Long life from simple maintenance reviews

Air filter elements for air compressors are some of the most important replaceable parts on an entire compressor.  Air filters remove the dirt from the intake air, dirt which will cause increased wear and frication in the interior of your compressor. A new, clean filter will insure that an air compressor operates at its maximum efficiency. A dirty or clogged air filter restricts the airflow, and starves the compressor, throttling back its efficiency. If a compressor runs in this state for a prolonged period, the compressor also risks overheating because the compressor has to work harder to create the required air output.

If a filter becomes worn or is physically damaged in some way, dirty air will get past the filter elements. Once inside the compressor, dirt and debris collects on the moving parts, and increase the internal friction, and rate of wear. Over a period of time, the abrasive action on the pump parts can cause increased maintenance costs, and premature part or pump failure.

So when deciding on a maintenance schedule for air compressors, make sure to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines. Like the habit of changing the oil in a car every 3000 miles, the manufacturers schedule for your air compressor is designed to prevent problems, and catch maintenance issues before they cause performance problems in your compressor.

IN-LINE FILTER ELEMENT Aftermarket Part

IN-LINE FILTER ELEMENT Aftermarket Part

When checking the filter, remove the air filter element from the filter housing and physically inspect it at least once a month. If the filter is paper, look at the filter’s outside surfaces and the inside surfaces. The outside perimeter should show signs of impregnated dirt and dust. However, the inside of the paper should still be clean and the filter’s original color. If the dirt has traveled through the paper or foam pores and is visible on the inside surfaces of the filter, the filter should be replaced. Also examine the filter to identify if the filter is worn, or physically damaged in any way. Some of the things to look for include:

  • The paper or foam filter material could be ripped
  • The rubber flanges on the top or bottom of the filter could be cracked
  • The metal mesh which strengthens the filter could be physically damaged, or torn

If any of these conditions exist, discard the filter and replace it with a new, OEM filter element. This leads to the second important topic in air compressor maintenance reviews. Compressors are designed for a long lifetime. In some cases they last longer than the company which manufactured them.  In other cases, manufacturing methods change between the time a compressor was purchased and installed, and today when you are looking for parts. In all cases, when you are looking for aftermarket air compressor parts, make sure you purchase from a company that can track back to the original manufacturer’s part number, and find OEM replacement parts. A part that is kind of, sort of, almost right is the wrong part, and shouldn’t be installed in your compressor.

Inspect your air compressor filter regularly as part of a comprehensive preventative maintenance schedule

Large industrial air compressors are an essential part of many, if not most manufacturing processes. Air compressors drive tools on assembly lines. They are involved in high speed soda and drink bottling facilities, where the bottles and cans are actually turned upside down and blasted with compressed air before they are filled with soda. In manufacturing, compressed air operates machinery that stamps parts. Even the textile industry required clean, consistent compressed air to keep their mills and looms lint free.

Industrial compressors, like the Ingersoll Rand Centrifugal compressors, are designed for a long life in some of the harshest environments. Few work environments are as challenging as a steel mill, and the IR centrifugal pumps are able to survive and thrive there as well. The centrifugal pump differs from a traditional reciprocating pump in that it has fewer parts, and therefore requires less maintenance over a life time.

Nevertheless, when companies are looking for an IR centrifugal pump part, they have to keep a number of things in mind. Because these pumps are designed for such long life, during the years they’ve been in service, manufacturing technology has changed. Therefore finding the right part for an older pump can be difficult. When sourcing parts, make sure you pick a company that can cross reference the original pump and IR centrifugal part, and track the part you need across various manufacturers to find an OEM certified replacement.

The air filter on a compressor is one of the least expensive parts on the entire compressor; yet it is still one of the most important. Air filter elements pull dirt, dust and debris from the air, and ensure that only clear air enters the compressor. If the air filter becomes clogged with dust and dirt, the airflow into the computer is restricted, thus diminishing the efficiency of the pump.  In other cases, if a filter becomes worn or is physically damaged, dirty air can get past the filter elements. Once inside the compressor, dirt and debris in the air will collect on the moving parts, and increase the rate of wear. If this is allowed to continue, the abrasive action on the pump parts can cause increased maintenance costs, and premature failure.

