Why Your Compressor Needs 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!

Air Compressor Preventive Maintenance – What All Does it Entail?

Air Compressor Preventive Maintenance

Preventive Maintenance is an essential part of keeping your air compressor running at optimal levels. Although PM can seem costly if you aren’t used to regularly servicing your compressor, the biggest expense you face is downtime should your equipment fail. What exactly is included in a PM service? 

There are two intervals at which you should get your compressor serviced: quarterly and annually. Read below for a breakdown of what happens at each:

Quarterly

  • Change Air and Oil Filters: regular maintenance of filtration improves oil quality to ensure extended life of your air compressor.

  • Perform In-depth Multi-point Checklist – a full inspection of the equipment. Check for things such as exposed wires and loose fittings. We bring recommended corrective maintenance to the forefront and inform the customer of any needed repairs.
  • Blowout Coolers – without proper airflow across air and oil coolers, there can be a negative impact on the operating air temperature. Increased air temperature can lead to breakdown of oil and possible machinery failure due to high-temp shutdown. Failure = downtime.
  • Oil Samples – as needed per manufacturer warranty requirements.
  • Clean Compressor Area – ensure the compressor region is free of debris that can get sucked into the air intake filter.

Annually

  • All services included in Quarterly Preventive Maintenance.
  • Change Compressor Oil – people think they can run their compressors for a certain length of time based on oil type (i.e. an 8,000 hourr oil can run for four years if using 2,000 hours/year). While this is true if the equipment is running at perfect factory settings, such as 0% humidity, 70° ambient temp, most compressors are typically housed outdoors under awnings. Although they are protected from the elements, they aren’t protected from Texas temperatures.
  • Change air oil separator – help prevent oil carryover problems.

At 3C Industrial it is our goal to help save you significant time and resources by taking proactive measures to ensure your equipment is taken care of. Keep your air compressors running smoothly with Preventive Maintenance. Invest in protecting your equipment and your business from downtime. Schedule your PM today.

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!

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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