How much air power do you need?

Whether you’re a small workshop running a single air tool, or a large manufacturing business running an entire factory floor’s worth of tools from an industrial compressor, there’s one simple fact of life in choosing the right equipment for the job. You need to be able to generate more air power than your tools require.

But how do you calculate the required air for your application(s) without overengineering things to such an extent that you end up paying to generate airflow you don’t need?

Follow these steps as a general guide only. For specific applications, call us first:

Q: Are you running one tool at a time from your air compressor, or several?
If you’ll be running one tool at a time, check the required CFM (cubic feet per minute) ratings of each of the air tools you’ll be planning to use. You’ll find the information in product descriptions (if you haven’t yet bought the tools) or in the instructions (if you have). For the purposes of this exercise, go with the highest CFM figure.

If you’ll be running more than one tool from the same compressor, you’ll need to add all the CFM figures together and multiply by 1.2 to account for the power loss inherent in running more than one tool simultaneously.

Q: Will you be running tools continuously?
The CFM ratings you’re working to will usually be averages, calculated on the assumption you’ll be using air compressor power in short bursts. That’s fine if you’re powering something like a nail gun, but not if you’re running something continuously, such as a conveyor belt.

So for tools requiring continuous running, multiply their CFMs by 4.

Q: Are you using extension hoses?
The closer you can place the tool to the air compressor, the less chance there is of losing any significant amount of air flow through hoses, connectors, filters etc. If you’re operating on a large scale, with tools some distance from the central compressor, you’ll need to factor in airflow lost over distance.

As that figure will vary depending on the hoses and connectors used, call us on 0114 243 2347 for help in calculating your requirements.

Tank size?
Now, you should have a CFM figure, telling you how much air flow you’ll need to be able to produce. To equate that to air compressor tank size, multiply the figure by 6, and opt for the air compressor with the tank size that meets or is closest to (but above) it.

Need help finding the right air compressor for your application? Talk to Algar Air’s engineers now on 0114 243 2347, or contact us.

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