Industrial air compressors can come in a wide variety of different types and sizes. Ultimately, as with any tool, air tools and the compressors that drive them, have to save the user time and money on any given project. Most compressed air tools are more powerful and typically lighter than standard electric tools or battery powered cordless tools. They are used by virtually every industrial sector from aircraft to automobiles to dairy farming to textiles. While there are many types of industrial air compressors, they all perform the same function, which is to increase the pressure and reduce the volume of a given gas such as air. The most common type of compressors works by filling a chamber with air and then reducing the chamber’s volume. These are called positive displacement compressors. They are the most widely available compressors and include reciprocating, rotary screw and rotary vane compressors.
Of all the positive displacement compressors, reciprocating or piston compressors are the most commonly available on the market and can be found in ranges from fractional to very high horsepower. These compressors are sold worldwide by many mass marketers and a large variety of retail outlets. Rotary compressors and the centrifugal compressors are also commonly found but in more of an industrial/commercial environment. Normally they are operated at significantly higher horsepower and flow rates, which makes them more expensive buy and to operate.
Single Stage and Two Stage Reciprocating Pumps
Reciprocating compressors can be widely found in two primary configurations; Single Stage and Two Stage. Single stage air compressors work by drawing air in and subsequently compressing the air to its final pressure in a single piston stroke. Single stage air compressors can attain pressures of up to 150 PSI. Typically, a single stage pump will have a higher CFM rating than a two stage pump because every cylinder is drawing in air and compressing it with air during every rotation. Two stage air compressors work in a very similar manner with the primary difference being that they compress the air in 2 steps or stages. During the first step or stage, air is drawn in and compressed to an intermediate pressure. After being compressed in the first stage, the air is piped, usually through an intercooler where the air is allowed to cool, to be compressed in the final or second stage. Two stage compressors are normally good for pressures up to 200psi. Two stage pumps are more efficient at higher pressures because the air is cooled between the stages.