Sizing an Industrial Air Compressor to Fit Your Needs

industrial air compressors in cramped room

Sizing a new industrial air compressor can feel like a difficult task. It requires knowledge of the pressure and flow needed for the application. A solid understanding of how frequently jobs are performed and how many jobs are being completed at once. This may seem like a substantial amount of work, but the benefits of correctly sizing your compressor include improving your business’ productivity, decreasing existing compressor room inefficiencies, and improving your bottom line.

Understanding the Conflicts of Undersized Compressors

If your compressor is undersized, it’s likely running all day, every day! Keep in mind that rotary screw compressors are intended to run virtually 24/7. However, this would be noticed right away with piston compressors, as they aren’t fit to run 24/7. So, if you’re experiencing pressure drops and your industrial air compressor can’t complete a task, chances are you have an undersized compressor issue.

Understanding the Conflicts of Oversized Compressors

If your compressor is constantly stopping and starting, it could be oversized! This action will 100% lead to huge energy bills, largely caused by the spike in energy produced when the compressor starts up. The excessive start/stop cycle can also result in motor burnout, future mechanical problems, and potential failure of the compressor.

How Do I Correctly Size a New Industrial Compressor System?

There are a few key steps to take in order to appropriately size a new industrial air compressor:

  1. The CFM, or flow rate of your compressor, is application-dependent. This means that having a good understanding of your plant’s demand profile is critical to sizing a compressor and uncovering any potential energy efficiency opportunities. If you are trying to determine the flow requirements for a new place, be sure to have accurate flow requirements for all equipment and estimates for the duty cycle of that equipment. For an existing operation, we recommend reaching out to your 3C Compressed Air Expert to assist you. Your expert can also guide you through planning for future expansion and make sure your airflow and quality are appropriate for your applications. 
  2. Pressure is measured in PSI, or pounds per square inch, and refers to the amount of pressure required by the tools/equipment used by your application. The typical PSI for your application is between 90 and 100 but can be higher or lower. While it’s tempting to add a little padding to this pressure, be cautious of increasing the pressure beyond what is absolutely necessary. Increased pressure means increased power bills and loss due to unregulated uses.
  3. And don’t forget to check your voltage & phase. Your industrial air compressor will require a sufficient energy source to operate, so knowing the voltage and phase of your compressor’s new site is a must. If you’re unsure, get with an electrician. They’ll be able to tell you whether the electrical supply is single-phase or three-phase and the voltage.

And Don’t Forget an Audit!

So you may be wondering, where do you even start? We recommend starting by first getting your new compressor specifications. This can be done by conducting a compressed air audit. Knowing your system’s compressed air demand can determine how to deliver the right amount of compressed air at the lowest cost, and avoid choosing a compressor that is undersized or oversized.

Choosing the Right Air Compressor Oil: For Dummies

oil being poured into a compressor

Just like different car models require a specific type and grade of oil for the best performance, the same is true for air compressors. When you use the right oil in your air compressor, it will benefit your machine in more ways than one. These benefits include a reduction in energy consumption, a decrease in friction between different motor components, and an increase in the compressor’s life span. Today, we’re giving you all you need to know about air compressor oil and which type is the best for your needs.

What’s the Difference Between Standard and Synthetic Oil?

Standard and synthetic are the two basic types of air compressor oil. Each has distinctive characteristics:

  • Standard Oil: Standard air compressor oil is made using a mineral oil base. The oil is cheaper than synthetic and is recommended for air compressors who don’t work continuously. It’s also a good choice for compressors that only do light- or medium-duty work.
  • Synthetic Oil: Synthetic air compressor oil is made using a synthetic base. This oil undergoes lots of processing, but is more refined than standard oil. If you’re using your compressor at least three times a week, synthetic oil is the way to go! Synthetic oil will allow your compressor to run quieter and smoother. It also protects the machine from overheating. The overall temperature range of synthetic oil is also wider than standard oil.

Is There a Difference in Oil Use Between Reciprocating and Rotary Screw Compressors?

While you can run different types of oil products on reciprocating and rotary screw models, manufacturers often recommend that you use synthetic oils. They contain no sulfur or additives that can lead to unwanted buildup on the valves.

