WorldWide Drilling Resource

10 DECEMBER 2021 WorldWide Drilling Resource ® RENEW - SUBSCRIBE NOW! How to Choose the Right Air Compressor Adapted from Information by VMAC Mobile air compressors are a wonderful thing. They make life a little easier by offering mobile air on demand, wherever you are, while still being able to power high-quality pneumatic tools. Knowing exactly what kind of mobile air compressor is best can be an overwhelming task. These simple steps should help you choose the best mobile air compressor for your jobsite. The very first thing you should do is determine your air needs. Different pneumatic tools require different amounts of air, and these needs vary quite a bit. Air power is typically measured in two metrics: cfm (cubic feet per minute) which is the amount of air being delivered, and psi (pounds per square inch), which refers to the amount of force behind the air. Most tools are rated to run optimally at 80 - 110 psi, so it’s important to find an air compressor capable of delivering the right cfm at the psi your tools require. The best way to determine your psi and cfm requirements is to review all the tools you will be using and check with the manual or manufacturer. If you plan to use more than one air tool at the exact same time, you’ll need to add the cfm requirements of each tool together to determine the total cfm required. The next step is to determine what type of compressor you need. Rotary screw air compressors are more expensive, but last significantly longer, are a higher quality, and provide air instantly while maintaining constant air flow. They are also smaller and lighter. Reciprocating air compressors are capable of high pressures, less expensive, and easier to maintain, but they also have low life expectancy, are louder, heavier, and bulkier. Basically, if you’re looking for a cheap way to get your jobs done for the next year or two, a reciprocating air compressor is probably the way to go. If you need reliable mobile air for the next 5 - 10 years, and are willing to pay more for a better quality solution, rotary screw air compressors are your best bet. Now it’s time to think about how you want to move your air compressor around. There are two major contenders to con- sider - tow-behind and vehicle-mounted air compressors. As the name suggests, tow-behinds are compressors mounted onto a trailer and towed by the hitch of a vehicle. However, if you need high cfms; plan to leave your air compressor in the same spot for weeks or months at a time; or you simply love towing things, a tow-behind air compressor may be what you need. Vehicle-mounted compressors are set in a couple of different ways. The simplest way is to attach the compressor with its own diesel or gas engine onto the back of a truck (or in a van’s cargo hold). Mounting air compressors in this way is relatively easy and inexpensive, which is why a lot of operators love this style. The other way to mount a compressor is to intertwine the air compressor components with a vehicle’s existing com- ponents. Due to the sophisticated installation, engineers will often work with vehicle manufacturers to determine the best way to install these compressors, to make sure the vehicle’s warranties remain in effect. Whether an air compres- sor can be mounted this way depends on the specific vehicle. Finally, you need to consider the power source for the air compressor. If you’ve decided on a tow-behind air compressor, you’ll be limited to gas or diesel engines. If you’re going with a vehicle-mounted mobile air compressor, there are plenty of options. Some have their own gas or diesel engines, while others can integrate into a truck’s existing engine or hydraulics. Air compressors mounted under the hood use these existing systems, which makes them convenient. Consider what type of power sources you already have available and think about whether they will work for your air compressor. Using your vehicle’s engine or existing hydraulics can be a highly con- venient way to power an air compressor. However, if that doesn’t work for you or your vehicle isn’t compatible, air compres- sors with their own gas or diesel engine can be just as effective in getting the job done. When mounted under the hood, most people can’t even see the air compressor because it’s tucked away in the engine compartment. GEO The WWDR office will be closed on December 24 th & 31 st to allow our employees time with their families. Limited staff will be available the week of December 27 th - 30 th . We wish you a safe and happy holiday season!