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How Do Air Compressors Work?
Air compressors are an invaluable tool for both industrial work and DIY at home, and there are several different types to choose from depending on the job you need doing. Air compressors have a number of uses, such as to fill gas cylinders for industrial purposes and scuba diving, to create the power needed to run pneumatic tools and spray guns, for pumping up automotive tyres, and within heating and air conditioning systems.
As we’ve touched on here, there are myriad uses for air compressors both in commercial and domestic environments. Within the category of air guns, there are several types, each of which is suitable for a different job. We’ve compiled a guide to all the major types of air compressor, how they work and how they differentiate from one another.
Whether you’re an engineering manager or in charge of facilities for your company, being informed about how oil free air compressor function and what they’re used for is handy and can help you make the proper decisions for your business and industry.
Get all the information you need to know about air compressors, complete with the infographic below, with our comprehensive guide. We’ll address the benefits of using premium air compressors in your industry, as well as the questions of ‘what are compressors?’ and ‘how does a compressor work?’, covering all the essentials in one convenient place.
Since their invention in the 19th Century, mechanical, automated air compressors have continued to be one of the most widely used tools in industrial settings. Air compressors provide a continuous stream of power that is safer and cooler than many other forms of energy. For many industries, such as metal work and mining environments, air compressors are an absolutely essential tool. After the basic utilities of water, gas and electric, compressed air is actually considered to be the fourth utility.
Air compressors are also an affordable choice of tool for many manufacturing jobs, as they are durable, and high quality types require minimal maintenance and repairs.
Between the two main categories of compressor – the scroll (piston) compressor and the rotary screw (reciprocating) compressor, you have a tool for every type of industrial and commercial setting, as well as various domestic uses.
Single Phase vs. Dual Phase Compressors
The most common types of air compressors are single and dual phase, both of which operate in the same fundamental way, only dual phase has one more step involved in the compression process. In a single phase compressor, there is one chamber and the air is compressed a single time; in a dual phase, there are two chambers and the air is put through compression twice.
Be careful not to confuse single and dual phase compressors with the number of cylinders a compressor has. Both types of compressor use two cylinders; one-cylinder compressors are less common, because air balancing is made easier with two cylinders. The difference between single and dual stage compressors is that in the former the cylinders are both the same size; in the latter they are different sizes.
How Do Single and Dual Phase Compressors Operate?
Single phase compressors, also referred to as piston silent oil free air compressor, works in a relatively simple and straightforward way. First, air is drawn into the cylinder; from here, it is compressed once by a single piston movement within a vacuum system.
The power of this compression is measured in PSI (pounds per square inch) or Bar – the higher the PSI/Bar, the more power the compressor has. In a single stage air compressor, the air is typically compressed at a rate of around 120 PSI (8.2 Bar). After the air has been compressed, it is sent into the storage tank from where it is dispelled into various tools as a source of energy.
Dual phase compressors operate the same way, except there are two stages of compression, rather than just one. After the first round of compression, the air is sent into a second chamber, where it is compressed for the second time, at a rate of around 175 PSI (12.1 Bar). After this, the air is sent to a storage tank in which it is cooled down and ready for application.
Both types of compressor are typically powered by either an electric or petrol motor, which drives the piston and causes the compression to happen.
Single Phase and Dual Phase Applications
Both function in fundamentally the same way and can be used for similar tasks, such as operating a pneumatic drill or other high-powered tools such as those found in a manufacturing plant.
Single phase compressors tend to be used within domestic settings for smaller workshop jobs done with handheld tools, such as woodwork, metal work and general DIY.
Dual phase compressors, on the other hand, are better for larger scale work in operations such as operations needed in vehicle repair shops, pressing factories and other plants where parts are manufactured.