The main benefits of synthetic oils for rotary screw air compressors include:

  • Longer life span: Synthetic oils can extend the life of your rotary screw air compressor by an incredible 8,000 hours. That’s a freakin’ long time!
  • Fewer deposits: Synthetic oils reduce unwanted deposits such as varnish and sludge. These deposits lead to premature wear and tear and have a negative affect on your compressor’s performance.
  • Cooler temperatures: Synthetic oils stay cooler during compressor operation and produce an air discharge of a lower temperature.
  • Less oil consumption: Synthetic oils are consumed at a slower rate, meaning you don’t have to add oil as often.

Reciprocating air compressors can also benefit from synthetic oil in the following ways:

  • Less accumulation of carbon: Synthetic oil reduces how much carbon accumulates on the valves and reduces the feed rate.
  • Safer operation: The auto-ignition temperatures and flashpoints are higher for synthetic oils.
  • Extended lifetime: Synthetic oil can also help prevent packings and piston rings from wearing out too soon.

How Often Should I Change My Oil?

The frequency of your oil changes usually depends on the kind of machine you have. Check the user’s manual that comes with your compressor. The manual should provide detailed information on air compressor oil specifications. If the information is not provided, use the following guidelines as a reference:

  • Rotary screw compressors need oil changes every 7,000 to 8,000 hours of use
  • Reciprocating air compressors ideally need oil changes every three months
  • Regardless of use, the oil should be changed once per year at the very least to ensure smooth operation and a long-lasting life span.

Do all Air Compressors Need Oil?

You only need to use oil if you have an oil-lubricated compressor. Oil-free air compressors do not require oil since they are already coated and sealed straight from the factory. Generally, oil-lubricated air compressors handle higher-duty cycles and have an extended engine-life over oil-free models. Most oil-lubricated air compressors also run quieter than, another reason why most factories, workshops and other industrial use-cases choose air compressors that require oil.

Can I Order Oil from 3C Industrial?

Of course you can! We have both synthetic and standard oil for you. We also have an array of air compressors ready to ship out if you’re in the market for a new compressor. Contact us today if you have any questions! 

Just like different car models require a specific type and grade of oil for the best performance, the same is true for air compressors. When you use the right oil in your air compressor, it will benefit your machine in more ways than one. These benefits include a reduction in energy consumption, a decrease in friction between different motor components, and an increase in the compressor’s life span. Today, we’re giving you all you need to know about air compressor oil and which type is the best for your needs.

What’s the Difference Between Standard and Synthetic Oil?

Standard and synthetic are the two basic types of air compressor oil. Each has distinctive characteristics:

  • Standard Oil: Standard air compressor oil is made using a mineral oil base. The oil is cheaper than synthetic and is recommended for air compressors who don’t work continuously. It’s also a good choice for compressors that only do light- or medium-duty work.
  • SyntheticOil: Synthetic air compressor oil is made using a synthetic base. This oil undergoes lots of processing, but is more refined than standard oil. If you’re using your compressor at least three times a week, synthetic oil is the way to go! Synthetic oil will allow your compressor to run quieter and smoother. It also protects the machine from overheating. The overall temperature range of synthetic oil is also wider than standard oil.

Is There a Difference in Oil Use Between Reciprocating and Rotary Screw Compressors?

While you can run different types of oil products on reciprocating and rotary screw models, manufacturers often recommend that you use synthetic oils. They contain no sulfur or additives that can lead to unwanted buildup on the valves.

The main benefits of synthetic oils for rotary screw air compressors include:

  • Longer life span: Synthetic oils can extend the life of your rotary screw air compressor by an incredible 8,000 hours. That’s a freakin’ long time!
  • Fewer deposits: Synthetic oils reduce unwanted deposits such as varnish and sludge. These deposits lead to premature wear and tear and have a negative affect on your compressor’s performance.
  • Cooler temperatures: Synthetic oils stay cooler during compressor operation and produce an air discharge of a lower temperature.
  • Less oil consumption: Synthetic oils are consumed at a slower rate, meaning you don’t have to add oil as often.

