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 replace 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!

Everything You Need to Know About Compressed Air Piping

Compressed Air Piping

Traditional air piping is not always the most effective or efficient way to maintain your business. On top of that, you’ll also find your energy prices could be increasing. This where compressed air piping comes in.

What is Compressed Air Piping?

The purpose of an air piping system is to deliver compressed air to where it’s needed most. Sounds simple, but it’s easier said than done. The compressed air has to be delivered in sufficient volume, with good enough quality and enough pressure to power the application. If not done well, the pipes will not give sufficient air and may drive up your energy bill. Properly connected compressed air piping allows this flow to go through the cycle efficiently and effectively. 

Piping Layout Counts

You may already have a system set up, but is it in the right place? Layout matters when it comes to utilizing your piping system, especially the connectors. When the connectors are not properly placed, this can cause leaks; and little leaks cause big headaches. 

If the piping has sharp corners, then you may not be getting all the air that you need, or that you are paying for. If piping is in a more humid part of the building, this can cause erosion and rust, which clogs your pipes. Any obstructions to the piping are also a no-no. Just like your AC unit needs space to breathe, so do your pipes.

Pipe Sizing is Not Always the Same

Your pipe size is determined by that maximum air velocity of 19 ft/s in the main supply line. Most often, the piping is sized to the same diameter as the connection on the compressor outlet. This is not always the best case. Having the same diameter size can lead to excessive pressure loss and affect the efficiency of the compressor. 

Compressed Air Piping is Energy-efficient

Unlike traditional piping, compressed air piping is one of the most energy-efficient methodologies that offers an affordable, beneficial, and easily maintainable solution to your business. Traditional Piping is not known for its energy efficiency. This is due to the considerable leakages and loss of power that happens more frequently with these pipes, which are made of steel or copper, which makes it more difficult to trace and repair.

Time for Some Change

At 3C, we offer the best quality air piping solutions that will work for your business and reduce energy costs 30-50% within the first year. Don’t wait until that inevitable leak happens or that high bill comes through. We’ll make sure to work with you and help you get the best piping you can get!

Which Air Compressor Is Right For You?

Choosing the Right Air Compressor

Industries everywhere rely on air compressors to carry out a variety of functions, but not all compressors are the same. Here are some questions to ask yourself in order to determine which air compressor is right for you


How much air do I need?
Each tool or piece of equipment in your shop requiring compressed air to function should specify their exact CFM (cubic feet per minute) requirement, the units by which compressed air is measured. Use these numbers to find a compressor that has an output meeting or exceeding the requirements of your shop equipment.


What pressure do I need?
Similar to CFM requirements, your equipment should also specify its PSI (pounds per square inch) requirements. This will help you determine how much air pressure they need to function.


What kind of power source do I have?
Air compressors require a great deal of power, so it’s important to understand what kind of strain this will place on your electrical system (and power bill). Consult an electrician to determine the type and amount of electrical power available in your shop, and select a compressor that fits within those specifications.

Where will I keep it?
It’s important to ensure that you have adequate space for an air compressor in your shop, ideally in its own room. Compressors should have a roughly 3-foot radius to maintain ventilation and should be in an environment that maintains an ambient temperature and doesn’t get too hot or cold during periods of extreme weather.


Which compressor type is better suited for my purposes?
Do your research to determine whether you need a rotary or reciprocating compressor– take into consideration factors such as price, longevity, ease of use, duty cycle, and more before making your final decision.


Once you’ve gathered all this information, give us a call and we can assist in deciding which of our many air compressor options is right for you. Contact us, today.

Air Treatment Mythbusting, Pt. 2

air treatment myths and facts

We’re back to debunk another round of common air treatment myths and misconceptions! Read on to learn more about air contamination, dryer installation, and more:

Myth: Compressed air contamination is a compressor issue.

Fact: In a typical compressed air treatment system, contamination comes from three different sources, these being:

  1. Atmospheric air: Air compressors draw in huge amounts of atmospheric air, which continuously fills the system with contaminants such as water vapor, microorganisms, atmospheric dirt, and oil vapor.
  1. The air compressor: In addition to the contaminants drawn in through the compressor intake, the compressor also adds particulates from its operation. Additionally, oil lubricated compressors carry over liquid oil, oil aerosols, and oil vapor from the compression process. Once through the compression stage, the after-cooler will also condense water vapor. This introduces it into the compressed air in both a liquid and aerosol form.
  1. Compressed air storage devices and distribution piping: The air receiver (storage device) and the system piping that distributes the compressed air around the facility both store large amounts of contamination. Additionally, they cool the warm, saturated compressed air which causes condensation on a large scale. Thus, adding liquid water into the system. This saturated air and liquid water leads to corrosion, pipe scale, and microbiological growth.

