Wednesday, October 16, 2019
Which air compressor should you buy? This is a difficult question to answer. It all depends on your specific requirements.
One type of compressor may be great for transporting liquids or powders, while another will be perfect for pneumatic controls. Perhaps you need sterile air for human consumption or the medical sector? In that case, again, you will need an air compressor which is free of contaminants like dust, bacteria, and oil particulates.
If choosing the right air compressor for your needs seems confusing, then do not worry – BOGE Singapore is here to help. If you are looking to buy air compressor equipment anywhere in the Asia-Pacific region, we will assist you in choosing the correct compressor for your needs. With this in mind, let us now look at how to choose the right air compressor for your needs.
How to Select an Air Compressor
When choosing the right air compressor, you should think about the following:
- Your Goals: What are you trying to achieve? Your specific situation will inform every decision you make from here on. If you know what your end goal is, such as powering a pneumatic system in a factory or pumping food ingredients for human consumption, you will in turn be able to rule out certain compressors.
- Your Environment: What sort of environment will your air compressor be operating in? If you have employees working around an air compressor, you may need it to be silent, especially if your air compressor is working in sensitive environments such as around patients in a hospital. Likewise, does your application rule out oil contamination in air? You will then need a compressor which can do compression without oil.
- Your Running Costs: Consider what you need versus what you want. When choosing an air compressor, you need to evaluate your running costs and figure out what is your best option for your budget. Sometimes this will mean choosing an older or more affordable model. Maintenance should be factored into your running costs alongside energy usage. BOGE engineers have designed many options within our S-4 range which offers low maintenance and high energy efficiency.
- Safety: Pushing an air compressor beyond its stated manufacturer guidelines will result in frequent maintenance at best, and injury at worst. Put the safety of yourself, your team, and your premises first. If you feel you will need to push your air compressor beyond its specifications in the future, then you should go back to the drawing board and purchase one which will meet your future needs for years to come. This is both economical and safety conscious.
Let us now look at each of these categories in greater details.
Your Goals When Choosing an Air Compressor
When assessing your goals, keep the following in mind:
- Free Air delivery Considerations: Your Free air delivery (FAD) is a measure of how much air you need to compress each minute in Cubic Feet per Minute(CFM) or in Cubic Meters per Minute (m³/min). If you are powering a piece of equipment, then it will have a FAD rating. You should choose an air compressor which can at the very least meet this requirement. However, you should consider air leakages and line losses as well, which we will discuss below.
- Multiple Needs: Often, you will need to produce compressed air for more than one purpose. This could be powering more than one equipment or running several air operated equipment in a production facility. To do this, you must produce enough FAD for the entire system, and not just a single piece of equipment.
- Future Proofing: We mentioned redundancy earlier. If you select an air compressor with just enough FAD for what you need, then there is no room for future expansion or smooth operation due to fluctuating sudden demands. If you decide at a later date to power another piece of equipment with slightly higher FAD, then you will need to spend money on other air compressors. While this cannot always be avoided, if you buy one or more air compressor ensure that you have about 15-25% higher FAD than required, this gives you room to handle sudden air demands, leakages and small expansions in the future, saving you investment costs over time.
- Leakage: Another important part of redundancy is to keep you covered in the case of air leakage. Even with a state of the art modular compressed air piping systems, some leakage can still occur. A valve, section of piping, actuator, or even the air compressor itself can under some circumstances lose a little air. With redundancy built in, you can keep meeting your FAD demands while compensating for the leaks. This is a great reason to have 25% extra FAD in reserve when needed.
Your Environment & Safety
We've combined assessing your air compressor environment with safety considerations as there is often overlap. Assess your environment and safety needs before choosing an air compressor by:
- Human Factoring: The first consideration is to any person the air compression system might affect. This includes three categories of – workers around an air compressor installation, those breathing the air, and ingredients for human consumption touched by the air. If your air compressor is powering a pump system carrying hazardous materials, then you will need to ensure that your air compressor is strong enough to transport this material without any leakage. If patients or workers are breathing the produced air, then the air compressor should be class 0 compliant with no pollutants or oil particulates. Lastly, if compressed air is mixing with pharmaceuticals or ingredients for human consumption, the air needs to be sterile. Oil-free air compressors or oil lubricated compressors with filtration will solve these problems.
- Installation: When treating water or other liquids, your system may need to be installed in humid area. Ensure that your air compressor can be protected for damage due to high humidity and protection from environmental conditions
- Safe Zone applications: Are there flammable gases nearby? If so you will need to discuss with BOGE air compressors to make special components to suite the environment conditions.
- Space & Noise: You must take your available space into consideration. BOGE has some great compact designs, such as our C-2 Series. There is no point in buying an air compressor that will not fit into the space you have, however BOGE has a number of models which can cater to almost any setup. You can also chose supper silent option on all Boge compressors when noise is an issue.
Running Costs When Choosing an Air Compressor
Your final consideration is running cost. Once you know what your goals and needs are, you can then compare the air compressors which meet these requirements in terms of performance vs cost of ownership for 10 Years. You should evaluate:
- Energy efficient components used
- FAD redundancy
- Power usage (Specific power) kW/m³/min
- Loss of revenue due to maintenance downtime
- Replacement part costs
Do not worry if you are still unsure. If you need assistance in assessing your needs and choosing the right air compressor, our highly trained staff are waiting to answer any of your queries today.