Reciprocating air compressors can also benefit from synthetic oil in the following ways:

  • Less accumulation of carbon: Synthetic oil reduces how much carbon accumulates on the valves and reduces the feed rate.
  • Safer operation: The auto-ignition temperatures and flashpoints are higher for synthetic oils.
  • Extended lifetime: Synthetic oil can also help prevent packings and piston rings from wearing out too soon.

How Often Should I Change My Oil?

The frequency of your oil changes usually depends on the kind of machine you have. Check the user’s manual that comes with your compressor. The manual should provide detailed information on air compressor oil specifications. If the information is not provided, use the following guidelines as a reference:

  • Rotary screw compressors need oil changes every 7,000 to 8,000 hours of use
  • Reciprocating air compressors ideally need oil changes every three months
  • Regardless of use, the oil should be changed once per year at the very least to ensure smooth operation and a long-lasting life span.

Do all Air Compressors Need Oil?

You only need to use oil if you have an oil-lubricated compressor. Oil-free air compressors do not require oil since they are already coated and sealed straight from the factory. Generally, oil-lubricated air compressors handle higher-duty cycles and have an extended engine-life over oil-free models. Most oil-lubricated air compressors also run quieter than, another reason why most factories, workshops and other industrial use-cases choose air compressors that require oil.

Can I Order Oil from 3C Industrial?

Of course you can! We have both synthetic and standard oil for you. We also have an array of air compressors ready to ship out if you’re in the market for a new compressor. Contact us today if you have any questions! 

How to have a Healthy Relationship with Your Air Compressor

healthy relationship wit air compressor

Unless you’ve been living in a cave your whole life, you know that today is Valentine’s Day. You may be celebrating with a significant other, treating yourself to a tub of ice cream, or hanging with some friends. But, have you ever thought about showing your air compressor system some love? With any healthy relationship, it takes time, effort, and a little bit of patience. Here are a few ways to keep the relationship with your air compressor happy and healthy.

Communication is Key

All good relationships are built on strong communication. The same can be said for maintaining a healthy relationship with your air compressor system. Periodic check-ins are great, but the real communication starts when you have a planned, thorough inspection. If you need some help with your communication skills and you’re not sure where to start, we at 3C like to think we’re the communication experts when it comes to inspecting your air compressors. 

Let the Flame Burn Bright

Heat recovery is a simple way to benefit your entire facility. Compressor heat recovery systems can heat water to 158 °F. You can then recover up to 76% of that heat energy. With the energy recovered through hot air or water, many facilities can power other operations, such as boilers or heaters. Thus, saving your energy and money in the long run. 

Be Less Demanding

Who wants to be in a relationship with someone who is always demanding something from you? Your air compressor sure does not! Avoid asking too much of your air compressor system, by making sure your compressor is the proper size and drive. If you have a relatively steady demand, try a fixed speed compressor. Selecting the right compressor can be tricky, luckily we have a blog for that. 

Moral of the story, give your air compressor system some love, not on just Valentine’s Day, but every day of the year! If you need some advice, help, or are moving onto a new air compressor, we’re ready to help!

Avoid Choosing the Wrong Industrial Compressor this Year!

Avoid Choosing the Wrong Industrial Compressor this New Year!

Choosing the right industrial compressor for your business can be tough.  You have to sort through the compressors technologies, sizes, CFM (cubic feet per minute) and PSI (pounds per square inch) requirements, and other specs to determine which air compressor would best fit. Here are some common mistakes to avoid when choosing your industrial compressor:

1. Selecting the Wrong Air Compressor Size

Not every compressor will fit inside the confides that you’ll need. Every brand and every compressor is different. Knowing the exact operating pressure and the maximum compressed air volume flow of your process is key! If you choose a compressor that is oversized, it will lead to huge energy bills, largely caused by the spike in energy produced when the compressor starts up. On the other hand, if an air compressor is too small, the applications won’t be complete due to lack of compressed air supply. So make sure you’ve got your sizing all down.

