Drying Without the Desiccant?

Air Compressor Dryer System

If you work in food manufacturing, your air compressor almost certainly uses a desiccant dryer rather than the refrigerated alternative. That’s because in food production, it’s critical to keep moisture as far away from the manufacturing process as possible.

A refrigerated dryer chills water vapour to its dewpoint, so it can easily be drained from the system, but it’s not suitable for operations requiring extremely dry air. Nor is it the right option for circuits operating in sub-freezing temperatures.

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Desiccant dryers for food manufacturing

Desiccant dryers absorb moisture, so they’re far more effective in freezing conditions and they’re much better at scrubbing the moisture from the air used in food manufacturing systems. If there’s a downside, it’s that they cost a little more initially, they can be energy intensive and the desiccant needs replacing every few years. But those negatives could be set to be removed by a new type of dryer which, once it reaches the UK market, could eliminate the need for desiccant whilst remaining suitable for some food production applications.

The subfreezing dryer isn’t appropriate for all forms of food manufacturing – but it is appropriate for Class 3 applications. As Food Engineering explains, the dryer takes elements from existing dryer technology and combines them.

Drying without desiccant

First is a regenerative dryer with two drying chambers. The first dries the air, while the other regenerates and removes stored moisture. Next, a heat-of-compression (HOC) dryer uses the heat from the compressor to regenerate without wasting any compressed air through purging compressed air. This keeps the dryer highly efficient. Finally, a refrigerated dryer uses refrigerant to dry, which reduces maintenance requirements.

The result is a dryer which should be able to deliver air dried to Class 3 standards, but which will cost less in terms of initial purchase, operation and maintenance.

When the new technology becomes available we’ll let you know. In the meantime, to explore the current new technology that can protect the performance whilst reducing the running costs of your compressed air system, talk to us on 0114 243 2347.

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Energy Efficiency & Your Air Compressor – Air Quality

Range of Air Compressors

There’s no one single way to improve the energy efficiency of your air compressor. Whilst it may be tempting to assume that buying new equipment is the only way to achieve efficiency savings, in reality there are lots of other low and no-cost measures that can have just as great an impact. Amongst those measures is optimising the air your compressor uses in the following ways:

Temperature: Air temperature matters in an air compressor. The warmer the air the denser it becomes and the greater the energy required to compress it. Keeping the intake air cool gives an immediate boost to your compressor, although it’s important to ensure you strike the right temperature balance. Cool is good. Freezing definitely isn’t.

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Humidity: Your average air compressor produces plenty of moisture on its own without compounding the problem by sucking moist air into the system too. Once within the system, moisture damages efficiency by causing pressure drops and increasing the energy required to push heavy, moisture-laden air around. And that’s before we get to the increased risk of rust, leaks, reduced storage capacity and damage to the products being manufactured or finished. Place a dehumidifier near your compressor intake to help alleviate the issue.

Clean air: The quality of the air entering the compressed air system can have a direct effect on the energy consumption of the compressor. Contaminant-filled air requires greater energy to compress. And it clogs filters faster, reducing airflow and increasing pressure drops (which usually leads to the operating pressure being increased, which consumes even more power).

The siting of the compressor is critical to ensuring a supply of clean air. On a dirty, dust filled manufacturing floor, the compressor may benefit from its own screened area which limits exposure to contaminants. There is a balance to be struck. Selecting a clean, discreet area some distance from the production area could replace dirty air problems with pressure drops caused by the compressor’s distance from the point of use. Talk to an expert about the optimal siting of your compressor.

For equipment, system design and maintenance to help your air compressor run more efficiently, talk to us on 0114 243 2347.

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Will Reducing Pressure Make My Compressor More Efficient?

Air Compressor Control Valve

Yes: lowering your air compressor’s pressure will make it more efficient. But there are two rather large caveats to that. The first, as we explored recently in this post, was that reducing the pressure intentionally is only really viable once you’ve eliminated unintentional pressure drops. That’s because maintaining a relatively low operating pressure that’s subject to further drops will leave you without the air power you need.

The second ‘but’ is that whilst lowering the pressure produces greater efficiency, you need to achieve precisely the right balance of efficiency and air power if you’re not to sacrifice performance.

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The effect of lowering air pressure

The higher the pressure the harder your air compressor needs to work to deliver it. As a rule of thumb, every reduction of 2psi will cut the energy the compressor uses by 1%. That may not sound like much, but compressed air typically counts for 10%-30% of a business’s energy spend. In a compressor that’s operating virtually all day every day, the savings can be significant.

Additionally, lower pressure means a lower flow rate at leak points. Ideally, of course, you wouldn’t have any leaks, but operating at a lower pressure would at least ensure they are less costly.

How to lower the pressure

The key is making small, incremental drops each day and assessing the effect. At the point at which you encounter problems, nudge the pressure back up a couple of psi and that should be the sweet spot between pressure and efficiency. That’s hardly a scientific approach, of course, so for expert help in optimising your system talk to us.

Does it make a difference?

You’d be surprised at what we encounter. Compressed air systems running at pressures far beyond anything the business requires can cost businesses dearly in terms of energy costs and wear, so it really is worth investigating.

For equipment, system design and maintenance to help your air compressor run more efficiently, talk to us on 0114 243 2347.

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Energy Efficiency & Your Air Compressor – Pressure Drops

Air Compressor Pressure Gauges

Pressure drops can be a key factor in the (lack of) efficiency of your compressed air system. They are a natural element of any system and you’ll never eradicate them entirely, but often the instinctive reaction to excessive drops is to increase the pressure, which increases energy usage without resolving the underlying issues. So before you turn the pressure up, ensure you’ve driven down the drops. Here’s how:

Clean air: Dirt and moisture within a compressed air system increases the risk of pressure drops. Ensure you make effective use of driers and filters and keep a regular maintenance schedule to ensure they keep performing.

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System design: There are two elements to this. First, air which has to travel large distances between compressor and air tool is likely to suffer the greatest pressure drop. Second, even a compact system will risk large pressure drops where piping and ducting is inadequate. To solve the problem, choose professional air compressor system design to minimise distances, reduce the number of bottlenecks within the ducting, and ensure pipework is suitable for maximum airflow rates, not mere averages.

Equipment choice: Not all dryers, filters, aftercoolers and separators are the same. Some will result in a greater pressure drop than others. Whilst all the above will result in some pressure decrease (7 psid is typical) there can be a significant variance in the best and worst performing products. Talk to an expert about the right equipment for your system.

It may seem counter-intuitive, but compressed air equipment will produce best results when operating at its lowest efficient operating pressure. Maintaining that low level is only possible when you’ve minimised pressure drops, because when the drops are too great, the operating pressure will fall below that required to effectively operate the equipment at the end of the air lines.

But when you do reduce the pressure drops, you’ll find you can run your compressed air system at a lower pressure – and in any business using large quantities of air, the energy savings that follow from that can be significant.

For equipment, system design and maintenance to help your air compressor run more efficiently, talk to us on 0114 243 2347.

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Saving Yorkshire Wildlife Trust time and money

Range of Air Compressors

For more than 70 years, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust (YWT) has been protecting and nurturing Yorkshire’s wild places. On land and at sea, YWT maintains more than 100 nature reserves and, as you might imagine, caring for that much land takes a lot of time, effort and equipment – including air compressors.

The charity’s air compressors perform a wide range of tasks, from powering sprayers, washers and water pumps to keeping the trust’s vehicle tyres inflated. For any organisation, taking time out for compressors to be tested and assessed for compliance is a necessary, if not altogether welcome fact of life. But for a charity, that time costs money that only comes from funds raised – and naturally, YWT would prefer to spend more of its money on wildlife protection, and less on air compressor compliance. So we ensured they could.

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Compressing the compressors

The charity uses numerous compressors, spread across its estate. Each needed testing and servicing and each needed a written scheme of work detailing the nature of the equipment and how and when it should be tested. That required the services of an ultrasound testing engineer, a chartered engineer and Algar Air’s engineers. Asking each engineer to tour the estate checking on each compressor would have been prohibitively expensive – so we worked with YWT to devise a far more cost effective alternative.

Rather than us visiting the compressors, the compressors would be brought together in one space, where they could all be tested, serviced and certified in one simple exercise. That required YWT to carefully manage the logistics of bringing every compressor together on one day, but it dramatically cut costs, reduced delay, and proved to be the simplest and most efficient way of ensuring the entire organisation’s air compressors were safe and compliant.

