New Developments in Air Compressors

CIM Bulletin, 1972

D. C. CROTHERS, Chief Engineer - Process Group, Canadian Ingersoll-Rand Co. Ltd., Montreal, Que.

What is new in air compressors? A good deal - the designers have been keeping pace with technical developments in related fields and also contributing new techniques of their own. Plant reliability no longer requires bulky slow-speed machines. Even the reciprocating machines, which still provide the most efficient method of compressing air, have been greatly reduced in size and installation cost for a given capacity rating. New materials and fabrication techniques are being used, by most manufacturers, to produce less costly plants in total. Many packaged plants are available, which generally means a more complete assembly for shipment. This type of construction offers savings in handling and erection costs at the site. A warning is in order, however - the extent of packaging in any given plant should be investigated carefully to determine what is included and just what field costs can be realized. A suggested specification has been offered for consideration when studying comparative costs. Rotating machines intrigue many because of their potential as regard fewer wearing parts, higher speeds and hence smaller units, utilizing less expensive drivers, and lack of contamination of the compressed air by lubricants. The inherent shortcomings of these machmes - lower efficiency and capacity control - have been much improved lately, and this type of plant is now becoming quite popular. Noise control, of much concern to everyone, is another development that has received considerable attention. Systems for efficient capacity control and continuous monitoring o.f compressor operation offer additional reliability and low-cost operation of the modern compressed air plant. Accessory equipment and its effect on over-all plant operation is also considered.
Keywords: aftercooler, reciprocating compressor, noise control, Ingersoll-Rand, air compressors