What is an air compressor?
An air compressor is a machine designed to produce compressed air. The compressed air becomes a source of energy for pneumatic accessories and tools, such as, blowers, paint guns, jackhammers, etc.
How they work
The air is sucked into a cylinder on the piston-down stroke and then compressed and fed to the tank on the same piston’s up stroke (exactly the same principle as a bicycle pump).
How is a compressor’s performance measured?
ITwo parameters need to be taken into account: pressure and flow rate.
The pressure is measured in bar (1 bar = 1 kg / cm2).
The flow rate is measured in litres per minute or m3 per hour.
A distinction must be made between the suction flow rate (volume of air sucked in by the compressor) and the discharge flow rate (volume of compressed air produced by the compressor) – the latter should be used when choosing a compressor.
The pressure and flow rate are needed to determine the most appropriate compressor.
Direct drive or belt drive compressors?
The cylinder or cylinders are driven by a direct coupling to an electric motor (direct drive), or via a belt.
How to decide which compressor to buy
You need to determine:
1/ The intended use: blow, inflate, paint, tighten, etc,
2/ The usage intensity: occasional, regular or intensive,
3/ Usage frequency: intermittent or continuous,
As a general rule, you should choose an air compressor with a discharge air flow rate that is equal to or slightly higher than the consumption of the tool or accessory that will be used.