An air compressor’s main function is to convert electric power into pressurised air. When air is compressed, it becomes stronger, making it useful for different workshop applications or to power tools.
In an air compressor, air is stored under pressure. This compression creates energy which can be utilised to power pneumatic tools. Air compressors work by absorbing and circulating air, filtering it, and then returning it to the outlet at the desired pressure.
Compared to using a centralised power source, air compressors are much smaller in size and don’t require a massive motor to run. They’re also highly portable, quieter and more durable. Nearly all air compressors are powered by an electric motor or gas engine.
Today, air compressors are used anywhere where products are assembled and serviced, such as workshops, factories, auto mechanics or petrol stations and at home. By understanding how an air compressor works, you can better determine the right air compressor for the job. Here’s what you need to know!
The basic components are:
Rotary screw air compressors are the most commonly used type of air compressor.
These machines have two interlocking helical rotors, male and female, which rotate in opposite directions to draw air in between them.
Air is then trapped between the rotors. As the screws turn, the pressure of the air increases as the space between the rotors decreases. The speed of this process can be adjusted according to the application in variable speed drive rotary compressors.
Rotary screw air compressors can also come with one screw. However, single-screw rotary types are rarely used for compressing air, as they’re seen more in refrigerant applications.
Best Uses: Designed for heavy-duty applications and can work at high speeds and large flow rates. If there’s a high demand for air in your workshop, rotary screw compressors can keep up without wasting energy or creating unnecessary noise.
Rotary screw compressors can either be oil-lubricated or oil-free.
Oil-lubricated compressors work by bathing the walls and bearings within the cylinder with oil. The oil also provides a hydraulic seal between the rotors to transfer mechanical energy.
In oil-free air compressors, male and female rotaries are controlled by timing gears to ensure they maintain alignment. These gears and their bearings need oil to work and are treated with lasting lubrication.
Whilst there is oil in an oil-free air compressor, the difference is that it’s separated from the compressed air side, making applications oil-free. The compression is done without oil, only air, enabling oil-free air compressors to be utilised in hospitals and within the food industry as there is no risk of oil contamination.
Piston air compressors are oil lubricated. They work by using the tool’s crankshaft to force air into the compression chamber. The crankshaft drives the piston closed before pushing the compressed air into the storage tank. As the piston opens again, more air is drawn into the tank.
Reciprocating piston air compressors contain the following parts:
There are two types of piston compressors, single-stage and dual. Single-stage uses a piston to compress the air in one stroke, a full rotation of the crankshaft. Dual-piston air compressors have two stages. The compressor uses one piston to compress air in a single stroke, before moving that compressed air to a smaller cylinder for a second stroke from a second piston, doubling the air pressure stored in the tank.
Express Compressors offer quality Australian air compressors and air dryer products that are specifically engineered for the Australian environment, so you know your compressed air equipment is built tough and will be guaranteed to perform under Australian conditions. If you would like more information about what air compressor would suit you, contact our team for expert advice.
Whether you are the owner of an Australian business or managing Australian operations for a multi-national company, you need to know that your electric compressed air equipment is built tough and optimised for Australian environmental conditions. You also need to be able to count on professional service teams across Australia at any time of the day. Express Compressors Australia has you covered.
Take a look at our amazing inventory – the very best air compressors, air dryers, and other air products – today.