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AIR COMPRESSOR

SELECTION GUIDE

Air compressors can be used in large industrial applications or smaller shops. This guide provides basic information to help
you determine which air compressor best fits your needs. You will find a glossary of terms, tips for selecting the correct unit,
things to remember when purchasing, and details for determining CFM requirements.

Glossary of Terms

CFMCubic Ft. per Min. A measure of compressors capacity and of the air flow
requirement of air-driven devices. Compressors have two ratingsDisplacement
CFM and Free Air CFM. Air-driven devices are rated in Free Air CFM.
Displacement CFMcalculated by multiplying the volume of the pump
cylinder(s) by the pump speed in RPM (on 2-stage pumps take the volume
only of the low-pressure cylinders). This rating does not take into
consideration efficiency of air pump.
Free Air CFMthe actual air delivery of a compressor, as measured when
discharged to atmospheric pressure.

Check Valveallows air to flow one way only, from pump to tank. When
compressor stops, this valve closes, preventing loss of air from tank.
Safety or Relief Valvevents tank if excess pressure builds up. For safety, a
relief valve must be used on all compressors. ASME stamped and sealed
safety valves must be used on all ASME tanks.
Low-Oil Level Shutdown Switchinstalled in compressor crankcase and
wired to magnetic motor starter. Shuts off motor if compressor pump runs
low on oil.

Pressure (PSI)measures in Pounds per Sq. In. the force exerted by the
compressed air.

Magnetic Starteran electrically operated switch used to control the


compressor motor and provide thermal protection. Activated by pressure
switch.

Air Pump (compressor head)the part of the compressor that compresses


the air.

Automatic Tank Drain Valveinstalled at bottom of tank. Opens briefly


during each pumping cycle to release moisture condensed from the air.

Single-Stage Type Compressorfor applications requiring air at 125 PSI or


less. Has one or more cylinders, all discharging directly into the tank.

Bell Guardmetal or plastic shield around pump flywheel, belt and motor
sheave to prevent hands or clothing from getting caught in moving parts.
Recommended for all installations. Necessary for OSHA compliance.

Two-Stage Type Compressorfor applications requiring air at 125175


PSI. Has two or more cylinders in series. The first cylinder compresses air
into the second cylinder, which then compresses it further and pumps it
into the tank.

How to Order
Select the Correct Compressor in 6 Simple Steps
1 Determine Compressor Type. Based on your PSI needs, determine if you

4 Determine Tank Size. Choose a small receiver for installations where

need a single-stage (generally for 90 to 125 PSI) or 2-stage (generally for


125 to 175 PSI).

storage is not important, demand is infrequent, or where constant speed


controls are used. Use a large receiver for installations where large flow
of short duration is needed, steady flow demands longer running and
longer resting periods on start-stop control, minimum pressure
variations are important, and drier cooler air is required.

2 Determine Air Consumption. Make a list of tools and equipment

requiring a continuous flow of compressed air and a separate list of tools


and equipment using intermittent air (25% use factor).

5 Determine Control Type. Start-stop (pressure switch) control, constant

speed control, or dual control.

3 Determine Compressor Horsepower. Add the CFM required from both

lists (use 25% of intermittent total figure), add in another 15% to 25%
or system variable and future needs, and divide this total by four to
determine approximate horsepower.

Select Your Actual Compressor from the information you complied.


Custom packages are available
call a Certified Product Specialist for information.

Things to Remember
Select a 3-phase motor in preference to a single-phase unit if 3-phase power
is available. Three-phase motors are more reliable and efficient. Select a gaspowered unit for remote operation. Locate your compressor in the center of
the system to avoid long pipe lines. Provide it with plenty of clean, cool, dry
air. Compressors are noisy so provide for sound control and for access to
allow efficient maintenance.
Use straight tubing or pipe lines of adequate strength and a minimum of
fittings to avoid pressure loss caused by friction. Never use tubing or pipe of
a smaller diameter than storage tank outlet. Use larger diameter for long
runs.
Outlets should be taken from the top of the main line (tees facing up)
to keep moisture out.

Check the pressure at any given point by inserting a gauge in the line.
Excessive pressure drops could require redesign of your system.
Keep equipment in good operating condition, check you piping and
fittings regularly to avoid leaks.
Plan head. Make allowances in your original system for future expansion
and additions to equipment. Providing more than you need now is often
a better investment than having to redesign or supplement later.
Be sure your system complies with local and state codes. Many areas have
very strict regulations regarding compressors, air tanks, and other air
equipment. Check before you buy.

