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Types: Air Compressors

Air compressors are used extensively throughout industrial manufacturing facilities for machinery, power tools, controls etc. A compressed air installation may consist of one large or multiple smaller compressors of sufficient size to meet the overall air requirement.

In a typical direct-drive rotary screw air compressor, ambient air enters through a filter on what is called the air end of the compressor. The compressor is driven by a prime mover and is filled with oil for smooth operation. The air and oil mixture flows into and is compressed by a rotary screw assembly.

After compression, the air and oil mixture flows through a separator tank to separate the oil from the air. The oil, which collects at the bottom of the separator tank, flows through an oil cooler and back to the air end after being filtered. The compressed air leaves the separator tank and is reduced in temperature by an after-cooler. Finally, water in the air is removed by a moisture separator before the air enters the industrial plant air system.

The primary difference between an electric and gas air compressor is the prime mover. The natural gas engine is a variable speed driver that is ideally suited to power a rotary screw air compressor since it takes advantage of its positive displacement characteristics.

The natural gas engine-driven air compressor conceptually consists of an engine, a compressor (air end), and a control system integrated together for performance, reliability, and serviceability. Although retrofits are possible, engine-driven air compressors should be viewed as a product offered by a manufacturer, not a collection of pieces which can be assembled in the back shop.

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