Myth: Static oil water separators are not suitable for synthetic lubricants/PAGs. This is evident with cloudy outlet water.

Fact: Oil water separators are designed to reduce oil in water levels to acceptable limits. Some lubricants such as synthetics/PAGs also contain detergents and additives to extend the life of the compressor. Oil water separators are not designed to remove detergents and additives. Lab analysis needs to accurately determine oil in water content and not from visual inspection. Lab analysis of cloudy outlet water is the only way of accurately testing oil in water content to show whether or not it is within acceptable limits.

Myth: Any dryer (refrigerated or desiccant) can be installed outdoors.

Fact: A standard dryer design is for internal installation. However, many are often installed outside, with or without a lean-to roof. Outside installation is acceptable provided there is a lean-to roof with freeze/snow protection, blowing rain protection, and a roof/ceiling high enough to avoid hot air recirculation. We do no recommend outside installation of standard dryers with no roof.

In a case where outside installation without roof is a necessity, request an outdoor modification package including freeze protection, UV protection in paint, fasteners and electronics, and Nema 4 components throughout. A Nema 4 electrical enclosure alone is not sufficient for an outdoor setup without roof installation.

Myth: Most dryers do not provide dryness levels to the same levels quoted in sales literature.

Fact: Dryer installations often plague with a variety of mistakes which impact the level of compressed air dryness they provide. Classic installation mistakes are: 

  • Insufficient space above or in front of condenser air discharge, which causes recirculation and high pressure faults
  • Dramatic undersizing of dryers, forgetting that cooling water and ambient air in summer is at far higher temperatures than in winter
  • Insufficient power supplies, so the actual voltage is subject to tremendous dips, which can wreak havoc with dryer operation and performance.

Myth: Compressed air filters also dry compressed air.

Fact: Compressed air filters are capable of removing bulk liquid water and some water aerosol from compressed air. Compressed air filters are not capable of reducing the level of moisture vapor in compressed air. Nor do they reduce the pressure dew point of compressed air.

We hope this information helps those working with compressors to increase your understanding of your machines! We also hope we broke down all this air treatment myths you might’ve thought were true! Whether you’re looking to purchase a compressor or are in need of maintenance, 3C dedicates to educating our customers and providing quality service and products. Contact us for more information today!

What You Need to Know About Air Compressor Maintenance

Regular maintenance of your air compressor is a great way to save yourself time and money. Taking a few moments out of your day to ensure things are running smoothly can keep your machine from developing major issues down the road that could cost a lot to repair. Be sure to hang on to your owner’s manual so you can refer back to it while performing your maintenance checks! The manufacturer of your air compressor should be the authority on how to care for it and ensure its longevity. 

Using your manual, build out a maintenance schedule that looks something like this:

ProcedureDailyWeeklyMonthlyQuarterly 
Check pump oil levelX
Oil leak inspectionX
Drain water in tankX
Inspect odd noises/vibrationsX
Inspect air leaksX
Inspect beltsX
Check/Clean air filtersX
Check safety relief valveX
Check and tighten nuts and boltsX
Check connections for leaksX
Scheduled Maintenance Call 3C!

Make sure your schedule includes all the key points of compressor maintenance with a note of how frequently each item needs to occur– some inspections will need to be done more often due to the daily wear and tear of the machine, while others can be done monthly or quarterly. Following your checklist is the easiest way to ensure that you spot any problems early on and prevent minor issues from becoming major repairs in the future.  

Scheduled maintenance is more than just changing a few filters!  At 3C, we have an in-depth checklist covering all preventive and corrective maintenance to ensure that you are getting the most out of your investment with minimal downtime for your facility.

Is your compressor in need of professional maintenance? Request a quote today!

Air Treatment Mythbusting, Pt. 1

air compressor mythbusting pt 1

With the amount of information available on the internet about air treatment and compressors, it can be hard to decipher how much of it is actually true! This is where our expert mythbusting skills come into play! Here are some common myths and misconceptions about air treatment, debunked:

Mythbusting: Filter elements should only be changed when differential pressure (DP) is high.

