demand, some systems can store and supply compressed air from a cylinder bank, temporarily increasing the compressor’s capacity.
How Does an Air Compressor Work?
An industrial air compressor uses multi-stage intercoolers, a piston, a pump cylinder, and a crankshaft to transfer energy for various pneumatic and power tool applications. These power tools and equipment include:
- Spray guns
- Impact wrenches
- Nail guns
The two main high-pressure air compressor types are standard high-pressure air compressors and high-pressure air boosters. The two systems work differently to achieve high pressures. High-pressure air compressors take in ambient air through several compression stages to reach pressures as high as 6,000 PSI. Many will feature automatic filling and remote monitoring controls that integrate with facility-wide monitoring systems, helping identify and resolve any issues quickly.
On the other hand, high-pressure boosters use pre-compressed standard air pressures of at least 125 PSI to discharge air pressures of 450 to 640 PSI. Boosters are often used as an add-on for specific areas of the plant that require high pressure. Since many industrial plants can handle pressures between 90-100 PSI, high-pressure booster compressors are a cost-effective alternative to equipping the entire plant with high-pressure air compressors. For example, PET plastic blow molding processes require very high pressures that boosters can help existing air compression systems achieve.
High-Pressure Air Compressor Applications
Air compressors play an important role in the automation, comfort, and efficiency of everyday life. Air compressors are more lightweight, compact, and portable than centralized power sources and often last longer and require less maintenance than traditional machinery. One of the most widely known uses for high-pressure air compressors is providing breathing air to meet breathing gas purity standards. Here are the common applications of high-pressure air compressors:
- Breathing air: SCUBA diving tanks usually have compressed air up to 3,000 PSI. SCUBA air packs in fire, hazmat, and industrial applications typically have PSI ratings from 2,216 to 5,500. They are smaller and lighter, making them easier to transport in challenging situations.
- Industrial high-pressure devices: High-pressure air compressors are used extensively in industrial devices, such as for valve testing, blow molding, leak testing of hydraulic and pneumatic systems, proof and leak testing of refrigeration heat exchangers, and air blast circuit breakers. High-pressure air compressors are often a lower-cost replacement for high-pressure nitrogen.
- Paintball sports: Paintball equipment utilizes high-pressure compressed air but with much fewer requirements than that of SCUBA diving.
- Oil & gas: Handling chemicals and petrochemicals must be done in a safe and clean working environment. Pure high-pressure compressed air and breathing air are necessary to guarantee worker safety and productivity.
- Aerospace: The aerospace industry uses high-pressure air compressors for multiple tasks, including fuel injection, metal polishing, and quality control during aircraft component manufacturing.
High-Pressure Air Compressors From Compressed Air Systems
If you require an air compressor capable of high pressures, partnering with a knowledgeable provider is crucial to help with the selection process. At Compressed Air Systems, we provide industry-leading high-pressure air compressors for a variety of industrial applications, and our expert team is here to help answer your questions. Contact us to learn more about our high-pressure solutions, or view our catalog to find the best compressor for your application.