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Flexing to your needs

Speaking about the exercise, Mike Hewitt, Support Services Manager for YWT said, “Algar Air flexed to our needs and Jenny was extremely helpful in organising for the written schemes of examination, servicing and testing of our compressors to be carried out at a single location and all on the same day. This coordination ensured that everything ran very smoothly. The technicians were friendly, courteous and everything was carried out efficiently. Thank you to all concerned.”

If the standard approach to servicing and certifying your air compressors doesn’t fit with the way you work, talk to us about finding ways that do. Call us now on 0114 243 2347.

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Compressed air for rail

Boge 25 Oil Lubricated Screw Compressor

You may not think about it as you travel Britain’s rail network, but the rails on which you’re travelling all need connecting. That’s the job of a fish plate or joint bar, a rectangular metal plate which is bolted to two connecting pieces of track. But traditional fishplates have a problem – they rarely last as long as the rails to which they are connected, and replacement means cost, time and often passenger inconvenience.

Hird Rail Development believed they could produce a better quality and standard of insulated fishplate than the one they were being supplied with, so they began a process of sourcing different steels, epoxy liners and glues to create fish plates that were then subjected to the strength tests required to meet UK and Dutch rail standards. After years of development and 15 million cycle tests, the result is a joint that has withstood more cycles than any other competitor, a joint designed to last as long as the rails it connects. Hence its name: STB, or Simply The Best.

The air power behind STB

Proving a concept is one thing. Manufacturing to the volumes and standards required is another. That’s why Hird Rail contacted Algar Air to develop a compressed air system capable of powering the manufacturing processes at its Doncaster plant.

At the heart of the system is a Boge C25 oil lubricated screw compressor. It’s a natural choice for when large volumes of compressed air are required, packing huge efficiency and quiet running into a surprisingly compact compressor.

With air receiver, dryer and oil separator, the system is enabling Hird to produce a fish plate designed to suit all European sleeper spacing configurations.

Talking about the project, Wayne Broadhead, Project Manager at Hird Rail Development said, “I’d like to thank Algar Air for their co-operation and professionalism during and after the installation of the compressor in our new factory at Lakeside, Doncaster. Extremely helpful staff and prompt service.”

To explore how we can help you power your manufacturing processes, call us now on 0114 243 2347.

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Spray painting an oil drill

Over the years, our air compressors have powered lots of paint sprayers in a wide range of indus-trial (and other) settings. They’ve been spraying cars, walls, and even coating foods and pharma-ceuticals. But a recent air compressor installation was designed to feed a paint pump of a different scale.

The client had been using a prior pump to add a protective coating to oil boring drills via flexible hose. The new compressor was to be installed away from the spraying bay, which required our en-gineers to break into the ring main and run galvanised pipework to the paint pump. The new sys-tem would create a more robust and reliable system for delivering the paint, ensuring optimal air flow and, in turn, a more consistent paint finish.

As ever, we agreed the strategy with the client before we started work, and ensured work was completed in the time we promised.

Paint Pump Galvanised Pipework Installation Paint Pump Galvanised Pipework Installation

However your business uses air power, let Algar Air help you use it better. Call us now on 0114 243 2347.

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The ducting upgrade solution

It’s often the case that problems with air flow aren’t the fault of the air compressor. Ductwork is a vital yet often overlooked part of the system. Too narrow a duct, too many tight angles or too many junctions can restrict air flow, creating pinch points that affect the performance of the air tool.

The same principle applies to all ductwork, whether it is supporting an air compressor or an extraction system. So when one of our regular clients contacted us about problems with the extractor unit that removed dust from their circular saw, we were only too happy to help.

Once onsite, our engineers’ inspection revealed the problem was not with the extraction fan, but with the ductwork. The volume of suction was simply too great for the existing duct to cope with, and dust extraction levels had dipped as a result.

Eclipse Ducting Upgrade Solution

We agreed to upgrade the ductwork and installed test points that would monitor suction levels in the future to prevent the same problem arising again. We also agreed the location of, and installed, inspection hatches in the ductwork of a nearby CNC machine.

Eclipse Ducting Upgrade Solution

The ‘go to’ air people

We are proud of the fact that we are the ‘go to’ supplier for all things air related for this client, and as ever we completed the work to the agreed time scales, to the customer’s satisfaction and in compliance with the appropriate standards, which in this case were the Pressure Safety Systems Regulations 2011 including a written scheme of examination, testing of the air receiver; servicing & maintenance of their air compressors and associated equipment.

On completion of the work, David Smith, General Manager Purchasing, had this to say about us:

“We have developed a professional working relationship with Algar Air due their high standards and great workmanship. You need to be able to trust your suppliers to do what they say they will, and this has always been delivered by everyone at Algar Air. They are our go-to supplier and have consistently delivered both on cost and quality. All the staff are friendly and approachable and clearly at the top of their game. I look forward to enhancing the relationship in the future.”

If that’s the sort of relationship you would value with your air power and ductwork supplier, talk to us on 0114 243 2347.

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The air compressor in the bus station

Ducts serve a number of purposes in any building, but one of the most vital is that in the event of a fire they can help channel smoke away from occupied areas of a building. The challenge comes when a building loses power, because you need the vents to remain open.

NUAIR 4.4kw Air Compressor

That was our reason for installing a new 4.4kw Tandem Air Compressor in a bus station recently. The compressor controls the vents at the roof, but operates counter-intuitively. The default position is for the vents to be open at all times. The compressor is used to close them. Should the power fail, the compressor stops, enabling the vents open like a flower and vent smoke and fumes away from occupied parts of the building.

We were asked to supply, install and commission the new air compressor, which is fully operational and now helping to keep the bus station’s staff and passengers safe.

NUAIR Air Compressor in Bus Station

Need help in choosing the right air compressor for your application? Talk to Algar Air, the compressed air specialists, on 0114 243 2347, or contact us.

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When air compressor engineering becomes so much more

Air compressor engineering is an unusual expertise. It’s unusual because it involves so many skills. Over the course of a single compressed air system installation our engineers will typically apply electrical, plumbing, joinery, pipe and ductwork and project management skills. So when, as frequently happens, a client presents us with a “can you just…?” challenge completely unrelate to compressed air, the answer is usually “yes we can”.

Engineer With White Safety Hard Hat

Almost exactly a year ago, we covered the story of what happened when a longstanding prosthetics and orthotics client needed help in assembling a ramp for testing prosthetic legs on gradients. It was a perfect example of a relationship that still has air compressor maintenance at its core, but has expanded to include so much more.

Recently, we were back again, helping the client recover from a flood. Ironically, the air compressor was one of the few items unaffected when an upstairs toilet malfunctioned, flooding the lab below. To make matters even more frustrating for the client, this happened over a bank holiday weekend – but we were on hand to help.

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The Sunday and Monday were spent on a (literal) mop up operation. We identified the problem and isolated it and started the process of salvaging what we could and ripping out damaged equipment, carpet and ceiling tiles.

Over the following week we repaired the toilet, replaced ceiling tiles, replaced carpet and more to put the lab back in the condition it had been prior to the flood.

There was downtime – the flood was too great for there to be no impact on the business. But by acting swiftly we were able to limit the damage caused, which enabled us to have the lab back up and running far sooner that might otherwise have been the case.

And besides, who needs bank holidays anyway?

If you need help with your compressed air system – or general on-site maintenance, electrical installations and more, talk to us on 0114 243 2347, or contact us.

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*Please note photos are for illustrative purposes only – we may not stock / provide these exact models.

The air compressor that lost its cool

Earlier this year we were called out to one of our client’s air compressors which, the client told us, was running hot. This was February and the temperature outside was -8° C to -10° C – not exactly the obvious time to find a compressor overheating.

When our engineers arrived on site, they quickly realised that the compressor coolant had vanished, a problem caused by one of the cooling fans taking a flying trip into the cooler, damaging a number of cooling tubes from which the coolant had drained.

Large Portable Diesel Compressor on Van

We quickly arranged for a large portable diesel compressor to be delivered to site and connected it so that our client could get back into production.

We then set about locating a portable Air Blast Cooler capable of cooling the glycol (antifreeze) required for the compressor, which we brought in on hire.

There was only one slight drawback to this: we had to site the cooler inside the factory, which meant that we would have to remove a part of the side of the building to put it in place. With assistance from the client’s engineering staff we manoeuvred the cooler into position. Once in the building we were able to modify the pipework, fill the unit and the compressor with glycol mix and bring their compressor back on line. Once back up and running, we removed the temporary diesel compressor.

