A rotary compressor reduces the volume of air by compressing it between intermeshing, counter-rotating components that force the air into a tank. Rotary compressors are constructed of stainless steel, aluminum, or cast iron. For industrial or extreme conditions, the metals may be heavy duty grade. Compressors can be gas powered or electric. Mini or portable compressors often run on batteries.
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Applications of Rotary Compressors
Rotary compressors are able to provide continuous operation and are used for commercial and industrial applications. Air compressors operate across a wide range of industries, such as construction, manufacturing, agriculture, automotive, pharmaceuticals, and plastics. They are most commonly used to power pneumatic tools that rely on a steady, powerful air supply. Nail guns, staplers, and jackhammers are just a few examples.
Tires, tubes, and other inflatable products rely on air compressors in order to operate. These machines are used to fill tanks and cylinders with dense compressed air to increase the tank's capacity. Air compressors are used to circulate and purify air, and their force is useful for industrial cleaning and drying. They are also commonly used for car engines because they can be easily calibrated to match the piston engines' rate of induction.
Rotary Compressor Design and Function
Rotary compressors consist of an air tank, a motor with rotating screws, an air hose, and various accessories that include a pressure gauge, fittings, and anti-vibration feet. Rotary air compressors pressurize air by reducing its volume through compression and kinetic energy from a rotating element. Rotary screw compressors have rotors shaped like helical screws that interlock, producing pockets of air that are steadily condensed in volume until discharged.
Centrifugal compressors use a rotary impeller that rapidly accelerates then decelerates. These compressors are often being manufactured to run without the use of oil seals. Because the blades and rotors are finely machined, they fit together very closely and do not require oil or lubricants. Oilless air compressors are used in medical and food processing environments where even one part per billion of oil is unacceptable.
Besides being defined by using oil or not using oil, compressors are also identified by how they operate. The two main types of operations are positive displacement and dynamic compressors. Positive displacement compressors work by filling and emptying an air chamber and include a rotary screw model and reciprocating models. Dynamic air compressors use a rotating device to force air condensing. Axial and centrifugal compressors are both dynamic. Compressors may also be single or multi stage machines, depending on the number of chambers and cycles the air goes through before reaching the desired pressure. Higher pressures are possible with multi stage compressors, but they cannot pressurize air as quickly as the single stage models.