So when writing a maintenance schedule for your air compressors, regardless of how large or small, make sure that checking the air filter is removed from the filter housing and physically inspected at least once a month. If it’s a paper filter, look at the outside surfaces and the inside surfaces of the filter. The outside will show signs of impregnated dirt and dust. The inside of the paper should still be clean and the filter’s original color. If the dirt has traveled through the pores of the paper, and is visible on the inside, the filter should be replaced. If the filter is worn, or physically damaged in any way, discard the filter and replace it with a new, OEM filter element.

The Importance of Regular Maintenance and the Right Part for Your Air Compressor

Not too long ago, and major US car filter manufacturer created a memorable ad campaign. The spot started with a mechanic talking about the car behind him that was in for repair. The vehicle had a noticeable void under the hood where the engine was normally mounted. He talked about the expense of overhauling or replacing an engine, and then held up a small, 10-dollar oil filter. The extensive work required to replace the motor could have been avoided if the car’s owner would have only replaced the oil filter regularly. As he closed the spot, he looked at the camera and said, “You can pay me now (to replace your filter) or you can pay me later.”

The heart of an air compressor is similar to an automobile’s engine. Built from cylinders, a crankshaft, valves, pistons and moving parts, an air compressor relies on regular, low cost maintenance. If the business owner faithfully performs the recommended maintenance, an air compressor will operate for decades. However, if they ignore the scheduled maintenance, or use inferior aftermarket air compressor parts for their maintenance work, a compressor will experience premature wear, which can lead to a shortened lifetime. Here are some of the parts and maintenance that should be performed according to the manufacturer’s recommended schedules.

Air Compressor Oils

High quality air compressor oil is manufactured to specifications that vary depending on the compressors use. For example, compressor oil used for food processing machines is non-toxic, safe for contact with foods and their equipment. In an industrial setting, air compressor oil must withstand high temperatures and pressures needed to operate equipment, often around the clock. Large industrial air compressors require lubricants that will withstand the high demand setting. The wrong lubrication will result in premature pump wear, and expensive overhauls.

Air Filters for Compressors

Air compressors suck in ambient air, and then compress it into a tank. Thus, whatever is in the air around a compressor

alsoenters the air compressor. In a factory or manufacturing building, compressors are often mounted in an out of the way utility room, the air supply can be filled with dust and dirt. Air filters for compressors trap any contaminants that are in the air. Dust and dirt particles, which enter the air compressor, act like sandpaper. Inside the compressor, it mixes with the internal lubricant, and turns into an abrasive sludge.

After time, like an air filter in an automobile or truck, an air filter becomes filled with tiny dirt particles. In this state, a compressor will ‘starve’ for air, and become less efficient. Air compressor filters should be cleaned and replaced regularly to make sure the equipment continues to operate efficiently.

Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) Parts

Equipment owners should service their air compressors regularly, and only use OEM or OEM equivalent parts. Because compressors last for decades, they often outlive their manufacturer. When replacing these regular maintenance parts, make sure to find the OEM recommended aftermarket replacement part. The proper compressor oil, filters or internal parts are essential for if you want to get the expected life out of a compressor.

Maintenance for Large Industrial Compressors

Air compressors are the quiet workhorses of many industrial facilities. Compressed air from a central compressor can deliver power throughout a multi-acre plant at little cost, or loss of potential energy. Compressors are also used to deliver special gasses, and to keep refrigeration equipment operating. These large units operate for decades with minimal maintenance. Yet ignoring the regularly scheduled maintenance on these industrial compressors can severely affect their performance, and create additional downtime, which costs a factory or manufacturer valuable time and money.

A large compressor features three independent fluid systems. The compressor’s primary fluid system is the compressed gasses it delivers; this is its primary function. Compressors also have an internal lubricant which protects the moving parts from friction and wear. Large compressors may also have a coolant system. While smaller compressors stay cool by transferring their heat to the surrounding air, larger systems need a coolant system similar to the coolant in an automobile. Each of these three systems needs regular maintenance.

Compressed Air Purification

The compressed air or gas delivered by a compressor will often have two types of contaminants that must be removed. This type of filtration is often performed by what is called a deliquescent desiccant, or a chemical that physically removes moisture and contaminants from compressed gasses.

