Talk about extremes. We’ve already explored the challenges of a frozen air compressor this month. Now we’re at the other end of the spectrum.
High temperatures are never good news for an air compressor. The act of compressing air creates heat (just think of how hot the nozzle of your air tool or joints in the pipework can get) so inviting even more heat into the equation is never a great idea.
That heat can come from numerous sources, including the ambient temperature, or from clogged and dirty parts which can restrict airflow and add to friction.
The problems with hot air
An air compressor that runs too hot too long creates lots of issues. Most obviously, it can overheat and breakdown. Yet often before that happens, damage will have been caused in a variety of other ways. Many air tools need cool, clean air. Hot air creates moisture and moisture causes rust when it remains in the machine, and can ruin end products when it’s spat out of the air tool. That would have been particularly damaging in this case as the businesses dealt with food containers. Keeping them contaminant-free was essential.
Keeping the air cool and dry is aided by refrigerant driers, but these can only operate effectively within certain tolerances. Like blowing a hairdryer into your refrigerator at home, when the air’s just too hot, attempts at cooling simply won’t work.
And then there’s the issue of wear. An air compressor that’s running hot is working harder than it should. That means it will burn though its oil coolant faster, and parts are likely to wear quicker. So in addition to risking breakdown, it’ll be costing you more to run.
Taking the heat off
Our client was running two air compressors, one 75kW and one 45kW, that had been in place for around seven years. Naturally, taking both offline at the same time wasn’t an option as that would have meant production downtime. So instead we hired out a 55kW air compressor to take the place of each compressor as we removed it for maintenance.
Once the rental unit was in place we decommissioned the 75kW air compressor, removed it from site and stripped it down for a full chemical clean. Once the clean was finished we put everything back together and reinstalled it on site, before repeating the process with the 45kW air compressor.
The process took several days, but all the while our 55kW compressor was ensuring that the company always had the cool, clean air power it needed.