Fact: Compressed air filtration improves air quality. DP gauges/indicators are blockage indicators, not air quality indicators. Change your filter elements annually to ensure your compressed air quality.

Myth: Coalescing filters are ONLY for oil removal.

Fact: Coalescing filters have an even higher capture rate with solid contaminants than with liquids.

Myth: Oil contamination is not present in atmospheric air.

Fact: Atmospheric air typically contains between 0.05mg/m3 and 0.5mg/m3 of oil vapor from sources such as car exhaust and industrial processes. Because oil-free compressors use large quantities of atmospheric air, which contains oil vapor that can cool and condense in the compressed air systems, the use of oil-free compressors does not guarantee oil-free air.

Myth: Liquid oil and oil aerosol are the only contaminants present in a compressed air system.

Fact: Generally, there are 10 contaminants found in a typical compressed air system that need to be removed or reduced for the system to run efficiently:

  • Water vapor
  • Liquid oil
  • Oil vapor
  • Rust/atmospheric dirt
  • Water aerosols
  • Microorganisms
  • Oil aerosols
  • Liquid water
  • Pipe scale

Liquid oil and oil aerosol. Those two contaminants introduced from a lubricant compressor. The purification equipment required to reduce or remove the remaining contaminants also removes liquid oil and oil aerosols by virtue of their operation. Therefore, regardless of the type of compressor installed, you need purification equipment.


And that’s all the mythbusting for today! At 3C, we believe in the importance of educating all air compressor owners and users so that they fully understand the machines they work with. Do you still have unanswered questions about air compressors or air treatment that you’d like solved? Contact us today!

Air Compressor 101

Air compressors can seem complicated at first! If you’re thinking about owning– or even renting– one, it’s a good idea to do some research beforehand to familiarize yourself with the machine. Here are some terms every air compressor owner should be familiar with.

Terms for you to Know

  • Cubic feet per minute (CFM): The volume of air that is able to pass through an opening in one minute.
  • Duty cycle: Amount of time that a compressor can operate at full load before needing to unload/turn off.
  • Filter efficiency: The rate at which a filter can remove particles from an air flow.
  • Kick-in pressure: Factory-set low pressure point of the pressure switch that starts the compressor in order to re-pressurize the tank.
  • Kick-out pressure: Factory-set high pressure point of the pressure switch that stops the compressor from increasing the pressure in the tank above a certain level.
  • Load time: The time it takes for a compressor to go from load to unload.
  • Oil-free compressor: Air compressor that has no oil inserted into the compression chamber for lubrication, cooling or sealing. Typically used in the medical and food processing field.
  • Pneumatic: Related to the movement of air.
  • Pneumatic power: Compressed air power.
  • Point of use: An outlet in a building used to connect tools or equipment to the air compressor system.
  • Pounds per square inch (PSI): A unit of measurement referring to the pressure applied on one square inch of an object’s surface.
  • Preventative maintenance (PM): A maintenance program performed on a fixed schedule that includes compressor service as well as routine repair and replacement of parts.
  • Purging: The elimination of undesired gas or liquid from a system.
  • Receiver: Generally a tank used for storage of compressed air. Oftentimes in large air compressor systems there can be a primary and secondary receiver.
  • Reciprocating compressor: A reciprocating compressor uses pistons driven by a crankshaft to deliver air at high pressure.
  • Rotary screw compressor: A compressor that utilizes two intermeshing helical rotors to trap a volume of air, then compress it to a higher pressure. Rotary screw compressors can be run for 24 hours per day, 365 days a year.
  • Single stage: A compressor in which the air is compressed from initial pressure to final pressure in one step.

Have Questions?

Learning these terms will allow you to feel more confident when discussing your compressor, whether it’s during day-to-day operations or when talking to a repair person. Have any questions? Give us a call at a 3C office near you!

