Air Compressor is used throughout many modern laundering facilities, and goes unnoticed until there is a problem. A closer look at the air compressors in most laundry facilities reveals many simple opportunities to make quick, high impact changes that will lower power costs and keep air-powered equipment operating reliably. A systematic approach helps uncover the best steps to take based on the current situation.

Depending on the size of the operation, top-performing laundering facilities require a compressor between 5 and 15 horsepower. Air compressor manufacturers rate their equipment based on both the horsepower and air capacity (cfm or l/min). To get an idea of the actual cost to operate an dental air compressor, users are left to interpret the horsepower rating of each compressor model.

For instance, why does one five horsepower compressor cost about a third as much as another? A close examination of the motor nameplate and air capacity of each quickly reveals that the two compressors are not really alike. To obtain the real cost of operation, examining the motor nameplate is a good place to start. The nameplate will reveal the voltage, operating amperes, nominal efficiency and power factor and the service factor of the motor.

Air compressor manufacturers will use what is called the service factor of the electric motor to provide extra power to the air compressor and compensate for pressure drop, wear and high-temperature operation. The service factor is a designed-in overload factor that allows the motor to operate above the nominal nameplate rating.

Depending on the type of air compressor that is appropriate to meet capacity requirements, either a reciprocating (piston) or rotary screw type compressor might be selected. Additionally, lubricated or oil-free (oil-less) compressors might be required. Each compressor type will require maintenance, and the oil-free (oil-less) compressors are a bit more complex than their lubricated counterparts. While maintenance will not have the impact on cost of ownership that power does over the life of the air compressor, it can become quite costly if not attended to per manufacturer’s recommendations.

Typically, manufacturers will offer different levels of equipment based on value and design. A less expensive air compressor will have the same basic technology as its more expensive cousin, but will not have the same quality valves, motor, oil, or other basic components. This helps keep the first cost low. The trade-off is often lower efficiency and shorter life.

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