Wondering how to size an industrial air compressor? This can present itself as a challenge but don't fear, we'll walk you through it step by step! Making this decision requires the following knowledge, how many and how often jobs are being performed by the compressor, planning for upcoming changes to the application and knowledge of the pressure and flow needed to complete the jobs.
The size of an air compressor is referring to the amount of air it's able to produce, not the outward appearance/size of the machine. With ever improving technology, compressors can produce large quantities of air while also saving energy.
If you already have a compressor it might be undersized, oversized or just right! To determine this you'll want to pay close attention to detail. For example, is your compressor constantly running? Are there pressure drops? Is your compressor sometimes unable to complete jobs? These are signs that your compressor is too small. On the other hand, if it's too large you might experience frequent stopping and starting resulting in very high energy consumption. Because the compressor is using an immense amount of energy to start up repeatedly, your compressor might experience catastrophic failure.
3 Steps To Size a Compressor Correctly
- First order of business, you'll need to check your pressure. The PSI, pounds per square inch, is the amount of pressure required by the tools used by your application. It's a good idea to add a little extra room for yourself in case the compressor has a big job at any point. Average PSI is between 90 and 100 but can vary.
- Next you'll want to Check your flow! This refers to the output measured in cubic feet per minute/CFM. This is determined by the demand of equipment on the compressed air system. It may be necessary to identify individual equipment demands to properly size a compressed air system. Best practice is to have an experienced system specialist assist in this decision.
- Lastly, know your voltage and phase. When placing a compressor in your plant it will need an energy source. Enough energy must be available to run your compressor consistently.