Large Portable Diesel Compressor

Our client’s engineering department set about repairing the original, damaged Air Blast Cooler and, once the repair had been carried out, we returned to site on a Friday afternoon. With assistance from two of our client’s engineers we shut off the air supply to the factory, disconnected the hire cooler, reconnected their repaired existing cooler and put the air supply back on.

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Following the successful repair work, we are very pleased to announce that the client has asked us to supply and install a 37kW rotary screw compressor together with a 55kW compressor and make the necessary upgrades to some of the company’s pipework and filtering systems.

That work is now underway.

Have a challenging air compressor problem you need help with? Talk to us now on 0114 243 2347, or contact us

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Callout to a poorly BOGE

For almost half a century, our customer has been behind the design and development of much of the equipment used in rock drilling. Their equipment is used globally for mineral research – including gold – and as you might expect, air compressors are a major source of power for their production.

The company’s Sheffield HQ is home to a BOGE CF30 air compressor, a belt driven compressor with an integrated frequency controller that matches energy consumption with air requirements. That brings our client numerous advantages: idle times are minimised, pressure fluctuations are levelled and smooth starts and stops help protect products whilst reducing wear on the compressor.

Yet the BOGE air compressor had developed a fault. We were called out to check it over and found that the motor bearings were noisy. We arranged for one of our stand-by compressors to be installed on site, allowing us to take the BOGE away, but still leaving the client able to maintain production.

  >  Discover what to do if your air compressor breaks down

Back at our workshop, the BOGE was stripped to find the motor bearings needed replacing and the end shields re-sleeving. Crucially, the heart of the variable air compressor – the air-end (aka the compressor screw element) – needed stripping and cleaning, so we removed it and sent away for overhaul.

Once the air-end was received back in-house, we reassembled the air compressor. The suction box, minimum pressure valve and thermostat were all stripped down and springs, seals and gaskets replaced. We also fitted new drive belts.

Once complete (and tested and cleaned) the air compressor was returned to our customer’s plant, where we reinstalled it, good as new.

Could we help you? If you want to be confident that your air compressor will keep working, talk to us about servicing and maintenance packages. Contact us now.

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Air compressor hire

When your business can’t live without air power, you need air compressors you can rely on. Many of the businesses we work with have one or two core air compressors and then have (often older) backup models serviced and ready to go should a problem occur with one of the main units.

Boge C20 Air Compressor

But some don’t. So if you don’t have a backup and your main air compressor fails, what do you do?

Air compressor rental with Algar Air

If your air compressor needs a complete overhaul, chances are it will be out of action for several days. That’s why, for some years now, we’ve been offering alternative air compressors on a short term hire to keep production moving when the main compressor is offline.

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Now, we’re expanding our air compressor leasing service, to help you cope not just with main compressor downtime, but also with peak season, rush jobs and any gap between an old compressor being decommissioned and a new compressor being installed.

So when a short term lease makes better economic and production sense than buying a brand new unit, rent air compressors from Algar Air.

To find out which rental units we have in stock right now, please call 0114 243 2347, or contact us.

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*photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Wind turbine maintenance – the air compressor application you never thought of

Paint spraying. Bottle labelling. Pharmaceutical making. Even theme park rides. You’d expect compressed air to be an integral part of an almost endless list of processes. But there’s one even we hadn’t heard of before.

As Windpower Engineering & Development reports, compressed air is a key element in keeping the blades of land and ocean-based wind turbines rotating.

  >  Are you in need of a new compressor or equipment?

The key part here is the slip ring, used for power and pitch control. It acts as a sort of intermediary in the power generation process, feeding power to the turbines blades and sharing data from the blades with the hub to optimise power generation. Each slip ring gets through a lot of work – up to 10 million revolutions in a year – and it’s important that the slip ring stays clean and dust free to extend the ring’s life and reduce the requirement for repairs and downtime.

One key element in that dust removal is compressed air. Using an air compressor, engineers can blow dust particles away from power or signal transmission circuits ensuring electricity and data can flow to and from the blades. And when factored in as part of a regular servicing check, this compressed air cleaning method keeps efficiency high.

Our air compressor applications tend to be more dry land and low altitude-based, but if you’ve a business that could benefit from harnessing air power, talk to Algar Air on 0114 243 2347, or contact us.

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Reciprocating air compressors – sales go up as noise goes down

Air compressors aren’t exactly what you’d call whisper quiet. Every air compressor produces noise, but some produce more than others.

The noise levels produced by reciprocating air compressors (that is, the type of air compressor you’ll come across most frequently and the one that will probably be in your fridge at home and your HVAC system at work) are tightly controlled.

In the UK, the HSE sets the lower limit at which protective equipment must be provided at 80dB average daily or weekly exposure and 135dB peak, with an absolute upper limit of 87dB average and 140dB peak.

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As the standard reciprocating air compressor will produce noise levels of 40-90dB, there’s a small but very real chance that larger or aging air compressors may breach upper limits.

Globally, limits are becoming even tighter. In the US, portable air compressors must not produce noise levels that exceed 76dB.

For air compressor suppliers, the ever more exacting standards mean increased ingenuity is required in insulating and installing the compressor. For some air compressor manufacturers, that may also mean increased costs as they work to develop air compressors that meet the new noise level requirements. And yet, according to Global Market Insights, the reciprocating air compressor market is only set to grow.

In particular, the report suggests home applications for air compressors will increase by up to 70% as the compressor escapes its one prime use in the fridge and becomes a garage staple that feeds jet washers, tyre inflators, fence-paint sprayers and more.

It’s worth noting that the UK legislation regarding noise does not relate to personal use of air compressors – it applies to the workspace only, but it’s not likely that air compressor manufacturers will develop noise reducing technology for the industrial compressed air equipment sector alone. So at home or work, the next decade is likely to see more, quieter air compressors in use.

Need a quieter air compressor? Talk to Algar Air now on 0114 243 2347, or contact us.

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A bespoke engineering case study

Our client is a plastics manufacturer. The production process requires the use of an air compressor which, until recently sat in a heavy mild steel frame.

Gary Waller of Ranmoor Health & Safety was uncomfortable with the weight and scale of the compressor seat and asked if we could produce an alternative.

“From an ergonomics point of view,” says Gary, “my objective was quite clear. I wanted us to halve the weight of the frame units to make them easier and safer for our operatives to handle.

“Having dealt with Algar Air over the years I contacted them to assist with a review of our seat moulding process. The process and equipment are bespoke so we required a bespoke and innovative solution. We also required a degree of patience as the process would undoubtedly require an amount of trial and error.”

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Following the review, Gary made the decision to replace the existing heavy mild steel frame with one constructed from a lighter alloy material. On paper, this was a relatively simple request. In reality, however, things were rather more challenging.

“Stability was a concern, along with the general robustness of the finished article,” Gary explains, “due to temperature differences when curing the plastics.”

We therefore created a number of small model frames to test for stability and weld integrity. With a few tweaks, Gary was confident to begin construction of a full-size replacement.

“The new frame was installed with no loss of production,” Gary continues, “and the outcome was above and beyond my expectations, whilst meeting our initial objective of halving the weight of the frame. It was a complex process with an aggressive goal – and it was successfully delivered.”

Can we help you with your engineering challenges? Call us on 0114 243 2347, or contact us.

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Spotting the oil leak early

Unless it’s an oil-free air compressor (typically used in the food manufacturing and pharmaceutical sectors), oil will be an integral part of the smooth operation of your air compressor.

It will be busy lubricating moving parts to reduce friction. It will cool and seal. And it will help collect and clean away any dust particles that find their way through the air filter. So an oil leak is bad news, because without oil, compressor parts wear faster, friction and heat build, and dust clogs parts and/or makes it to the business end of your air tool.

So it was fortunate that our engineer spotted the oil leak on this 22kw oil compressor and was able to change the drive seal and the collar on the air-end (the compressor screw element that’s at the heart of every rotary screw-type air compressor).

  >  Does your air compressor need a service?

We carry out routine air compressor inspections twice a month for this client, and it was during the latest inspection that we spotted the problem. As you’ll see from the video, the problem wasn’t hard to spot, but unless someone’s checking regularly, it’s easy for such things to go unnoticed – and that’s when damage spreads and downtime mounts.

