The existence of air compressors goes back to the beginning of the life on the earth. The best example of an ancient air compressor is our own lung system. Human lungs are the oldest and most powerful air compressors or say compressed air tool that we have ever had. For thousands of years, lungs have been used to compress air and blow it to stoke the fire, and for many other purposes. This phenomenon, to a great extent, got replaced by ‘Bellows’ that the human beings invented as they evolved.
The bellows are tools with hand-held flexible bags fixed in-between wooden hands. They have been used to produce a concentrated blast of air, ideal for enhancing the intensity of the fire. The invention of Bellows was one of the most important ones in the human history, and it paved the way for many more inventions of the recent past. Even after years, these bellows did not vanish from the world and still can be seen at European countrysides. However, this device was largely replaced by a water-wheel-driven blowing cylinder designed by professional engineer John Smeaton, in 1762.
Since this point of time, the updates and modifications on the compressed air tools have made them much more efficient than the earlier ones. This continuous advancement led us to the present time when we have numerous options of equipment to choose from.
The market is full of diverse types of compressed air systems with various attractive features. These features include reciprocating, oil-less pumps, multiple coupling options, thermal protection and so on. So, if you are looking for a compressed air system to cater to your specific requirements, we would suggest that you know all the basic features of an air compressor.
Top Features of Air Compressors in a Compressed Air System
Every air compressor manufacturer has something unique to offer to the users. While such unique features may be quite attractive to a potential buyer, it is the basic features that buyers need to be assured of first. The majority of the buyers weigh the product on the basis of four most important and basic features: power, CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute), size, portability.
It is essential that you, as a future user, should thoroughly analyze the system requirements against your business plan. This would help you decide the right amount of power you require in the air compressor according to its planned usage. For instance, a high power air compressor should be chosen to operate/work with heavy-duty machinery. Such air compressors sustain high volume and pressure capacity.
On the other hand, if it is an air knife or spray gun, you should always go for low power portable air compressors.
High horsepower (HP) is most important factor for industrial purposes. For instance, while a typical manufacturing unit requires an air compressor with power up to 200 HP, power in the range of 1.5 to 6.5 HP should work well for any portable system.
Cubic Feet per Minute (CFM)
If you have ever researched for a compressed air tool, you would be familiar with the term CFM. CFM is the most common rating factor of these equipment’s power and capacity. It is specifically used for measuring the volume of air that the compressor is capable of delivering into the compressed air tool.
In order to choose the right air tool for the requirement, it is recommended that the buyer checks the standard CFM label before making the purchase decision.
The possible usage of the compressed air tool should be considered while choosing the size of the air compressor. Though it is a given that heavy applications would require larger sized tanks, it is essential to ascertain what size of tank would be required given the planned usage in future.
It is possible that your business might work with more than one type of compressed air tools. In such case, a portable air compressor would be an attractive deal. There are many portable air compressors available in the market with different sizes and power, giving you a wide range of choices. Most of these are also designed with wheels and long hoses to increase your ease of use.
A pressure switch is typically used to detect the excess air pressure in the compressor tank. Whenever the air pressure reaches the pre-assigned limit, the switch automatically turns the motor off. These pressure switches are the most important element for safety at any workplace. These switches also spare the operators of constantly checking and turning the motor off manually.
Air compressors with oil-less pumps are becoming more popular day-by-day. This feature reduces the overall maintenance cost of the system and brings in efficiency in the business processes. Usually, it takes a day or half for the regular maintenance of compressed air tools. Oil-free pumps spare you from shutting down your work regularly by decreasing the requirement frequent maintenance.
These oil-less pumps also prevent the equipment from any accidental mixing of oil into the compressed air, hence become a safe and clean solution for any rotary screw air compressor at the workplace.
However, the short lifespan of the oil-less pumps could be a disappointing factor.
Thermal Overload Protection
This is another safety essential for compressed air systems. The tool is designed to reduce the power supply to the motor whenever overheating is detected in the unit. Overheating can damage the air compression system and sometimes can end up in life threatening accidents, such as blasts. This might not be a basic feature of a compressed air system but should be considered as a priority for safety purposes.
After your workers’ and workplace safety, comes the safety of the equipment. You need to be assured that the tools stay safe and last longer. In that quest, the drainage valve could be one of the aids that you need. These valves are primarily designed to remove all condensate from the compressor without losing much excessive compressed air. Condensate is atmospheric moisture that can wash away the lubrication of the equipment resulting in a downtime and unplanned maintenance.
Drainage valves protect the system from rust or corrosion especially when the tool is made of cast iron.
These small and replaceable parts of the system prevent the equipment from internal damage caused by tiny particles floating in the atmosphere. Small particles that contain high moisture content can cause a significant damage to the entire system. The air filters are positioned at the intake valves of the compressors and prevent these harmful particles from entering the tank.
These are the highly recommended features that you should consider while browsing for a compressed air tool for your business. However, there could be more features added to this list in accordance with your business requirements. If you need more help, check out our comprehensive online directory here that offers you all the leading brands and top rated compressed air tools that you can browse and opt from.