2. Choosing the Wrong Compressor Technology

We know there are TONS of compressor technologies on the market right now! From rotary screw and reciprocating compressors, to scroll and centrifugal compressors. Choosing which compressor type is best for your specific application can be tough. Here are a few things to keep in mind when making that decision:

  • Screw air compressors are a great option for businesses that are looking for a compressor with lower noise levels, and higher energy efficiency levels. They’re also a great option when it comes to longer daily use.
  • Reciprocating compressors are great choices for businesses where daily demand and duty cycle requirements are lower and has reduced maintenance needs. They are also ideal for businesses with smaller space.
  • Scroll compressors are fit for applications in research and development, universities, breweries, dental offices, and hospitals. These compressors operate quietly and provide 100% oil-free air.

3. Not Thinking About Air Quality Requirements 

Different applications require different air quality. Some, like those in the medical or pharmaceutical industry, require 100% oil-free air. Other applications, such as general manufacturing, might not have as tight air quality requirements. If you’re unsure of what your requirements are, our guys at 3C can help you figure that out. 

4. Underestimating Compressor Costs

You have to factor in three major things when it comes to an industrial compressor’s lifecycle cost: 

  • Initial investment
  • Lifetime maintenance costs
  • Lifetime energy costs

When choosing, keep in mind that up to 80% of the compressor’s lifecycle costs are credited to energy consumption. This means that the energy efficiency of your machine is extremely important when determining how much your compressor will cost to run over its lifetime.

Have Questions?

We understand that choosing the right industrial compressor is a tough choice with a handful of variables. If you still have questions, give 3C Industrial a call today – 361-452-2749. We’re always ready to help! 

Prepping your Air Compressor for Winter

air compressor condensation in winter

It’s getting to that time of the season where us Texans bring out our winter coats and slip on gloves before we head out to work. Just as we prepare ourselves for the winter months, our air compressors need some prep work to navigate properly through the cooler temperatures. Prepping your air compressor helps malfunctions and maximizes your air compressors longevity to make it last all winter long and beyond! Here are our tips as an industrial air compressor manufacturer for winterizing your industrial air compressors. 

Tip #1 Check for Condensation

Condensation left within your air compressor tank creates significant problems as the temperature drops. When it freezes, water expands. If water accumulates in the tank because of condensation, it’ll freeze and cause significant damage within the interior of the air compressor.

So, check your compressor for any condensation and remove it by placing the receiver tank at a low angle so that the moisture drains. Depending on what model air compressor you have at your facility, your air compressor may drain automatically. Even if you have an automatic compressor, we still recommend checking for excess condensation just in case. 

Tip #2 Replace Worn Weather Stripping

Sometimes it’s about those little things that help the big stuff. Over time, weather stripping wears away and requires replacement. We recommend inspecting your weather stripping before the coldest temperatures of the year hit. The weather strips may come loose, thus trapping in condensation. Replacing weather stripping is an inexpensive and simple task to prepare your air compressor equipment for the chilly season. 

Tip #3 Adjust Your Louvers

Louver adjustments are important for keeping the cold air out of the compressor inlet. When you adjust the louvers, it recovers heat that’s headed toward the compressor outlet. You’ll also find the louver adjustments keep moisture out of the oil circuit while maintaining adequate lubrication of moving parts. Louver adjustments direct warm air towards your  industrial compressors. This minimizes the negative impact of compressor exposure to cold temperatures.

Tip #4 Service Drains, Valves, and Separators

At the end of fall, and any season really, is a good time to inspect drains, valves, and separators. Inspections should include detailed cleaning of all essential air compressor components. Drains, valves, and separators are subject to moisture exposure, and moisture exposure is one of the biggest factors leading to winter malfunctions of air compression systems.

Tip #5 Inspect Hoses and Belts

Rubber equipment is easily susceptible to failure in the cold weather. Unfortunately, cold weather wreaks havoc on rubber equipment. Hoses and belts connected to air compressors are generally made of rubber. Inspect hoses and belts for cracks as part of your winter prep procedure. Replace cracked hoses and belts because winter weather expands such cracks and makes air compressor malfunctions even more likely.