If you haven’t had your air compressor serviced in a while, ask us to take a look now. If there’s a problem, it could be the best value decision you make all week.

Call us on 0114 243 2347, or contact us.

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A simpler way to handle waste oil

In the motor trade, oil is a problem. Disposal regulations are increasingly stringent, leaving garages with the responsibility of collecting all the engine oil they drain, and sending it for correct disposal or recycling.

But air compressors can help, as this latest installation for an upmarket car marque’s service bay recently demonstrated. Our air compressor engineers installed an oil pump which sends the drained, used engine oil to the blue tank in this image. Once the service is complete (or the tank is full), garage mechanics pump the contents off to a large storage unit ready for waste collection, recycling and/or disposal.

The beauty of the system is that there’s virtually no contact between mechanics and oil, creating a cleaner, more efficient working environment. It also means there’s virtually no effort involved in ensuring the business complies with its waste oil environmental obligations.

Discover how compressed air equipment can help you work more productively, efficiently and compliantly.

Call us now on 0114 243 2347, or contact us.

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Multi-site servicing with Algar Air

This week, we renewed a bi-annual compressed air equipment servicing contract for a client in Doncaster. During the renewal conversation, the company mentioned the air compressor at its second site, in Newark. Would we be able to place the air compressors at each site on the same servicing contract?

The simple answer was yes.

Multi-site servicing contracts enable you to protect all the air compressor equipment across your operation with one contract. It doesn’t matter that the equipment differs across your sites (in this case, one air compressor was an Atlas Copco Screw 50kw; the other a Worthington 30kw). It doesn’t matter that the associated compressed air equipment varies from site to site. It doesn’t even matter if you’d like to agree different servicing schedules for different sites (in this case we’re servicing the compressor at the Newark site annually and Doncaster 6-monthly).

  >  Cut the risk & cost of downtime with our service contract

When you entrust your air compressor servicing to one supplier across your business, you spend less time booking service calls, less time managing things like site clearance and passes, and there’s usually more opportunity to find economies of scale.

What’s more, by building up a relationship with just one engineering company you help the engineers understand your business more completely – and enable them to know your air compressors inside out. That can prove of real benefit, because the better the understanding the greater the chance we’ll be able to spot any problems immediately, and the easier we’ll find it to work with you to carry out servicing, maintenance and repairs in a way that keeps any downtime to a minimum.

  >  Do your air compressors & equipment need servicing?

Across Sheffield, Doncaster, Nottingham, Derby, Leicester, Lincoln, Birmingham, Coventry and beyond, if your business operates from multiple sites, we’ll be there to help.

Call us now about your air compressor servicing requirements on 0114 243 2347, or contact us.

Pipework for Advanced Alloys

The aerospace, exploration and medical industries need a constant supply of nickel and cobalt-based alloys to work with. Advanced Alloys are Sheffield’s suppliers of high temperature raw materials and pure metals, delivering a bespoke service that includes cutting, degreasing, re-melting and testing metals to deliver the precise alloy compositions their customers require.

As you might expect, it’s the sort of high tech craft that relies heavily on its plant machinery and Algar Air is proud to be Advanced Alloy’s source of compressed air and pipework engineering excellence.

  >  Is your compressed air pipework up to scratch?

Our latest project for the company has been the installation of pipework to the new shredder/washer plant, and we’ve installed an additional hose reel.

Waste Shredding Machine

Inevitably, pipework isn’t the sort of thing that grabs headlines. Even in this image, it’s the shredder that takes centre stage, not the pipework to it. But our engineers are happy that that’s the way it should be. After all, if you’re plant’s pipework is a constant source of comment, chances are there’s a problem with it.

Do you need pipework for new plant equipment? Or is your existing pipework causing concern? Talk to Algar Air’s engineers now. Call us on 0114 243 2347, or contact us.

  >  Does your air compressor need servicing?
  >  Cut the risk & cost of downtime with our service contract

Do air compressors really need servicing?

It’s easy to ignore the need for air compressor servicing. As long as the pressure’s there and the air tools keep working, it’s tempting to kick the can of servicing and maintenance so far down the road that eventually you forget about it altogether.

That was the case for this Coventry-based client. Even when they first contacted us, it wasn’t for air compressor servicing; it was for a Written Scheme of Examination, one of the outcomes of which was our identification that the air compressor had never, ever been serviced.

  >  Does your air compressor need servicing?

So what does an unserviced air compressor look like? Well, here’s a perfect example. As you can see from these 3 images, it’s parts were clogged with oil and assorted guck to such an extent that our air compressor engineers were amazed it was still running at all. Happily, things are looking a lot healthier (and running a lot more efficiently) now.

« of 3 »

That efficiency is one of the key factors in air compressor servicing. Yes, your compressor may continue to operate well enough for you to get the job done. But without regular servicing the pressure will drop and the air flow will decrease. Eventually, the compressor (and your production) will seize up entirely. But even if that doesn’t happen for years (as in this case), the motor is having to work harder to generate power – and that’s costing you money now in terms of energy and costing you money in the future in terms of worn out parts.

  >  Cut the risk & cost of downtime with our service contract

So just because your air compressor is still cranking up every morning and doing its job, don’t assume that it wouldn’t be able to do it a whole lot better – and more efficiently – if you gave it a service once in a while.

Call us on 0114 243 2347, or contact us, and let’s get your air compressor booked in.

What We Do

Servicing | Service Contracts | General On-Site Maintenance | Repairs / Remedial Work | Breakdowns | Pipework Installations | Electrical Installations & Work | Removal, Transportation & Reinstallations

How to prepare your compressed air system for winter

Cold weather and air compressors aren’t best friends. When the temperature drops, the oil in your system becomes more viscous and the condensate within the system can freeze. Both can be bad news for your compressed air system.

       Viscous oil or coolant can prevent the air compressor from switching on or cause it to trip
       Condensate (that is, condensed water and oil) will collect at the lowest parts of the system and freeze, blocking airways, filters and dryers, potentially placing too much stress on the compressor, and damaging other downstream components

  >  Air compressor repairs & remedial work
  >  Do you need breakdown cover for your compressed air equipment?

A frozen air compressor, therefore, can damage multiple components and bring production to a halt – but here’s how you can avoid the cost of a callout:

       Drain all air receivers, condensate drains and electronic drain valves of water. The less condensate in the system, the less chance it will freeze, and the less damage it will cause if it does
       If possible: insulate any oil/water separators that are exposed to the elements
       Cover all rotary screw air compressors or install small cabinet heaters within them to prevent the ambient temperature dropping below freezing. If you need advice on this, just call us
       Service regularly: servicing delivers lots of benefits, but one of the less obvious ones is that it prevents a build up of water within the lubricating oil. Too much water within the oil and it will freeze

If you need more advice in preparing your compressed air system for winter, or you want to arrange a service or additional heating, please call us on 0114 243 2347.

  >  My air compressor’s running hot. Is that a problem?

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The waiting game

“I’ll give it another year.” How often do you say that when considering maintenance work? Perhaps it’s a result of feeling ‘sold to’ when you go and get your puncture repaired at certain fast fix car garages. You know the sort of thing – you go in for a puncture patch up and come out having been told you need a full set of shocks and brakes.

The upshot is that when you’re told similar things in other scenarios, you react the same way. Just over a year ago, we were asked to give a quote to repair an air compressor for a client who manufactures tools.

We explained that the motor needed rebearing – a job that, parts and labour together, would cost £560. Now, no business wants to carry out maintenance work needlessly so, perhaps burnt by previous experiences elsewhere, the client asked if it was an urgent job.

This is always a bit of a tricky one – you can’t see into the future – but we explained that the bearings were starting to fail, that they wouldn’t fail tomorrow, but that they needed fixing soon.

Actually, the bearings lasted a little longer than we might have expected – they limped on for another year. But by the time they failed for good they had also damaged the motor overload/breaker. With the additional parts, labour and the cost of hiring a replacement compressor to cover the downtime of their own equipment, costs trebled to £1,677.

  >  Air compressor repairs & remedial work
  >  Do you need breakdown cover for your compressed air equipment?

The moral of the story? Repairing your air compressor sooner rather than later is almost always cheaper, almost always simpler, and almost inevitably involves less hassle.

Want us to give you a quote for keeping your compressed air equipment in prime condition? Talk to us now on 0114 243 2347.