San Antonio: (830) 420-3630

Austin: (512) 244-9074

Corpus Christi: (361) 452-2749

What’s The Difference Between a Reciprocating Air Compressor and a Rotary Screw?

rotary screw vs. reciprocating air compressor

rotary screw compressor texas

Rotary Screw air compressors should only be utilized in applications that have a constant demand of air throughout the day.  Rotary Screw compressors are meant for a high duty cycle.  They will run loaded while building your air pressure to the preset pressure programmed into the controller when ordered.  Once that pressure is achieved it will unload until your demand increases and go through the load cycle again. Rotary Screw units run quieter than a reciprocating unit, but do require more maintenance over the life of the machine.

piston air compressor texas

Reciprocating air compressors are to be used when there is not a constant demand for air throughout the day.  They feature pistons that compress air and are considered dependable because they tend to require less maintenance, are efficient in operation, and provide sufficient air flow for intermittent usage when sized properly with an air receiver. They are very flexible in the type of applications they are suited for, however we usually only recommend reciprocating compressors for applications that require less than 60% duty cycle. 

As Texas’ most trusted air compressor experts, we are always ready to help you assess your business needs and recommend the perfect air compressor solutions. Give us a call for a free quote today! 

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8 Things You Must Know When Buying an Air Compressor

what to know when buying an air compressor

8 Things You Must Know When Buying an Air Compressor

Most people searching for an air compressor know exactly what they need the air compressor to do. What they may not know is what specific industry standards the air compressor should meet. When shopping for an air compressor, you need to ensure that your new machine can keep up with your business. Here are the 8 things you need to consider and ask your 3C sales representative about:

1. Electrical Requirements

An electrical schematic and electrical data sheet should be reviewed and power verified before any air compressor purchase.  You need to have the proper breaker/disconnect rated for the amperage requirements for the electric motor (motors) running your compressor.  You also need to verify the wiring that is running from your breaker/disconnect is rated for the electrical demand.  If you are moving up in compressor size due to expansion, it isn’t always as simple as removing your old machine and installing new.

2. Single Stage or Two Stage Reciprocating Air Compressors

The cylinders of a single-stage air compressor pump air directly into the tank, whereas in a two-stage air compressor, the air is pumped from one cylinder to the other before it enters the tank. The primary reason for purchasing a two-stage compressor is for high-pressure air because as the air travels from one cylinder to the next, the pressure nearly doubles.  Pressure achieved through most single-stage compressors is normally 90-130 psi.  When changing to 2 Stage, you typically need 150-250 psi.  The most common 2 Stage machine we offer at 3C has a cut in pressure of 145 psi and cut out pressure of 175 psi, with units capable of up to 250 psi.

3. Compressed Air Storage

Tank sizes are measured by the gallon but the size of the tank has nothing to do with how much air your machine will produce. If your machine has the proper motor and pump, then you should never run out of air. Tank size is of importance depending on how your machine will be used.  In peak demand times, it is important to have additional storage.  Most air compressors are offered tank mounted up to 30-50hp.  If additional storage (larger tank, or remote tank downstream at usage point) is needed please schedule a site visit with one of our representatives. In that meeting, we’ll discuss your needs and size accordingly.

4. Air Pressure (PSI)

Air pressure is rated at pounds per square inch (PSI).  Depending on your application, your PSI required can vary.  Air Tools are most commonly rated for 90 psi. With air tools, size your machine for 125 psi to account for pressure loss between your compressor and usage point.  It also doesn’t hurt to have a few extra atmospheres in storage. Just be careful on having too much PSI.  The higher the pressure, the higher the electric bill.

5. Cubic Feet Per Minute (CFM)

This is the most common  metric used to calculate the volume of air leaving the air compressor. Keep in mind that the CFM can change based on the PSI used for the job. If it is not stated on the machine, you can estimate getting about 3-4 CFM per HP out of  your machine at 100 psi.

6. Duty Cycle

This is a measurement used to indicate how many minutes, out of a 10-minute period, your air compressor can run continuously. The duty cycle is usually expressed as a percentage. For example, a 50% duty cycle compressor can run for 5 out of 10 minutes continuously. Not abiding by the duty cycle recommended can have multiple effects on your investment.  If you undersize your compressor, it will cause your machine to run too often, pass oil, over heat, etc.  If you oversize your compressor, it will cause your machine to not run hot enough, condensation can form in your oil, etc.  It is important to know and understand the duty cycle. The duty cycle directly impacts how much you can get done on a day-to-day basis with your air compressor. A 75% duty cycle is the average for an industrial compressor, but some may run at 100%, meaning it is okay to use continuously.