Van Air deliquescent desiccant is one of the more highly used brands of this product. It performs its function by absorbing impurities like moisture or atomized oil particles and trapping the impurities in a granular chemical. As the compressed gas passes through a small filter body filled with deliquescent desiccant, the chemical physically traps the impurities, allowing the purified gas to pass without a significant drop in pressure.

Coolant Filters

Compressor coolant is another fluid that becomes contaminated by other fluid systems in a large compressor. The coolant flows

in and around the compressor mechanism, and carries away the heat so that the compressor remains in a safe operating temperature. However, atomized lubricant and metal shavings find their way into the coolant. These particles must be removed so that the coolant performs its task. Freestanding aftermarket coolant filters are the best way to filter the coolant. By removing the coolant from the compressor, and returning the filtered fluid into the unit, the compressor lasts longer. These aftermarket filters are available in a variety of sizes, and offer several filter options, based on the needs of your equipment.

Lubrication filters

Finally, every compressor has some type of internal lubricant. The type of lubricant depends on the compressors use. Food processing equipment uses different lubricants than refrigeration compressors, or compressed air systems. Regardless of the type of oil, one of the most important maintenance pieces on these industrial sized compressors is the lubrication oil filter. Like the oil filter on an automobile, this filter should be changed regularly, according to the manufacturer’s service schedule. These filters trap dirt, metal shavings and debris that create friction and unnecessary wear in a compressor. Periodically installing a new filter ensures that your equipment will operate well throughout its long lifetime. When changing a filter, make sure you select a high quality filter that is the OEM recommendation, or a certified replacement for the OEM part.

Finding a Reliable Partner for Air Compressor Maintenance Needs

Repairing an air compressor is similar to repairing your automobile. Like your car, as long as the compressor is running properly, you do not give it much thought. Nor do you connect the dots between how much you depend on the compressor in your day-to-day business operations until something needs repair. Only when the compressor is out of service for a day or two do you realize the machinery’s value, and its contribution to your daily business or manufacturing operations. So when your car, or your air compressor need repair work, make sure you partner with a supplier that provides high quality, original equipment manufacturer specification replacement parts.

One of an air compressor’s simplest parts, one that plays an important role in the compressor’s ongoing reliability, is the air compressor filter. The filter traps and removes airborne contaminants from the air drawn into the air compressor. In a dusty and dirty manufacturing or shop environment, the dirt in the air increases the internal friction and wear rate of the internal parts. An air compressor filter should meet original equipment manufacturers (OEM) specifications. Less expensive, poorly designed filters may fit into the filter housing but still allow contaminants into the compressors internal workings.

Another important component to a compressor’s ongoing performance is the air compressor oil. While lubricants seem the same from one to another, the lubricant in different types of compressors is specifically designed for each compressor. A traditional reciprocating compressor that operates air-powered tools in a mechanics shop or factory requires oil that is completely different from the lubrication in an air conditioning pump, or refrigeration compressor. Compressor oil that is used in food processing machinery must be non-toxic, and certified for food processing machinery. Just a trace amount of toxic air compressor oil in a food manufacturing facility could create health hazards, and ruin the food processed.

Finally, when a compressor requires scheduled maintenance or unexpected repair, compressor owners want a single source for all their compressor replacement parts and lubricants. Air compressors are designed for decades of operation in the field. In light of the changing global marketplace, the company that manufactured a given compressor may have been purchased, sold, or absorbed by another manufacturer. When this happens, part numbers change, replacement parts are no longer manufactured by a given company, or they are sourced from overseas wholesalers rather than the dealer down the street.

In order to maximize a compressor’s reliability, companies and compressor owners should look for a local company that can meet their demand for parts, and meet these three qualifications. Look for an air compressor part supplier that has OEM specification parts. Make sure the supplier can provide the correct lubrication for your machinery, and select a part provider with an extensive catalogue of parts, cross references and original specification manuals. A company that meets all three of these qualifications will be your partner, and can make the difference between a quick turn around time for repairs, or waiting for days and weeks for your equipment to be back up and running.

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