What We Do

Servicing | Service Contracts | General On-Site Maintenance | Repairs / Remedial Work | Breakdowns | Pipework Installations | Electrical Installations & Work | Removal, Transportation & Reinstallations

The emergency orthotics service

For some years now, we’ve been working with an orthotics manufacturer. What started with compressed air has progressed to the point that we are the default people to call for pretty much any electrical or engineering-based issue. But our last call was more urgent than any previous one.

Orthotics is all about precision. Each device is custom made to support or correct the positioning of bones. Most commonly, you’ll find them as shoe inserts although they can be used elsewhere too. But like any business, you can’t demonstrate precision unless you have the tools for the job.

Our customer was ready to welcome a potential major new international client who had travelled from Egypt to review the company’s operation. The company needed to be able to show the capabilities that made it a leader in its field. Then, on the morning of the visit, a band saw and a plaster multi-cutter picked the perfect moment to break down.

  >  Flexible air compressor servicing to your schedule

Rather panicked, they called us. Our engineers headed to site immediately and quickly identified an electrical fault which they managed to repair on the spot.

Equipment back up and running, the visit went seamlessly, with the client blissfully unaware of the morning’s stresses.

  >  Cut the risk & cost of downtime with our service contract

Need air compressor or electrical engineering repairs in the Sheffield, Nottingham or Rotherham area? We’ll be there fast.

Discover why more companies rely on Algar Air. Call us now on 0114 243 2347.

What We Do

Servicing | Service Contracts | General On-Site Maintenance | Repairs / Remedial Work | Breakdowns | Pipework Installations | Electrical Installations & Work | Removal, Transportation & Reinstallations

ACM Bearings reviews our service

It’s always great to receive positive feedback not just about what you do, but the way you do it. So we’re grateful to ACM Bearings who have given us a glowing review following a couple of recent callouts.

First, we attended the company’s Rotherham site to fix a dryer. ACM were concerned that it was continually freezing up. It didn’t take long for our compressed air system engineers to trace the fault to low refrigerant gas. This was specialist refrigerant engineer work, which few can tackle, but as specialists across every element of the compressed air system, we were able to top it up and get things working normally again.

  >  Flexible air compressor servicing to your schedule
  >  Cut the risk & cost of downtime with our service contract

Not long after, we returned to ACM for a 12,000 hour service on an Avelair 18.5kw air compressor. The job also included changing filter bags on the oil/water separator. It was this second visit that resulted in the client giving us the following testimonial:

“As always, an excellent service. Stephen always gives outstanding support to ACM… which is second to none.

“Joe is always professional, efficient, tidy and meticulous.

“Excellent service as always from Algar – wouldn’t use anyone else.”

Thanks to ACM Bearings for their lovely review – we really appreciate it. If you have an air compressor repair or service you’d like us to tackle, give us a call on 0114 243 2347.

What We Do

Servicing | Service Contracts | General On-Site Maintenance | Repairs / Remedial Work | Breakdowns | Pipework Installations | Electrical Installations & Work | Removal, Transportation & Reinstallations

Prison Break(down)

Service contracts can be figurative (and occasionally literal) lifesavers, but still there’s no getting away from the fact that when you’re deluged by work, they’re all too easy to put off to another time.

But a recent servicing appointment for a South Yorkshire prison highlighted just how vital a service contract can be. It was during routine maintenance of the machinery used to produce furniture like desk and cupboards in the prison workshop that our engineer found an electrical fault on the compressor.

He investigated and traced the problem back to a faulty starter button. Left undetected, the button would have failed and (because these things always fail at the most inconvenient time) the prison would have lost the use of its CNCs, beam saw, sander and edge bander, just when the prison inmates were in the middle of production. That would have resulted in an urgent call out, lost production and a frustrated set of prisoners (not usually the ideal group of people to upset).

  >  Flexible air compressor servicing to your schedule
  >  Cut the risk & cost of downtime with our service contract

Instead, the issue was spotted, solved and fixed. There was no downtime, no loss of production, no inconvenience. And no angry prisoners.

That’s why service contracts make sense.

So, if you’ve been meaning to get around to arranging your air compressor servicing contract, do it now. Give us a call on 0114 243 2347.

What We Do

Servicing | Service Contracts | General On-Site Maintenance | Repairs / Remedial Work | Breakdowns | Pipework Installations | Electrical Installations & Work | Removal, Transportation & Reinstallations

The compressed air system re-installation

Moving business premises is never a simple matter. It’s even tougher when you’re contracted to meet certain deadlines. Because if anything about the move doesn’t run smoothly, then you’ll miss your deadlines, which means the client will miss their deadlines, and you’ll be left a) playing catch up and b) paying the penalties and fines for failing to meet your end of the contract.

Any move that involves a compressed air system immediately adds an extra level of complexity – but at least that was something we could help with.

Our client supplies cut, speciality metals to the aerospace industry. The process involves a range of air-powered tools, including Cutmasters, hand grinders and horizontal grinders, all of which needed removing and reinstalling at the clients’ new premises

Time was incredibly tight. We needed to remove the client’s existing air compressor equipment, decommission an air compressor that was being retired, then transport the rest to the new site.

Once there, we supplied, installed and commissioned a new air compressor together with the rest of the equipment we’d brought from the old site. Because one factory is never like another, we needed to design and install a new pipework installation that would supply a constant flow of air throughout the factory. Finally, we installed and levelled the tools and equipment at the end of the compressed air lines, ensuring the cutters and grinders were fully operational.

Meeting our deadline meant starting early and working late, but because we delivered, our client was able to deliver to their client too – something they were delighted about.

Need help with your relocation? Talk to us about transporting and reinstalling your compressed air equipment on 0114 243 2347.

What We Do

Servicing | Service Contracts | General On-Site Maintenance | Repairs / Remedial Work | Breakdowns | Pipework Installations | Electrical Installations & Work | Removal, Transportation & Reinstallations

When my air compressor cuts-out, air escapes. Why?

Every air compressor has its cut-in and cut-out points to regulate pressure and ensure it keeps working safely. But when your system cuts out, you may notice escaping air and wonder where it’s coming from, and why.

The culprit is the unload check valve. This regulator kicks into action when the compressor cuts out, helping to vent air in the line between the pump head and the tank (around the compressor piston). Without the valve, trapped air could damage the compressor motor when it restarts, blowing a fuse or circuit.

Far from a problem, the unload check valve helps protect your air compressor and prolong its working life.

  >  Do you need breakdown cover for your compressed air equipment?
  >  Cut the risk & cost of downtime with our service contract

It shouldn’t take long to vent the air from the compressor piston area, after which time the air should stop escaping. If it continues, there’s a problem, and you’ll need to contact your compressed air engineer.

If you have problems with your air compressor, talk to us on 0114 243 2347.

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Why isn’t my air compressor cutting out?

Somewhere in your air compressor, there’s a pressure switch. There are a few types, but essentially they all perform the same task. When the pressure in your compressor is too low, the pressure switch tells the compressor to kick in. When it reaches full pressure, the pressure switch is what makes the compressor motor cut out again.

At one end of the range the pressure switch ensures your compressor has a consistent pressure that enables it to perform. At the other end of the range it ensures the pressure doesn’t build to dangerous levels.

  >  Cut the risk & cost of downtime with our service contract
  >  Do you need breakdown cover for your compressed air equipment?

So what does it mean if your air compressor never cuts out?

There are three likely explanations for this, and two result in the same answer: get your compressor serviced or repaired.

1. Continuous operation
Continuous operation air compressors are used where there’s a constant requirement for air, or where your compressor is likely to start and stop more than 12 times per hour. It’s important you know whether your air compressor is a continuous operation model because of what follows, so if you’re unsure, call us and check.

2. Failing to make pressure
A constantly running compressor could be a sign that it never reaches full pressure. That’s not dangerous – the pressure’s not high enough for that – but it could be damaging the quality of your finished products and it will definitely be causing significant wear – reducing the life of your air compressor.

3. Pressure build up
The alternative – and even more worrying possibility – is that pressure is continuing to build. Every air compressor has a pressure relief valve and if this is venting excess pressure in combination with a constantly running compressor (that’s not meant to run constantly) it’s a sure sign of trouble. Switch it off and call your compressed air engineers for repair.

Worse still, should the relief valve fail, you’ll be in a situation where the pressure continues to build with no release. That’s a potentially catastrophic scenario so it’s vital that someone in your operation is regularly monitoring your air compressors, and that you call for a repair when they identify a problem.

For air compressor supply or servicing, repair and maintenance, talk to Algar Air on 0114 243 2347.

