Air compressors come in so many varieties. For this reason, it can be challenging to understand the type that suits you. To know exactly what you need you’ll need basic information to help you distinguish them based on purpose. This post will explain each category of air compressors.
Overview of categories:
- Axial Compressor
- Reciprocating Air Compressor
- Rotary Screw Air Compressor
- Centrifugal Air Compressor
1. Axial Compressor
An axial compressor is one of the most common air compressor types and helps produce high volumes of air. These compressors use a large fan, similar to those on an airplane, surrounded by long cylinders with sliding compressor “stages” attached to them.
The walls of the cylinders have holes that allow pressurized air to flow into the compressor stages. The air passing through the compressor stages gets compressed as it moves towards the center of the fan.
The compression process increases the air temperature, and, as a result, the axial compressor must be cooled by an external water-cooling system.
2. Reciprocating Air Compressor
A reciprocating air compressor is a piston-type compressor that uses the reciprocating motion of the pistons to compress air. The compression process occurs in a series of chambers within the compressor, with each chamber containing one or more pistons.
The pistons have an up and down rhythmic movement, compressing the air in the chambers and force it out through an outlet valve. The compressed air gets cooled by the intercooler before delivery to the users.
3. Rotary Screw Air Compressor
A rotary screw air compressor is a positive-displacement compressor that uses two or more screws to force pressurized air through an outlet valve. The compression process takes place inside chambers between the shaft and grooves on the exterior of the screws.
The screws rotate, they draw in and compress outside air into these chambers. The compressed air undergoes cooling by the intercooler before getting delivered to the users.
4. Centrifugal Air Compressor
A centrifugal air compressor is a type of compressor that uses a rotating impeller to compress air. The compression process occurs in an enclosed chamber at the impeller’s tip.
As the impeller rotates, it draws in outside air and compresses it against the chamber’s walls. The compressed air gets cooled by the intercooler before being delivered to the users.
Now that you understand the different types of air compressors, you can choose the best one for your needs. Remember to consider the volume of air you need and the type of business you run before deciding.
For high volumes of air in a large industrial setting, an axial compressor is your best option. For small businesses or residential settings where lower volumes of air are ideal, a reciprocating air compressor is your best option. For medium to high volumes of air in large businesses, a rotary screw or centrifugal compressor is your best option.
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