Buying New Equipment

Buying New Equipment? Questions to Consider

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Need a little help in choosing your new compressed air equipment? Find it here.

Which air compressor do I need?

The most critical element in choosing the right air compressor is its CFM (cubic feet per minute). This is a measure of the flow of air generated by your compressor. Each compressor will generate a different CFM and each air tool you plan to power with the compressor will require a different CFM.

Generally speaking (and we’ll explore the effect of pressure in a moment) you want to choose an air compressor with a CFM that is a little higher than that required by your air tool.

What is CFM & what is the difference between CFM FAD or displacement CFM?

Just to make things a little more complex, if you are buying a piston (reciprocating) compressor, manufacturers supply two sets of data for CFM.

The displacement CFM is the air produced at the pump but the figure you need to rely on is FAD (free air delivered). That’s a measure of the air delivered to the outlet.

When buying a piston compressor, make sure to match the CFM consumption of your air tool against the FAD figure.

What if I need to run more than one tool from my air compressor?

It depends on how you’ll be using the air tools. Suppose, for example, you use an air powered drill with a CFM of 30. You also use an air hammer which requires a CFM of 60.

If you never use the two tools at the same time, then a compressor with a CFM greater than 60 will do the job for both. If you’ll be running the two tools at the same time, you’ll need to add their CFM requirements together.

In our example, that means you’ll need a compressor able to deliver a minimum of 90 CFM, although you should leave a little room to spare. Additionally, you’ll need to consider the issue of pressure.

How does pressure affect the equation?

If CFM is a measure of the flow of air, pressure is a measure of its force. While a higher CFM will ensure the air keeps flowing (limiting the need for the compressor to cycle on and off to replenish its supply), a higher pressure (measured in bar or psi) will ensure that, when you press the trigger, the flow of air is at sufficient pressure to operate the air tool.

The higher the pressure, the lower the cfm, so it’s important to ensure your air compressor can deliver on both counts. The calculation can be a complex one, so once you know the cfm and bar or psi of your air tool(s) call us to talk about your requirements.

Can I run my air tools constantly?

Some tools may only need to deliver their full power in short bursts. Others may need to deliver it constantly. Where you plan to run your air tools for extended periods, you’ll need a compressor with a 100% duty cycle.

Can I add to my compressed air set-up?

That depends on your current consumption. Usually when we size a compressor we suggest a unit slightly larger than the current air tools require. That futureproofs your air compressor to some extent and ensures that you do have some room for expansion without having to replace the compressor.

There is, however, a limit to your expansion capabilities. To find the spare capacity in your compressed air system, add up the current consumption in CFM then subtract that amount from the CFM generated by your air compressor. Now compare that figure with the required CFM of the any new equipment you wish to add. If the amount required by the new tool is higher than the remaining CFM capacity, you’ll need to explore bringing in a new air compressor with greater capacity.

Bear in mind also that any new equipment will have its own pressure requirements, so even if your compressor has the CFM to cope, the issue of pressure may mean you need to upgrade.

If the above suggestions haven’t solved the problem, or if your problem is not on this list, please call us on 0114 243 2347.

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