What We Do

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Should you choose variable speed air compressors?

Variability was always something the air compressor industry was keen to eradicate. After all, variable pressures and flowrates tend to add to production time and rework. So it seemed counter-intuitive that variable speed air compressors would ever make their mark in the compressed air sector. But actually, it makes perfect sense.

Traditionally, air compressors have been on or off. They’re either giving you 100% or they’re giving you nothing – there’s no middle ground. That’s dramatically different from, for example, your car which, in addition to ‘off’ or ‘full throttle’, delivers a range of power depending on how heavily you plant your foot on the accelerator.

  >  Cut the risk & cost of downtime with our service contract

  >  Do you need breakdown cover for your compressed air equipment?

It’s a similar situation with a variable speed drive (VSD) air compressor, which can adjust its motor and elements to match the demand. That could be a big deal for organisations relying on air power, especially when 70% of an air compressor’s cost is energy. VSDs could cut air compressor energy consumption by 35%. And since there’s less requirement for compressors to run flat out, there should also be a corresponding improvement in lifespan.

There is a catch. Variable speed air compressors are more expensive than their simpler, more traditional counterparts. Yet those businesses that have used them find the additional cost is more than covered by the savings in energy costs.

So, is it time you made the switch? To discuss which air compressor system is right for your business talk to Algar Air on 0114 243 2347 or contact us.

What We Do

Servicing | Service Contracts | General On-Site Maintenance | Repairs / Remedial Work | Breakdowns | Pipework Installations | Electrical Installations & Work | Removal, Transportation & Reinstallations

Could graphene save your air compressor?

You know graphene. It’s the flexible, carbon based material that’s 200 times stronger than steel, yet is just one atom thick (thereby also making it the world’s only 2D material). Now, researchers at the US’s Purdue University have developed a new type of non-liquid lubricant that uses graphene to reduce friction and wear.

As The Engineer reports, the lubricant’s applications range from missile systems to air compressors. Whilst we’re not any sort of authority on missile systems, the air compressor benefits look exciting.

“It [graphene] has superior thermal conductivity, high strength and provides ultralow friction,” said Vilas Pol, an associate professor of chemical engineering at Purdue University.

  >  Do you need breakdown cover for your compressed air equipment?

  >  Cut the risk & cost of downtime with our service contract

Friction is a perennial problem in compressed air. It’s there in the motor bearings. And it’s present in every hose, nozzle, joint and connector as the molecules of compressed air rub against the metal or plastic around them.

Remove friction and you remove heat and wear. You also reduce the amount of oil required as a lubricant in many current compressed air systems. Which means graphene could be the key to improving air compressor performance and reliability, whilst removing the risk of oil contamination from finished products.

As graphene lubricants may be some years away from commercial air compressor application, talk to us about the compressed air system that’s right for your business. Call Algar Air on 0114 243 2347 or contact us.

What We Do

Servicing | Service Contracts | General On-Site Maintenance | Repairs / Remedial Work | Breakdowns | Pipework Installations | Electrical Installations & Work | Removal, Transportation & Reinstallations

Air power

Last year, the global air compressors market was valued at $30.86 billion. Now, a new report predicts that by 2022 that figure will have grown to almost $39 billion. To put that in perspective, $39 billion is greater than the GDP of Morocco.

What’s driving the growth? Happily, the report by Zion Market Research and snappily titled “Air Compressors Market by Technology (Reciprocating, Rotary and Centrifugal) by Lubrication (Oil Filled and Oil Free) Market for Food & Beverage, Healthcare, Home Appliances, Energy, Oil & Gas, Electronics, Manufacturing and Others Application: Global Industry Perspective, Comprehensive Analysis and Forecast, 2016 – 2022” has some answers.

The sheer flexibility of air compressor equipment is what leads them to occupy a pivotal role in so many workspaces. The fact that a report into the market needs 43 words to describe itself gives just some indication of the range and variety of roles air compressors are playing across industry.

Until now, the report notes that rotary-type technology has dominated the air compressor market, but the survey suggests a shift towards centrifugal technology over the next few years. To find out more about why that may be, check our post on the advantages of centrifugal air compressors.

The report also looked at trends in compressor lubrication, where it discovered (unsurprisingly) that oil-free air compressors are the natural choice for industries such as electronic assembling, food & beverage, and pharmaceuticals, where products need protection from contamination. Yet the oil-based air compressor market shows no signs of slowing and by the end of the reporting period in 2020 oil-based should still dominate the market.

Finally, the report explores sectors, with the largest growth areas for compressed air equipment to date having come from manufacturing – especially in boom territories such as Asia-Pacific and Latin America. For the future, the report suggests food & beverages will be the major compressed air growth segment, driven by a global move to improve food safety and health standards.

Want to talk about how your air compressor system could develop over the next few years? Call 0114 243 2347 or contact us.

What We Do

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Air compressors in the dental industry

You know the value of air compressors to your dental practice. They power such a wide array of handpieces that it’s hard to imagine life without them, but if you’re looking at replacing your compressed air system – or thinking of switching to air power for the first time, there are a few things you need to consider.

Any old air compressor won’t do

Air compressors produce moisture as a natural by-product of squeezing all those air molecules together. Given that your business is built on hygiene, in-system water contamination is an absolute no-no. That’s why dental air compressors lower the ‘dew point’ of the compressed air, ensuring more moisture can be captured and removed by the inline filtration system.

Oil free is an essential

Another by-product of many air compressors is oil vapour. A little oil floating around the system matters little if you’re using your compressed air to inflate car tyres or power a workshop drill, but it’s a serious issue in dentistry.

That’s why the Dental Compressor Regulations require dental surgeries to only use “compressed air… generated by an oil free compressor with an integral dryer, internally coated air receiver and a breathing air and bacterial filter downstream of the compressor.”

   >  We’re trialling a new way of recycling oil that cuts waste and increases space.

The compressor’s not the only part that counts

A steady, reliable flow of air is essential for any dental tool, but it’s not just the air compressor that’s responsible for delivering that steady flow. Pipework, connectors, filters and the handpieces you use can all influence the consistency of the air flow.

That’s one reason why the regulations also require your pipework system to be free from leaks, located away from any potential damage, and with appropriate isolation valves.

Right size?

We don’t simply mean does your air compressor deliver the reliable air power you need now. What about the future? If you don’t want to be upgrading your air compressor every time you add new tools, it’s important to build some flexibility into your compressed air system. That means choosing not only the right air compressor, but the right receiver tank too.

Remember, an overworked system may produce a less reliable flow of air and could produce more moisture, compromising patient safety. For help in choosing the right compressed air system for your dental surgery, talk to us.

Ready to replace?

Like any component, air compressors don’t last forever (although regular servicing and maintenance can extend their life hugely). When an air compressor or its filters start to show their age, you may notice air pressure drop or become inconsistent. Over time, contaminants may begin to escape the filters and you should check for this regularly. Hold a mirror up to any air powered handpiece and switch it on. If any moisture, dirt or debris appears on the mirror surface, call a compressed air engineer.

Want help or advice about the compressed air system used in your dental surgery? Call 0114 243 2347 or contact us.

What We Do

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What’s in Clara’s box?

Every now and again you find yourself being challenged to tackle projects that don’t quite fit the compressed air mould. Often, we find that’s because our clients trust us to tackle all sorts of projects. So what begins as a relationship all about compressed air, gradually becomes something broader.

Take Clara’s box. We had a call from a client who manufactures orthotics and prosthetics. They’d just taken delivery of a crate and were eager to open it and get the contents installed. But whilst they were keen for us to get the contents of “Clara’s box” (as it quickly became known – Clara was the Orthotic Clinician) up and running fast, we remained a little unclear as to what we’d find when we got there.

Undeterred, our engineers prioritised the job and swiftly headed off to the client. When they arrived, they found the box contained pieces of a ramp. It may not have had the remotest connection to compressed air, but it was needed urgently, because the client wanted to use it to test its prosthetic legs and feet.

As we were told, it’s one thing for a disabled person to test drive their artificial legs/feet on the flat; it’s quite another to be able to navigate hills. The ramp would enable them to do that, and there was a fitting due imminently.

So our engineers unloaded the ramp and installed it ready for its first use.

Challenge us to install your compressed air system. Or challenge us to install something else entirely. Talk to the ever-flexible engineers at Algar Air. Give us a call on 0114 243 2347 or contact us.

What We Do

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“I don’t suppose you could…?”

