Detailed Guide to Buying a New Air Compressor
We’ve already explained about the service and support that you get when you choose an ABAC system. You can be confident that our trusted distributors are on-hand to help you through this list of important questions.
- Will your air compressor be used in high running production?
- Do you have the right electrics for your system?
- Where should you install your compressor? Do noise-levels matter?
- Does air quality matter to air compressors?
- Can you site a system away from where the compressed air is used? Yes, with AIRnet
- Sizing Guide: How much Air am I using?
- Typical Compressed Air Tool Usage for Pneumatic Tools
1. Will your air compressor be used in high running production?
It might seem obvious but it’s easy to think that a cheaper system will “be ok” for the job. Our honest advice is that you should buy the best system you can afford for your situation. We aren’t trying to upsell. All our machines are designed to be “up to the job”, provided you choose the right one. If you pick a system that isn’t quite big enough, it will be working at its limits and that will increase the wear on components. If you aren’t quite sure what you need, we are always pleased to give you advice.
2. Do you have the right electrics for your system?
When you are choosing an air compressor you will need to make note of the power you have available. You are likely to have access to three-phase (400 V) power in your workplace if heavy loads of power are required. In some cases you might find you only have single-phase (230 V) power. This will make a difference to the compressor you choose. Single phase power supply will only run a motor of up to 3hp (2.2KW), depending on the motor fitted some will run on a 13 amp plug, and some will need to be hard wired.
For ABAC pistons our A29B pumps will run on a 13 amp plug, but the A39B pumps will need to be hardwired. Three phase power supply will allow you to run a much larger output air compressor, subject to the amperage available (you should consult an electrical engineer). A lot of air compressors also need to be installed with a ‘D’ type breaker, motor rated.
A good rule of thumb to decide if your compressor will need a ‘D’ type breaker is if it is runs on three phase power or isn’t on a 13 amp plug. You should always consult a registered electrician for all installation work as this is such an important part of making sure your air compressor system runs safely.
3. Where should you install your compressor? Do noise-levels matter?
When you are choosing an air compressor, you need to think about size and where you site it. There are a number of things to consider, particularly noise and air quality.
Piston compressors are not silenced, and may be too noisy for your workplace. Also, the larger the output of the compressor, the noisier it will be. Because of this you may want to site it outside in a suitable enclosure. You will need to choose an enclosure that protects it from the weather and is well ventilated for effective cooling. It is very important that there is also enough space around the machine for routine checks and servicing.
If you need to site the machine inside, and the noise level need to be low, we have a selection of silenced piston compressors in our range. Our experienced team is on hand if you need any more information. Just use the Web Chat or give us a call.
If you need an alternative to a piston compressor, we suggest a rotary screw compressor. Lots of businesses prefer these because they are quieter thanks to using a different technology and having an enclosed cabinet. They also offer continuous pulse-free air, which is of a higher quality. Rotary screw compressors create a smoother system by using rotors which make the air pulse-free. Rotary screw compressors are particularly popular in medium to large vehicle workshops. They are very well suited to any situation with spray painting when you need higher volumes of compressed air. That’s why they are the first choice for people who are repainting large areas and multiple body panels. Contact us for information.
4. Does air quality matter to air compressors?
The short answer is “yes”! Compressors suck in the surrounding air. We all know that water and oil need to be clean to keep our equipment running smoothly. The same is true for the air your compressor uses. Dust and dirt will cause problems. Poor quality compressed air can harm your equipment and can also impact on your finish. Better quality compressed air will help reduce breakdowns and maintenance. You need to make sure that you use the correct equipment e.g. air dryers, oil filters and water traps, to get the right degree of quality air for your compressor system.
When you put systems in place to improve the air quality, it can create an extra cost in running and maintaining the equipment. You might also notice the pressure drop (increase energy consumption) of using the equipment. On the other hand, you will cut the risk of damage to your compressor and you will cut the cost of rework. That has to be better for your business!
5. Can you site a system away from where the compressed air is used? Yes, with AIRnet
In an ideal world your compressor would be located where you want to use compressed air. Sometimes this isn’t possible because of the space you have available onsite. In these situations you will need to install a ring main to efficiently distribute your compressed air around your site.
AIRnet is an efficient, aluminium compressed air piping system that delivers air exactly where you need it, from your compressor to point of use.
- FAST – AIRnet saves you 70% on installation time vs. traditional piping systems.
- EASY – 3 simple steps: CUT to length and deburr, INSERT in the fitting on the marked depth, SECURE and tighten correctly.
- RELIABLE – All AIRnet products come with a 10-year warranty on all fittings and pipes, against any damages resulting from material defect.
6. Sizing Guide: How much Air am I using?
You will need to choose the right sized air compressor system for your equipment. If you aren’t sure what you need, you can use our online chat or contact us and we can put you in touch with your local distributor. We are always happy to help.
7. Typical Compressed Air Tool Usage for Pneumatic Tools
The amount of air you use will depend on the tools you are running with that air. It sounds obvious but it’s easy to overlook this point. We have created detailed charts for Automotive air tools, click the link to take a look.
The other thing to consider is how heavily your tools will be used. For example, some tools like drills, medical suction lines, impact tools, and ratchet wrenches that only get used intermittently. Generally, only air grinders and sanders require higher amounts of compressed air, and you will probably need a three-phase (400 volt industrial electrics) machine to run these.
Also, when you are assessing the size of an air compressor to operate air tools and equipment it’s important to use the actual compressor output figure, known as FAD (free air delivered). It sounds a bit technical but it is important to check this. It will give you the right sized system for the job. You should ignore the air displacement figure. Our Chat Team can help you with this if you aren’t sure what you need.
Once you’ve chosen your system, remember to take a look at our 10-step guide on How to Install an Air Compressor.