Determining Air Volume (CFM) Requirements


Add up the Free Air CFM requirements for all of the air-powered devices
that the compressor will be required to operate at the same time. If
manufacturers data are not available, the tables below may be used as
an approximate guide. To the total, add 25% or more to allow for system
variables and provide capacity for future needs. (Total intermittent
continuous CFM demands separately.)
Miscellaneous Portable Tools
At 70 to 90 PSI Range
Drill, 1/16 to 3/8"
Drill, 3/8 to 5/16"
Screwdriver, #2 to #6 Screw
Screwdriver, #6 to 5/16" Screw
Tapper, to 3/8"
Nutsetters, to 3/8"
Nutsetters, to 3/8"
Nutsetters, to 3/4"
Impact Wrench, 1/4"
Impact Wrench, 3/8
Impact Wrench, 1/2"
Impact Wrench, 3/4"
Impact Wrench, 11/4"
Die Grinder, Small
Die Grinder, Medium
Horizontal Grinder, 2"
Horizontal Grinder, 4"
Horizontal Grinder, 6"
Horizontal Grinder, 8"
Vertical Grinders and Sanders5" Pad
Vertical Grinders and Sanders7" Pad
Vertical Grinders and Sanders9" Pad
Burring Tool, Small
Burring Tool, Large
Rammers, Small
Rammers, Medium
Rammers, Large
Backfill Tamper
Compression Riveter
Air Motor, 1 HP
Air Motor, 2 HP
Air Motor, 3 HP
Air Motor Hoist, 1000 lb.
Air Motor Hoist, 2000 lb.
Paint Spray Gun
Scaling Hammer
Chipping Hammer
Riveting Hammer
Circular Saw, 8"
Circular Saw, 12"
Lightweight Chain Saw
Heavy Duty Chain Saw

CFM Consumption at
25% Use Factor
6.25
8.75
3.0
6.0
5.0
5.0
6.0
7.5
3.75
5.0
7.5
8.75
13.75
3.75
6.0
5.0
15.0
15.0
20.0
8.75
15.0
17.5
3.75
6.0
3.25
8.5
10.0
6.25
0.2 cu. ft. per cycle
6.3
12.5
18.75
1 cu. ft. per ft. of lift
1 cu. ft. per ft. of lift
5.0
3.0
7.5
7.5
11.25
16.25
7.0
21.8

EQUIPMENT AIR REQUIREMENT AVERAGES


Always use free air (CFM) and pressure (PSI) specifications from nameplate
on the device or from the manufacturer. CFM free air figures below are
averages and should not be considered accurate for any specific brand.

Equipment
PSI Range
70100
70100
70100
70100
70100
90100
7090
7090
7090
7090
7090
7090
90100
90100
90100
125150
125150
125150
125150
90100
90100
125150
90100
90100
90100
90100
90100
120150
145175
125150
125150
90100
70100
70100

AUTOMOTIVE EQUIPMENT
AIR REQUIREMENT AVERAGES
Portable
Tools
Air Filter Cleaner*
Body Polisher*
Body Sander, Orbital*
Brake Tester
Carbon Remover*
Dusting Blow Gun
Drill, 1/16" to 3/8"*
Impact Wrench 3/8" sq. dr.*
Impact Wrench 1/2" sq. dr.*
Impact Wrench 3/4" sq. dr.*
Impact Wrench 1" sq. dr.
Die Grinder*
Vertical Disc Sanders*
Filing/Sawing Machine, Small*
Filing/Sawing Machine, Large*
Tire Rim Stripper
Tire Changer
Tire Inflation Line
Tire Spreader
Air Hammer*
Tire Hammer
Bead Breaker
Spring Oiler
Spray Gun Engine Cleaner*
Production Paint Spray Gun*
Touch-Up Paint Spray Gun*
Undercoat Paint Spray Gun*
Grease Gun*
Hydraulic Lift
Hydraulic Floor Jack
Pneumatic Garage Door
Radiator Tester
Fender Hammer*
Medium Duty Sander*

Compressor CFM
Required Per Unit
3.0
2.0
5.0
3.5
3.0
2.5
4.0
2.0
3.5
7.5
10.0
5.0
10.0
3.0
5.0
6.0
1.0
1.5
1.0
4.0
12.0
12.0
4.0
5.0
8.5
3.5
19.0
3.0
6.0
6.0
3.0
1.0
9.0
40.0

*These devices are considered as continuously operating.


This is for 8000-lb. capacity. For each additional 1000 lbs., add 0.65 CFM.