Working with compressed air requires a wide range of skills from our engineers. In many ways, understanding air compressors and air flow is just the start of a skillset that also includes electrical engineering, plumbing, fabrication and more. So it’s hardly surprising that when our clients are faced with an engineering task they don’t quite know how to resolve, they tend to call us.

That was the case recently, when a client who operated a steelworks called to ask whether we’d be able to modify their small cutter. Our engineers went to investigate.

   >  Does your business equipment need servicing?

The first thing that hit them was that steelworks operate on a different level of scale when it comes to describing their equipment. It may have been their small(er) steel cutter, but to any other business it would still have been considered vast.

The cutter was ageing, and that had given the client two options: modify it, to modernise the unit and make it more user friendly. Or replace it. The difference in cost amounted to tens of thousands of pounds.

That’s why, right now, the unit is sat in our workshop, getting some much needed TLC and a significant base unit modification that should keep it fit for purpose for plenty more years.

Have an engineering challenge and don’t know who to ask for help? Give us a call on 0114 243 2347 or contact us.

What We Do

Servicing | Service Contracts | General On-Site Maintenance | Repairs / Remedial Work | Breakdowns | Pipework Installations | Electrical Installations & Work | Removal, Transportation & Reinstallations

A new approach to oil recycling

Work in the compressed air industry and you’ll find oil is a double-edged sword. We need it to lubricate machinery. But at the same time, oil in the pipes of your compressed air system can compromise performance and damage your finished products. It’s fair to say that much of our time is spent eradicating oil from compressed air systems.

If you’ve ever had problems with your compressed air installation, you may know all about the disruptive power of oil. But once it has been removed from the system and you’re back up and running, you probably don’t consider what happens to the oil we remove.

   >  Do you need a new compressed air system?
   >  Do you need your oil removed or equipment serviced? Get in touch.

What happens is this: we have to store it, and then dispose of it. Traditionally, we store oil in 20 litre cans, which take up a lot of floorspace. Some are full and awaiting collection, but they’re heavy to transport, costly to dispose of and complicated to recycle. Others are empty and waiting to be filled. In either case they’re still gobbling up valuable room that could be used for something better.

So we were delighted when one of our suppliers came up with a way of replacing the can. Right now, we’re trialling a new ‘wine box’ for our waste oil. Like a wine box, it’s a simple cardboard container that houses a liner into which the oil is poured. In the workshop, empty boxes weigh practically nothing and take up far less space than empty cans.

Once full, they’re lighter and easier to transport, and simpler (and cheaper) to dispose of.
It’s a switch that makes it easier for us to meet our environmental obligations, and one that helps us keep costs down for our clients.

To find out more about the environmental considerations of installing or maintaining a compressed air system, please call 0114 243 2347 or contact us.

What We Do

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Fixing the factory fans

The thermometer in our workshop was nudging 30°C last week – most definitely not the time for the fans that keep your workforce cool to shudder to a halt. But that’s what happened for one local manufacturer, who saw temperatures on the factory floor start to spiral and the workforce start to wilt.

The fact that our Sheffield electricians were able to get to the factory in question fast, diagnose the problem and fix the fault was a godsend. But as the fans started spinning again, their work wasn’t finished.

   >  What to do if your equipment needs a service

One of the engineers was grabbing a quick drink from the water cooler when he noticed a build-up of limescale. Left unchecked, he knew that the water would gradually turn cloudy and taste tainted – and potentially lead to blockages, restricted flows and breakdowns. So the engineers contacted the manufacturer to organise clean-out kits, so the units could be returned to their former glory supplying crisp clean water.

This isn’t an unusual situation. Whether we’re installing a compressed air system, wiring up a new piece of equipment or fixing the pipework, if we spot an additional problem that needs fixing, we’ll fix it.

If you’re a business looking for a South Yorkshire electrical engineer you can rely on to go the extra mile, call us on 0114 243 2347 or contact us.

What We Do

Servicing | Service Contracts | General On-Site Maintenance | Repairs / Remedial Work | Breakdowns | Pipework Installations | Electrical Installations & Work | Removal, Transportation & Reinstallations

Water, water everywhere?

Forklifts have a habit of bumping and denting walls and racking. But one local door manufacturer was particularly unlucky when their forklift caught and punctured a main waterline. Cue a major leak that swiftly brought the workshop to a standstill.

The real problem (aside from the unwanted indoor water feature) was that every passing minute was another minute of production lost. So the customer needed more than a callout; they needed a really speedy response. And when they called Algar Air, that’s exactly what they got.

Decades spent installing air compressor equipment has meant that our engineers are also qualified electricians and plumbers, with huge experience in pipework. So it wasn’t simply the fact that our engineer was on site within minutes that the customer really appreciated. It was that fact that the required repairs were completed within half an hour.

Water and pipework problems that need fixing fast? Call 0114 243 2347 or contact us.

What We Do

Servicing | Service Contracts | General On-Site Maintenance | Repairs / Remedial Work | Breakdowns | Pipework Installations | Electrical Installations & Work | Removal, Transportation & Reinstallations

A last minute compressed air installation

It’s enough to bring you out in a cold sweat. We were called by a roller shutter door company recently and asked for urgent help. A new washer, dryer and spray booth unit was due for delivery the following week, but our customer had spotted a major problem. Their existing piston air compressor didn’t have the capacity to supply the company’s new machinery.

Without the problem being rectified – and fast – they would need to rearrange the equipment’s commissioning, and that would mean heavy charges, lost time and lost production.

The solution wasn’t an easy one either. Delivering a compressed air system that could supply dry air to all the company’s equipment wasn’t simply a matter of switching a smaller air compressor for a larger one.

Instead, our engineers had to pull out all the stops, installing a full package including a 10HP air compressor, refrigerant dryer, 500 litre air receiver and connecting it all via 169m of 1” pipework.

With the clock ticking, our compressed air engineers worked long days to get everything completed on time. We even sourced and supplied second hand air compressor equipment to save the client money too!

Before you buy that new piece of air-powered machinery, check you have the compressed air to feed it. If you don’t, we’re ready to help. Please call 0114 243 2347 or contact us.

What We Do

Servicing | Service Contracts | General On-Site Maintenance | Repairs / Remedial Work | Breakdowns | Pipework Installations | Electrical Installations & Work | Removal, Transportation & Reinstallations

A sawing success for sheffield snooker!


There was a lot of excitement around the office last week as we received a phone call from Sheffield Theatres to say that one of their Saw had gone down and they needed it fixing urgently. We’d have to work around the Snooker World Championship matches that were being held in Sheffield’s Crucible.  Our engineer shot straight down to check over the Unit, tracing the wiring from the Distribution Board to the Isolator and finding a faulty 25amp Overload Relay. On his return visit with the replacement part he was on his way down to the ‘Green Room’ to grab a coffee when he stopped to where he was collared by an “Excuse me – are you allowed in here?” He turned around to find that it was the one and only STEVE DAVIS! Haha they had a good chat and he obviously explained his presence! They walked down to get coffee together where he then met Shaun Murphy as he was about to start playing. He wished him good luck and shook his hand. Star struck and coffee in hand he went back and got the Saw back up and running.



Here’s Stephen Algar carrying out a 20,000 Hour Service on an Avelair 7VSD75 Air Compressor, changing the Air and Oil Filters, Separators and Oil. We also include checking over and re-tensioning the Drive Belts; checking over all electrical and pipework connections; cleaning out Cooler; generally cleaning down and inspecting machine, running-up and testing. We service all sizes of Air Compressors. Give us a call for a quote!

Factory Extraction

We are pleased to offer our customer’s other services; this month we supplied and installed bespoke Extraction Plenum Chambers for Glue and Solvent work, Extracting to outside of building through Filters. After various consultations with the customer and ourselves we pinned down the exact requirements to suit the customer’s needs for their new department and the correct spec for dealing safely with flammable/toxic gases. We then put together a package that serviced their needs exactly and they now have a non-toxic environment for their staff to work in.

Out with the Old and in with the new….

After years of servicing a local Sheffield Steel Firm, looking after their old Broomwade V Major Air Compressors; they have decided to retire them and replace them with brand new Rotary Screws. We are supplying a Hertz Kompressoren Compressor package comprising of 2 off 55kw Rotary Screw Fixed Speed Air Compressors and 1 off 55kw Variable Speed Air Compressor complete with Controller. To follow is an introductory video to Hertz Kompressoren.

