TECH TIPS: Air Compressors in the Automotive Service & Repair Industry
There are many applications which require compressed air in the automotive service and repair industry. Examples include operation of an extensive array of pneumatic tools, vehicle lifts, fluid dispensing systems and tire mounting equipment. Some may consider the air compressor to be a necessary evil: It is an expensive piece of equipment to purchase and operate, but it does not directly contribute to profitability. This is not the case, however, as compressed air is vital to every automotive service and repair facility. The air compressor can lower energy costs and increase productivity and profitability when properly installed and operated.
These important tips have been prepared to help service facility owners and operators make the right air compressor selection and minimize the cost impact of its installation and use.
Sizing Your System: The power of a compressor and size of its air tank should be based on the average free air displacement of all shop equipment the compressor will be driving.
Air Quality: It is important to ensure the quality of compressed air and to be certain it is clean and dry. Water vapor will cause corrosion in pipes and air-operated equipment.
- Water or oil vapor in the compressed air supply can ruin a paint finish, which will require a re-spray and incur additional costs to the shop.
- Corrosion in pipes will cause air leaks, which will waste compressed air and increase electrical costs.
- Corrosion in air tools will cause a loss of performance and eventual failure, which will result in increased maintenance costs.
Shop Space: It can be difficult to accommodate all necessary repair equipment in a shop. To solve this dilemma, Atlas Copco has designed a compact air compressor package with a dryer and filtration component incorporated into one unit and a sound-dampening canopy.
Installation: Atlas Copco has developed the AIRnet™ aluminum pipe system. AIRnet™ is an easy-to-install, lightweight system which is less expensive than its steel equivalent. The system provides maximum flexibility and easily adapts to the changing demands of your network. Connections can easily be added and removed with a minimal number of tools. It is suitable for compressed air and inert gasses, and it will not corrode.
Compressor Type: There are two standard compressor types:
- Piston compressors are the oldest and most common type of compressors. They are versatile, efficient and reliable. Most work with a start/stop control and are suitable for intermittent air demand. Design simplicity makes piston compressors the best solution for harsh usage and environmental conditions.
- Rotary screw compressors use an on-load/off-load control with a timed stop. These units are flexible and highly efficient. Air and condensate treatment equipment can be integrated into the compressor package, which will reduce the cost and space necessary for installation. Rotary screw compressors are suitable for customers who have a constant air demand and require high-quality air or low noise levels.
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