BONUS Tip

Prepping your air compressors can be a lot of work. Our tips are just the beginning of winter prepping. At 3C Industrial, we help businesses all around Texas with their preventive maintenance needs on your schedule. Your compressor’s preventative maintenance is tracked in-house by one of our trained PM Coordinators, available 24/7, to ensure your air compressor gets the quality care it needs for any season, including the winter!

Why Compressors Need Preventative Maintenance

3C Preventive maintenance blog

Air compressors are the backbone of the industrial world. They help make facilities all across the globe run smoothly and efficiently. However, air compressors are machines, and we must treat them that way. Instead of waiting around for a problem to arise, we must stay on top of our equipment. We call this preventative maintenance and at 3C, we’re big on this.

Why is Preventative Maintenance Important?

Time, efficiency, and reliability are all critical elements for any business. Preventative maintenance helps ensure that your compressor continues to hold those functions, decreasing the risk of any elements shutting down the entire production process. We can compare this to a car. We take our cars for regular, routine maintenance to keep our vehicles in tip-top shape and so they don’t crap out on us in the middle of the road. The same goes with your air compressor! The more you put into investing in preventative maintenance, the less likely it is to die on you unexpectedly.

Benefits of Preventative Maintenance

  • Cut Those High Bills: Oil leaks, old oil, or blocked filters can all make your compressor perform horribly and cut your production rate. The result of this? High energy bills from your compressor trying its best to keep up with your production line. Lower production from your compressor’s low performance. And if your compressor system hits the hay, you’ll spend more time and money for emergency repairs or purchasing a whole new compressor.
  • Avoid Safety Issues: It’s important to realize that your compressor can cause an unsafe workplace. A poorly serviced compressor may be generating excessive heat and noise, both not safe for a normal work environment. There may also be unseen issues that can lead to fire hazards and electrical shorts. The last thing you want is for your compressor system to lead to an injured employee.
  • Extend Life Expectancy: Air compressors are a big investment, so you don’t want it to die earlier than it needs to. Preventive maintenance helps you achieve a long and smooth life for your compressor system. 

Schedule Regular Maintenance Today

A regularly scheduled maintenance check is a must! It’ll help with energy bills, safety hazards and extend your equipment’s life expectancy. At 3C, our PM Coordinators keep track of all your equipment’s maintenance needs, so you never have to worry about it. Let us help with your  preventative maintenance today!

New or Used Air Compressor: Which One Is Best?

new or used air compressors?

When looking for an air compressor, you can choose between buying new or used. This decision comes after deciding the specific type of compressor you need. There are plenty of pros and cons for either option and diverse factors to your choice. We’re here to help you outline the advantages and disadvantages of a new and used compressor. 

Benefits of purchasing new air compressors

Buying new comes with many advantages. As long as the new equipment is being used often, you’ll receive the following benefits:

  • Receive the latest technology: Just like anything new, new air compressors use the latest tech to make operations run smooth. You also won’t have to worry about your compressor breaking down anytime soon. 
  • Higher efficiency: New air compressors typically use power more efficiently than a used option. New machinery rarely has leaks, clogged air filters or incorrect pressure readings, all of which impact your compressor’s efficiency. 
  • Long life span: New machinery naturally has a longer lifespan than older compressors. A brand new compressor equals a brand new start. 
  • Higher return on investment (ROI): As you decide which system will work for you, you’ll wonder which has the best ROI between used or new air compressors. You’ll get the most value from a new unit, thanks to its longer lifespan and quality components. 

Disadvantages of purchasing a new air compressor

The main disadvantage of purchasing a new air compressor is its cost. You’re going to pay more for something new compared to a used one. However, it’s an investment that will pay off in the long-term.

Benefits of Purchasing a Used Air Compressors

As with new, used air compressors have their own advantages. You’ll receive the following benefits:  

  • Lower Up-Front Cost: The most appealing benefit of buying used equipment is the lower price. Sometimes you can even buy multiple used air compressors for the same price you could get for one new air compressor. 
  • No Initial depreciation: Just like a new car, once a brand new air compressor is bought it’s value depreciates immediately. That problem doesn’t exist when you have used compressors. 
  • Quality Refurbishments: You might find yourself with a high-quality refurbished machine. Components may be new which would give you a more efficient and long-lasting system. If you’re not sure if the used air compressor has refurbished parts, take the time to check out the specs. You might find yourself with a great deal. 

