July 25, 2024

The Journey Of Air Compressors- From ‘Human Lung To Electric Compressors’

Do you possess an air compressor? What is an air compressor? Well, this is a device that transforms power into potential energy stored in pressurized air through electric, gasoline or diesel gasoline engine. Air compressor forces plentiful air into a storage tank, increasing the pressure that can be used to power other devices. 

A Look Into History

Do you have any idea about the earliest air compressor? Surprisingly, it was a ‘human lung’. Since the human body can exhale oxygen, around thousands of years ago, people used their breath to add fuel to fires to keep it burning. Yet another earliest compressor that we all are familiar with, is the bellows that we might still use today to stoke the flames in our fireplace. In 1762, an air compressor was used for other things than fire management and a “blowing cylinder” powered by a water wheel. Later in 1872, a water-cooled version of this appeared. With the introduction of air compressors into drilling a tunnel through Swiss Alp by hand, a project planned to be completed in 30 years was completed in just 14 years. In 1871 the first pneumatic tool- a rock drill was used by Simon Ingersoll. He provided the compressors for the gigantic project as he took part in the construction of Mt. Rushmore in 1927.

Different types of Air Compressors

There are 3 types of air compressors namely petrol, diesel and electric depending on the method of providing power to the compressor. There are different types of air compressors and using each method has its association for the size, power, and durability of the resulting compressor. Also, these factors determine the suitability of each compressor according to your particular needs.

  1. Petrol Air Compressors

These are simple air compressor powered by a petrol engine. In this, the engine is separate from the pump system and you can find various types of petrol air compressors. When compared to electric air compressors, these are more adaptable and useful for professionals working in a building site with no electricity connection available. An additional generator is not required when you are using petrol air compressors.

Other features of Petrol Air Compressors are as follows:

  • It has good flexibility and engine control. A petrol air compressor can be easily adjusted according to the output required thereby effectively managing the fuel usage with minimal fuel wastage. Monitoring becomes easy with the petrol engine and noise level can also be adjusted. 
  • Relatively cheaper purchasing value. Petrol is comparatively cheaper than diesel, though it is less economical.
  • It is portable and not very noisy compared to a diesel engine. In terms of the amount of torque and power, the capability is less.
  • Maintenance costs will be high if you want to keep a petrol air compressor in good working condition over a lifetime.

2.  Diesel Air Compressors

Diesel air compressors are more portable when compared to petrol compressors. These are commonly used in building sites. The Users of good quality diesel air compressor need not worry about the unexpected electricity shut down in adverse weather.  Advantages and disadvantages of diesel air compressors are as follows:

  • Suitable for heavy-duty and industrial applications as it provides higher torque. The diesel engine is more powerful when compared to a petrol engine of the same size.
  • A quality diesel air compressor for sale is a wise decision to have as it is more economical compared to a petrol engine. 
  • Diesel air compressors are bulkier, heavier and noisier than petrol and electric air compressor.
  • The initial purchase value is high. But the maintenance cost of the diesel engine is less because of its simpler ignition technique when compared to a petrol engine.
  • It is not suitable for the indoor purpose as it exhaust fumes that are highly toxic.
  • To ensure safety while using a diesel compressor, one should make proper arrangements for fuel storage and transportation.

Electric Air Compressors

Electric air compressors are most commonly used and readily available in the market today. It has a wide range of uses and applications as it runs on electric motors. They are suitable for indoor as it does not exhaust toxic fumes and for outdoor set-ups.

Pros and Cons of electric air compressors are given below:

  • Electric air compressors are portable. Storage and transportation are easy and safe when compared to petrol and diesel compressors.
  • Electric compressors are not powerfully built compared to their counterparts.
  • Outdoor usage is limited to the length of their power cord and power supply availability at the destination as it should be plugged directly into the power socket without using any extension cables. Chances of technical faults are high with electric air compressors.

Checkpoints while choosing an air compressor

You will be lost when you have to choose an air compressor from a wide range of tools and applications. So it is advised to do some research before deciding to choose the right one to fulfill the purpose as per individual needs. The following points can be considered while choosing an air compressor;

  1. Check the requirements of the engine in terms of portability, size, pressure, and volume to ensure work efficiency.
  2. Learn about different types of compressors available in the market like reciprocating and rotary screw depending on the usage purpose.
  3. The horsepower of the air compressor is a valuable marker. Another is CFM, Cubic Feet per Minute rating that measures volumetric flow.
  4. Consider the fuel source.

Before buying any air compressor, or any air tools for use, always check the voltage of the machine and the amperage, and ensure that these correlate with the available supply on the working site. Also, make sure to check the maintenance schedule and change the air filters on time.  Neglecting your air compressor can cost you unnecessary expenses later. Make sure to change the air filters twice a year, because filthy air filters make your air compressor work double and allow dirty air from the outside to enter the compressor. Oil-lubricated compressors are long-lasting compared to oil-free ones. To be on the safer side, read the instruction manual carefully before using the compressor or any air tools. 

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