About Piston Air Compressors
Types of Piston (Reciprocating) Air Compressors
- Air is compressed once and forced into the tank.
- May have one or more cylinders.
- Mainly for hobby use.
- Air is compressed in the first stage in a larger diameter cylinder. It is then cooled in the intercooler and finally is compressed again in the second stage in a smaller diameter cylinder.
- Best for commercial use or serious hobbyists.
- An air compressor with one pump and motor mounted on a tank.
- Simplex units are ideal for operations where continuous run-time isn't required.
- They are also quieter and have a smaller form factor than duplex units.
- An air compressor with two pumps and two motors mounted on one tank.
- Duplex units are ideal for operations that may require short durations at higher CFM or more frequent run-time.
- They are flexible, efficient, and can still be run with just one pump and motor if the other needs to be repaired.
- A control panel alternates between units A and B.
- Has a built-in backup.
- Look at current compressor and identify size, how often it runs, and if expansion is possible
- Keep in mind there are two types of air usage:
- Inconsistent air usage: air tools that start and stop (impact wrench, DA sander, paint spray gun, sand blasting cabinet, etc.)
- Consistent air usage: requires a consistent and steady air flow (paint agitator, factory equipment, regenerative dryers, air leaks, etc.)
- Relatively low initial cost
- Simple and low cost maintenance
- Good for applications with inconsistent air needs
- Duty cycle: The pump should run 60% of the time
- Pump RPM: slow running pumps are quieter, cooler, more efficient, and last longer
- Intercooler: reduces temperature of compressed air between stages, making the second stage of compression more efficient