Disadvantages of Purchasing a Used Air Compressor

When it comes to used compressors, a lot of the time you get what you paid for. 

There is also a lack of the latest technology, unknown lifespan, and few warranty options, which all provide their own value. 

Decided?

Have you decided which air compressor is right for you? If you’re looking for new compressors contact us today and let us help you figure out your best options!

Does Your Compressor Need an Upgrade?

upgrade your air compressor

Are you doing corrective maintenance more and more every quarter? Are you shouting when chatting near your compressor? Do these scenarios sound familiar? These are all telltale signs that  it may be time to upgrade your air compressor.

Are you exceeding repairs?

A good rule of thumb most of our customers  follow on repairs is to not exceed 50-60% of the cost of a new compressor. Main air compressor parts can cost an arm and a leg to replace, such as a new motor or an airend element. With replacing and adding new parts, you will most likely be paying for labor as well, making replacements expensive on their own. If your list of repairs starts growing, it may be a sign it’s time for something new. 

Are you using too much energy?

Changing parts can be costly, but a big electricity bill can be even scarier. As air compressors get to the end of their life, it’s common for them to need to run longer and more frequently. Less high-tech compressors consume more energy and can cause a significant headache every month when you see your bill. If your air compressor is using too much energy, it’s probably time to upgrade. 

So, have you decided? 

If you’re still unsure about whether it’s worth it or not to replace your older compressors, 3C can help you evaluate!  It is always better to add a new compressor while your old one can still be used.  That way you now have redundancy and can keep your old machine for an emergency back up.   We’re here to help with all corrective maintenance, preventive maintenance or compressor sales. And if you’ve made the decision to upgrade your air compressor, you can shop our catalog today!

Summer Maintenance Tips

Summer maintenance tips

Summertime is officially here in Texas. The summer brings long, hot and humid days, all of which can take a toll on your air compressor. Skyrocketing temperatures combined with condensation can strain your equipment’s performance unless you’re prepared. Here are some summer maintenance tips that we at 3C have put together to help you with your preventative maintenance.

1. Clean Your Cabinet and Intake Air Filters

Seems like routine maintenance, but it’s easy to forget when you’re day-to-day tasks take over . A compressor runs cooler and uses less energy when filters are clean. When you have dirty, clogged filters, they can lead to pressure drops. This causes the compressor to work at higher levels to accommodate the demand. It’s important to follow a regular maintenance schedule and add checks for seasonal changes.

2. Check Compressor Room Ventilation

Increased airflow helps us breathe easier and the same can be said about our machines. Air and oil filters require a little extra attention in the summer. Check the compressor room frequently and adjust ventilation and airflow accordingly. Air contaminants, such as pollen and other air pollutants that are prevalent in the summer, can clog up your compressors. When you check your compressor room, make sure to clean and clear the ventilation system. 

3. Look Through Your Drains

The high humidity in the summer causes more condensation when air cools and eventually come out of the drains. Check to ensure that your drains are clear and in working order so they can handle the increased flow. The condensation is sometimes mixed with the compressor oil, so we recommend treating the water before being released directly into the drain. While you’re checking the drains, you should also look at the unit’s filtered and separation tanks. 

4. Clean Your Coolers

During the summer, your air compressor is running not sprinting. To make sure it doesn’t pass out from the heat, you must unblock or unclog your coolers. When your coolers are blocked or clogged, this can cause your air compressor to overheat.

5. Adjust Your Water Cooling Systems 

With your water-cooled compressors, adjust the temperature of the water entering the system. This helps compensate for increased ambient temperatures and to ensure that it is adequate for summer conditions. 

Taking these preventive steps will help sustain your air compressor system in the summer and your business as a whole helping prevent downtime. If you find yourself with no time to do these regular and seasonal maintenance checks, let 3C help you! We’re here for all your summer maintenance along with preventive and corrective maintenance needs.