Can you service me?

The core of our business is servicing and we are pleased to say we service all types of Air Compressors from small Piston Industrial Air Compressors 1.5kw upto 7.5kw on manufacturers like ABAC, Clarkair, Fiac, Fini, Nuair, SIP Industrial, for example. For the Larger Screw Industrial Air Compressors from 4kw to 160kw on manufacturers like Atlas Copco, Avelair, Broomwade, BOGE, Compair, Demag, Fluidair International, Grassair, Hertz Kompressoren, HPC, Hydrovane, Ingersoll Rand, Smart. We can develop a servicing schedule to suit your working environment and the manufacturer’s recommended servicing schedule.

Algar Air also supply a wide range of Gas Compressors / Blowers including Boosters for all types of power generation (this includes the usage of Natural Gas & Landfill Gas.)

Savvy Customer’s fight the rate in Crime!

September also saw Algar Air carrying out a major electrical works for our Customer who manufactures Bespoke Doors and Screens;

  • We replaced the old double light fittings in 2 of their workshops and fitted 32 extra lights including Trunking, Cable and associated Fittings.
  • We also installed 6 off power points above main centre doors on both sides for their CCTV cameras, running 2.5mm, 3 core, SWA Cable back to the Fuse Boards and installed CCTV Cameras.
  • Cleaned and replaced low bay lamps where required in all Units/Workshops.

Suction for the NHS?

We are proud to be working with a local NHS Unit to assist with the design and installation of a new orthotics manufacturing room. Working closely with the specialist specifications of the NHS we produced a proposal designing and building a 6 Station Vacuum Rig with Isolation Valves & Drain Legs complete with the Vacuum Pump and Filtration.

New Projects/Contracts for our Customers!

Expansion is on the cards for a Joinery Customer after winning a large contract for Bespoke Doors. It’s always a pleasure to supply new equipment but even more so when it’s due to a company being able to expand. This company assisted by Finance organised for a 11kw/15HP Air Compressor giving 60cfm at 7.5bar on a 500 litre Air Receiver complete with Fridge Dryer, Pre And After Filters and a separate Oil/Water Separator. Working with their schedule of expansion we had the Compressor to them on a 2-3 week delivery, installed it on arrival and they have never looked back since.

That nightmare moment!

We’ve all had that nightmare moment when you’re desperate to complete a job and something fails on you. In this case, a new Customer made contact when their Air Compressor had stopped working. As a Garage, they needed to use their pneumatic tools and blow up tyres everyday so we soon arrived on site with our hire compressor to get them back up and running. This gave us time to weigh up the option for replacement, taking into consideration the location of the compressor (environmental conditions & proximity to staff) and application. We provided them with three options. We soon had an order and a 4kw Air Compressor was supplied and installed within a few days. We’ve now added this customer to our servicing schedule and will be back in touch with them in due course. This is part of our commitment to our customers to be your memory! You never need to remember when your compressor is due for servicing – we’ll do that for you.

Spring Time and new beginnings.

We welcome onboard 2 new major customers, one a Large Quarry and the other a Large Metal (Steel & Chrome) Processor.

The first, providing them with a new Compressed Air System including a 30kw Variable Speed Air Compressor complete with a 5 Year Warranty (subject to terms & conditions). The Variable Speed option uses a special drive to control the speed (RPM) of the unit, which in turn saves energy compared to a fixed speed equivalent. Depending on the application the use of a VSD Air Compressor can save a factory a considerable sum in electricity costs.

The second, removing some existing ½” pipework using our IPAF qualified pipework engineers and installing a new 1” pipework as required. Followed by Servicing of their Air Compressors and assisting with Insurance Inspection of said equipment.

11th – 28th Overhaul on 30kw Screw Air Compressor

Ever wondered what is involved in an overhaul? Here is an example. The work to follow was carried out at a National Waste Recycle Plant.

To carry out remedial work required on the 30kw Air Compressor. To disconnect and remove the Air Compressor from its location; including disconnecting pipework & electrics; removing the internal ducting from the Air Compressor & 2nd Atlas Copco Air Compressor and also removing end of Metal Compressor House. To install 1 off Hire-In Air Compressor. To transport Compressor back to our workshop for repairs, stripping down Compressor at our workshop, removing Airend, Motor and Cooler from Cabinet and prepare for transportation. To industrially clean Cooler. To split, clean out, rebearing and re-seal Airend. To inspect and rebearing Motor. To carry out major service changing Oil, Air Filter, Oil Filter, Separator, Suction Box and Check Valve Seals and Springs, checking all electrical connections and cleaning out Cabinet. To reassemble Air Compressor with Motor, Cooler and overhauled Airend,. To clean down and inspect machine, run-up and test. To transport Air Compressor back to site.

TLC for an old V-Major!

February the month of love, well, one of the 90kw Air Compressors at a Refractory Manufacturer has certainly had plenty of TLC. Our engineers carried out remedial work to the Air Compressor as it was reported to not be working correctly, checking over Compressor, we found the HP side had flamed out, stripping Unit for further inspection, finding Non Return Valve not working, Valves broken, Piston Rods, Piston Rings and Packings worn, all reported back to our customer for approval of remedial work to start.

We measured up Cylinders, Piston Rods and Crossheads to make sure tolerances were within limits and transported Piston Rods & Piston Heads back to our site for re-chroming. (stripping off seized Piston Rods for HP and LP Pistons, cleaning off Carbon and polishing Piston Heads, removing Rings and re-chroming.)

Then the engineers returned to install re-chromed Piston Rods. To cut Piston Rings to size and install Pistons with correct clearance settings. To install Oil Scrapers, Packings, Piston Plate Cover Kits, Big-End Nuts, Bolts and Washers, all associated Gaskets and Seals and grinding out ridges in Cylinders. To install LP Head, finding HP Head blocked, attempting to clean on-site, unable to clean. To transport HP Head back to our Chemical Cleaning Specialists to chemically clean, polish out air ways and water ways. To collect HP Head, transport back to site, install HP Head and full set of Valves complete with Coppers and Rubbers. To remove NRV Unit, cleaning out and installing new Valve, cleaning out sight glasses, running-up and testing.

New Year – New Compressor!

This month we have supplied a Printing Firm with a brand new 30kw Air Compressor ready for them to tackle the new challenges that this year will throw at them.

Installation of New Ring Main

Due to the Major relocation of a Percussive Down Hole Rock Drilling equipment Manufacturer, our engineers have had 2½ months of on-site co-ordination; seeing the completion of a Large Scale Compressed Air Pipework System with over 299 metres of 2” & 1” Galvanised pipe and working with all on-site Contractors to maintain efficiency and customer output during a difficult manufacturing period. We have supplied hire equipment when required and connected up machinery as and when it had been transported to the new works.


Compressed Air Engineering isn’t all we supply to our customers –for instance, we have had manufactured, per our specification, Lamination Booths for the process of Chemical Carbon Fibre Products complete with Filtrations, for use at an Orthotics Specialist.

Good news – Companies still expanding despite recession.

We were pleased to see that our long standing customer, who produces Posters to be supplied all over the world, has bought new premises to accommodate their ever expanding business. We have put together a new Compressed Air System comprising of 15kw Air Compressor, suitable Refrigerant Dryer complete with Pre & After Filters to cool the air and remove moisture/contamination and an Oil/water Destroyer to deal with the condensate. All the Compressed Air Equipment is now installed by our first class engineers. Good job boys!

Check out this package!

One of our new Packaging Customers this month has taken a full Compressed Air System package from us; we have supplied and installed an 18.5kw Screw Air Compressor producing 110cfm complete with 500 Litre Air Receiver/Tank to store the Compressed Air, Refrigerant Dryer @ 120cfm to remove the moisture including Pre and After Filtration and an Oil/Water Destroyer to deal with the condensate from all of the drains. Good luck to them on their expansion!

Relocation, Relocation, Relocation!

This month we have completed a major re-location of Compressed Air Equipment for a Customer of ours who pride themselves on producing precision machined components.

Predominantly supplying to the petrochemical power generation, aerospace and construction industries. As experienced Compressed Air Engineers we were able to manage every step of the relocation work required; supplying the 10ft Steel Container (the new Compressor House); installing 1” pipework from the Ringmain to the new location within the 10ft Steel Container ready for the Avelair Air Compressor and installing Ducting for the ventilation of the exhausted warm air coming from the Air Compressor with weather Louvre to allow Cool air to the Air Compressor.