7. Desiccant Dryers and Refrigerated Dryers

Moisture problems should be avoided at all costs! They deteriorate your equipment and cause the need for expensive repairs.  There are ways to eliminate moisture from your discharge air depending on the dewpoint that you need to achieve.  Make sure that you have the proper inline filtration paired with your dryer to ensure top performance. Refrigerated Dryers use a cooling process to drop your air temperature. This causes the moisture in the air to form and be eliminated.  The air temperature is then brought back up upon leaving the dryer.  The average dew point achieved with a Refrigerated Dryer is 37-39 degrees F.  If you need to achieve a lower dew point, then you need a Desiccant Dryer.  Most desiccant dryers use activated alumina in a chemical process that absorbs moisture from the air. This process achieves a -40 degree dew point.  The moisture absorbed is then purged from the dryer.  You can find all the dryers we have available here. Talk to your 3C representative to find out which would pair best with your machine.

8. Service After the Sale

Make sure that you purchase a unit that contains the local support team in place after the sale. This is to ensure your maintenance and repair needs.  All air compressors will need routine maintenance and at some point corrective maintenance.  During these periods you will have downtime.  Choose a compressor that contains local support and access to the parts needed to keep downtime to a minimum. Our experts at 3C are happy to walk you through all your air compressor options. We pride ourselves on personalizing every piece of equipment we sell to ensure you are getting the highest quality machines best suited for your business applications. Our goal is to always provide you with the greatest lifetime value and lowest lifetime cost. Once you purchase your air compressor with us, we become an extension of your business. We are available to you 24/7 for repairs, maintenance, and emergency air compressor rentals. You can even finance your equipment with us! Contact us to discuss your business needs and for a free quote!

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Industry Spotlight: Is Clean And Consistent Compressed Air Exclusive To The Healthcare Industry? What It Means To Be A High-Quality Machine.

health care

Air compressors are used in many different industries, in a variety of ways. In the healthcare industry, air compressors play a significant role in the health of patients and the cleanliness of facilities. To be labeled useful in healthcare, air compressors must submit to regulations and tests. Medical grade air compressors can also be used for many jobs outside of the medical industry. Purchasing an air compressor? It’s important for you to understand how air compressors are deemed worthy of use in the medical field and what there codes of compliance mean.

Oil-less Air Compressors 

Medical air is used in basically every department in a hospital. Patients who need anesthesia, require a ventilator, and inhaled medications are amongst the most critical uses for compressed air in the hospital. Because we are often providing help and air to sick patients, it is very important that the air being used is completely particle-free. The most basic requirement for an air compressor in the medical industry is it must not use any oil. This requirement is the baseline for this piece of machinery to be considered for use in a hospital because it eliminates any chances of cross-contamination with oil. 

Purified Air

The NFPA 99 is a book that outlines the restrictions and standards that must be met in order for any piece of equipment to be deemed “medical grade”. Medical air compressors must comply with Table 1 of the NFPA 99 book. Table 1 identifies the concentration of purity required for medical gases. All odor, water, carbon monoxide, and gas must be monitored and non-transmittable to ill patients when using the equipment. In order to protect patients from gases and other outside contaminants, medical air compressors must use a medical-grade air filter that should be routinely changed. If optimal clean air is a priority to you when purchasing a medical air compressor, it is important that you test and maintain your compressors based on the equipment manufacturer’s recommendations. 

 

Air Pressure

According to NFPA 99 regulations, medical air produced by air compressors should have the ability to provide air pressure at 100 PSIG and should be able to lower down to 55 PSIG. This great range of pressure allow for applications ranging from minimal health risk applications to high health risk applications. If you want to prevent high air pressure in your medical air compressors you may and we recommend setting alarms to trigger when the following events occur: 

  • System pressure exceeds 39 degrees Fahrenheit 
  • Carbon monoxide level exceeds 10 PPM
  • Activation of a reserve pump
  • Motor overload 
  • Activation of a reserve transformer

Overall

Although purchasing high-quality air compressors may be expensive, it will be a great investment in the long run. As mentioned above, medical air compressors are not restricted to only healthcare use. They may also be used for applications such as car painting, food packaging, and much more. Medical air compressors are the most reliable source of clean and consistent compressed air. 3C recommends considering these high-quality machines if you are a user that is looking for immaculate reliability and precision.

At 3C Industrial, we value putting the needs of our customers before anything else. If you’re ready to purchase an air compressor or have any questions, please feel free to contact us today! 361-452-2749

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