Types of used air compressors in India
This article details the different kinds of air compressors – Reciprocating, Rotary screw and Centrifugal and compares their benefits and drawbacks. For more information related to air compressors, .
Compressors are differentiated based on their operation:
1. Positive displacement
2. Roto-dynamic compressors
Roto-dynamic compressors make use of a rotating turbine impeller that increases the velocity of the fluid. This air is then made to flow through increasing cross sectional area where the kinetic energy is converted into pressure energy using a diffuser. (A diffuser disperses the air flow using a flow dryer and spreads the air).
These are main types of air compressors that are available commercially.
Reciprocating Air Compressors
They are positive displacement machines, i.e. they increase the pressure of air by reducing its volume. Successive volumes of air are compressed into a small place and are then pressurised. A piston within a cylinder acts as the compressing and displacing element in the system.
Reciprocating units are usually in the range of 1-50 HP while compressors 100 HP+ are found in screw or centrifugal machines.
They are further divided based on the usage of the piston. A single-acting compressors uses only one side of the piston while a double acting compressor uses both.
One of the primary advantages of reciprocating units is their versatility. They can either be in lubricated or non- lubricated configurations and can be air cooled or water cooled. They can be set to many different pressure and capacity settings as per the need of the user.
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Rotary Screw Air Compressors
Similar to reciprocating compressors, rotary screw compressors are also positive displacement. They are extremely powerful and durable and are omnipresent in the manufacturing industry.
Typically they have a 100% duty cycle meaning that they function most effectively and last longer when in use 24/7. Most rotary screw air compressors are either single helical or spiral lobe oil flooded.
The basic working principle is simple – 2 helical screws or rotors help to compress air. There are no valves. The parts of the machine do not experience heating because it has internal heating. This allows it to function continuously. This is a significant advantage of the Rotary screw air compressors.
The initial purchase and installation price are lower than that of a reciprocating unit. Newer machines that release oil free air can also be bought.
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Centrifugal compressors are dynamic compressors. Centrifugal compressors rotate at a much higher speed compared to other similar compressors because their operation is continuous.
They can be of single-stage or multi-stage types. A single-stage compressor is preferred because it delivers higher efficiency and oil free gas. We can adjust the inlet vanes to control the capacity of the air that gets compressed by the compressor.
Centrifugal units are preferred when the pressure required to be generated isn’t too high. It is a low weight and easy to maintain machine. The energy consumption is also quite low, making it suitable for lower budget purchases.