Air Compressor MaintenanceStratson
Air compressors do more than provide air for the low tire on your car. They are a major piece of equipment in most manufacturing, processing, and production facilities. You will find them in repair shops, farms, and dentist offices just to name a few. All of them need routine maintenance to keep them in top working order. Air compressor maintenance is essential for your daily operations.
Air Compressor Maintenance
First, check the owner’s manual, there you will find a list of critical items that need periodic attention and how often they should be checked. Many manuals are now available on-line if a hard copy is not readily available.
Air compressors vibrate; nuts, bolts, fasteners, and connections will come loose and should be checked at least monthly to make sure they are tight. If you can move a nut or bolt with your fingers, it’s time to grab some tools. Be careful not to over tighten as you may strip the threads.
For an air compressor to operate correctly and at full capacity it must be able to intake air easily. Air intake vents and valves should be cleaned regularly, the dirtier the environment the more frequently they must be cleaned. Any dust, dirt, powders, etc. in the area will be found in the intake vents. If the air vents are clogged, the compressor must work harder and will run hotter, shortening its life. Along with intake vents, the air filters must be regularly changed or cleaned.
If air is piped to different areas of the facility the lines should be checked at least semi-annually for leaks. Air leaks cost you money as you have air pressure that is not being used and reduced pressure may slow down a process or production.
Hoses need special attention, they need to be strong and tight, yet loose and flexible. They get run over, stepped upon, dragged through whatever is on the floor, and generally mistreated. They transfer air pressure from a supply line to pneumatic tools and moving equipment, cracks and contaminates will lead to breakage and loss of production and possibly injury.
Compressors will have an air storage tank to aid with maintaining constant pressure. As there is moisture in the air, it will condense in the bottom of the air tank. If it is not drained regularly it will lead to rust in the tanks and eventual leakage, pressure loss and unscheduled downtime. If water levels become high enough it can travel with the air to the equipment and cause rusting, erratic operation, invite biological infestation which will cause bad odors and line plugging.
Most compressors will have an auto-shut off system to protect the unit from overheating. These vary with brand so check your owner’s manual for instructions on how to properly maintain the system. Locations with high humidity are more vulnerable due to higher ambient air temperature.
Some compressors do not use oil, the rest require top -offs, oil changes and oil filter changes. Modern compressor oil is more oxidatively stable, so they last 8,000 to 10,000 hours before they need to be changed. In dirty conditions, hot operations, and other special situations, used oil analysis is recommend between routine oil changes.
If the compressor has an air/ water separator, it needs to be cleaned regularly. It can get oil-corrupted and fail. A pressure gauge should be installed prior to and after the separator, if there is more than a 10-psi difference in pressure the separator is plugging and could cause unscheduled shut down.
The pressure relief valve on the tank should be checked to make sure it has not popped. If it has the tank needs to be drained of air in order to reset properly.
Other things to check are;
- Belts and pulleys
- Air driers
- Oil levels
- Gas or diesel engines on remote units.
Modern air compressors have several safety features, filters, and maintenance requirements to keep them operating at maximum efficiency.
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Whenever you have any questions regarding Air Compressor Maintenance, please contact us.
“keep it running…!”