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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Understanding Compressed Air Systems

In this day and age, it's difficult to find a manufacturing or construction business that does not use industrial compressors regularly in their daily routine. The key advantage of air compressors is that they can take the potential energy that builds up when a gas such as atmospheric air is placed under pressure and quickly convert it to kinetic energy. That energy can be used to drive small power tools such as impact wrenches or nail guns. Larger compressors are used in manufacturing when a large amount of torque needs to be applied. Most importantly, compressors are quite reliable and don't require extensive maintenance.

Basic Components of Compressors
compressors are similar to small internal combustion engines since they consist of a piston, a cylinder, and a connecting rod that is attached to a crankshaft. The crankshaft is driven externally, either by an electric or gas motor to rotate the shaft and move the piston up or down. The top of the piston cylinder has a valve head with two ports to control air flow into and out of the internal chamber. Each port contains a valve flap that can be open or closed. Usually, a holding tank is attached to the compressor to maintain air pressure within the tank to a pre-set level.

Generating Air Pressure
An inlet in one port allows outside air under atmospheric pressure to enter. When the piston moves down, a vacuum is created in the cylinder which opens a valve flap and allows air to enter the piston cylinder. When the piston cycles up, it compresses the air in the cylinder. This closes the inlet flap, while at the same time opening the discharge flap. When the discharge flap is opened, it propels air into the external air tank. With each piston cycle more air enters the tank, building up pressure within it. The air tank is fitted with a gauge apparatus that turns the motor on or off to maintain a safe pressure.

Primary Applications and Uses
Many manufacturing plants use air compressors in automation and packaging equipment as well as conveyor lines and pneumatic presses. Most mechanical robots on assembly lines use compressors to place parts and weld them together. Some manufacturers use compressed gases for processing operations such as oxidation, filtration, aeration, or refrigeration. The food and beverage industry uses compressors for bottling and vacuum packaging of food items. The construction industry uses air compressors to drive tools such as jack hammers and pneumatic drills. Regardless of their specific application, all industrial compressors maximise power efficiency and reduce costs.

Mithul Mistry is writing on behalf of Excel Compressors, specialists in Bambi Air Compressors and Used Air Compressors.
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