The purpose of this page is to try and help people understand the basics of
air compressors and compressed air systems. As you go through this site, you will
see we are a small, very focused company who are happy to deal with the small companies and
people who have only a limited idea of their compressed air needs.
Air compressors are one of the most misunderstood subjects and as they are a vital part of many company’s equipment. It does not matter whether you are a one-man band in a garden shed or a large PLC - if you get it wrong it may be a very expensive life lesson. If you have an essential and valuable piece of CNC equipment it may be damaged if it is run with hot, wet, oily compressed air. Noise is also a factor, not many people want a noisy air compressor banging away in the corner, today's working environment needs better than that. You also need to keep your compressed air system up to standard as a breakdown can be expensive in terms of time and lost production.
Case Study: The compressed air system requirements for a typical small business.
A small company with three employees on the shop floor, needing a compressed air system for two or more CNC lathes and other applications, or perhaps a small garage with a body shop. They will need compressed air, 40cfm and a pressure of 10bar. A new cheap piston air compressor from a high street tool store will cost about £1.5K. It will make crude, hot, oily, wet air, very noisily, and possibly not for long. Worse still it could be a three year old version of the above from everyone's favourite auction site for £500. Most CNC equipment suppliers will say that a poor quality air system will reduce the life of their equipment turning what seemed a good deal into a very expensive mistake.
An ideal Compressed air system is something quiet and producing dry, clean, quality air. To get this quality air it will need more than a basic air compressor. The air needs to be treated to get it to a useable condition, it will need drying, filtering and then storing in a suitable receiver. It then will need to be controlled and taken to the point of use. A complete air system.
Types of Air Compressors available
Piston air compressors in general terms are classed as better than nothing. That is unless you have a quality piston compressor, but not many people buy these. As an example a new "cheapy" from a tool store might be £500, a quality unit of the same size would be over £1500. New or used cheap piston air compressors, in my opinion, are best in the bottom of a skip. A quality piston compressor is a better investment. Call us for prices on our Air-Zone range, the best you can buy and with up to a 3 year warranty.
The two most popular types of industrial air compressors are Vane and Screw Compressors.
Vane Compressors. Probably the best know is Hydrovane but there are several other makes available, some of which are not so good. Air quality is usually good, however you will need an air tank and you may need a dryer.
Compressorman stocks a good range of rebuilt Hydrovanes and are probably has the biggest stock of parts, for older machines, on the planet. Used Hydrovanes, from other suppliers, are in the main reasonably reliable but if they have been abused then you can expect trouble. Be very careful if buying a used machine especially if it has no warranty or service history with it. We sell rebuilt units with up to 3yrs warranty - no one else will offer you that.
Screw Compressors These can be really nice units and are very popular. But be warned - if they are old and tired they can be a nightmare, very expensive to put right and extremely unreliable. If buying a used machine and it looks a little tired - walk away. It is not all bad news however providing that the compressor is in good order, with a service history and you can see it running, then you stand a chance of success. If it is a tired old beast, bought from somewhere like ebay and it can't be seen running because it is stored on a farm with no power - or such story, then you have very little chance of getting the machine that will be suitable for your needs.
Another Option Buying a new machine. This may be a better option so long as you make the right choice of compressor. It is better to have a compressor that can cope easily with its current load as this gives the option of expanding output without having to upgrade the compressor. More advice on the right machine for your needs can be found on…… We sell some very nice new air compressors and that's the best solution without a doubt.
Air tanks, dryers, filter etc.
Once the air has been produced it will need to be stored in a good receiver with a current air certificate. If you need dry air, a refridgerent dryer and good quality filters will be needed. If for use in the making or packaging of food products this is especially important as the air quality must meet food standards requirements. Compressorman stocks a range of dryers to create air suitable for all industrial uses.
Gone are the days of air lines trailing all over the floor, it is dangerous and does not meet HSE guidelines. You may need a steel pipe system fitting which we can design and fit. We also fit in plastic for some applications.
Health and Safety, COSHH and Certificates
It is illegal to use an unsafe air compressor system and by law you are responsible for ensuring that you have the correct installation and certificates. If you already have an air compressor with an air tank you will need a current air certificate. You also need a Written Scheme Examination “WSE” for any fixed air pipes in your factory. Phone 07904 - 471183 for help and advice. Don't leave it as you are probably running illegally.
See page for further help and advice.
Probably 75% of all systems in use today do not comply with the latest regulations and factory inspectors are busy enforcing these regulations and bringing the worst cases to court. Fines are considerable and they have the power to put a prohibition order on your system. With proper advice you will be ok, but without, or on your own, you could soon get into serious trouble.
We offer a full fitting and certification service with all our installations and can advise as required.
So as you can see there is a little more to this than meets the eye, but there are a few people around like myself who can help and advise you. If you need any help or advice we can offer from basic advice to a complete installation anywhere UK.