Notable Industrial Uses for Compressed Air Systems
The global industrial air compressor market is a fast-growing sector with a projected compound annual growth rate of 5.7 percent from 2020 to 2027. By then, spending on industrial air compressors is expected to reach around $17.8 billion. This is because there is a growing demand for more efficient and advanced compressed air technologies.
These technologies have a wide array of uses across different industries. To better understand the growing market and the increasing relevance of industrial compressed air systems, this article will look into their different applications. It will also compare industrial air compressors to those available in the consumer and commercial markets.
Industrial Air Compressors
An industrial air compressor is a piece of equipment that converts power into potential energy by storing it as pressurized air. It often provides similar functionality to pumps, with the latter utilizing liquids such as water and oil instead.
For an air compressor to be considered industrial, the mechanical applications it powers need to be part of industrial processes. Air compressors are used in industries such as agriculture, manufacturing, mining, food processing, and construction.
Industrial air compressors are usually more powerful and more durable than those offered in other markets. These industry-grade pieces of equipment are usually stationary, unlike their commercial and consumer counterparts.
Consumer Air Compressors
Consumer air compressors are fairly new since these tools were almost exclusively used by professionals for decades. Today, many manufacturers have begun selling consumer-grade air compressors for a variety of uses. These machines are usually significantly smaller and less powerful than industry-grade ones.
Air compressors for home use typically feature a motor that is rated below 7.5 HP and can only output around 100 psig or pounds per square inch gauge. This kind of performance is just right for consumer applications like blowing tires, pressure cleaning, and even airbrush painting.
Their lightweight and smaller characteristics make them easy to store in a garage or basement of an average home.
Commercial Air Compressors
Commercial applications for air compressors sit between consumer and industrial uses. This also means that their size, weight, capacity, and other specifications are lower than those for industrial use and higher than those for consumer use. These pieces of equipment are more durable than those found in homes.
The commercial market for air compressors is substantial. Several small- to mid-sized businesses rely on commercial air compressors in their operations. This includes automotive repair, building and construction, power cleaning services, and more.
There are also several uses for compressed air systems in sectors like healthcare and leisure.
Industrial Applications for Compressed Air System
As mentioned at the beginning of the article, compressed air systems are essential for several industrial applications. The following are a few of the most notable uses for air compressors in the industrial space:
- Crop Sprayers – Several crop sprayers in the market use compressed air systems that use large amounts of air to operate. These air compressors distribute solutions equally and efficiently across the rows of produce.
- Ventilation – In some cases, growers find it difficult to get the right amount of clean ventilation to their crops. Air compressors are used to address this issue. These can be installed in greenhouses and silos to make sure they are getting enough clean air.
- Water Pumps – Compressed air systems are sometimes used to route water to where they need to be in agricultural settings. Air compressors can help irrigate crops and pastures or deliver water to livestock.
- Air-operated Tools – Compressed air systems are used to provide pressure or energy to tools that typically have mechanical applications like conveyors or pneumatic robots. Many prefer these air-powered tools since the electric alternatives are generally heavier and more difficult to handle.
- Blasting and Finishing – Compressed air is used to push grit or shot for blasting and cleaning processes within manufacturing. It is also used to vaporize paint to apply it evenly on components or products along the assembly line.
- Heating or Cooling – Compressed air systems can also be used to provide hot air for heating and cold air for cooling processes. For this process to take place, air is used in vortex tubes, creating large volumes of air with the desired temperature.
- Cutting – Air compressors are being used to cut food items more cleanly and efficiently than blades. They can also be used to peel certain products such as onions and nuts before they are packaged. In these applications, jets of pressurized air are used.
- Mixing – Some food products need to be mixed during processing. These include cereals and chips. Compressed air is favored for this application because it is efficient and sanitary while also being gentle enough not to ruin the items.
- Packaging – Food items that are packaged within plastic or glass containers sometimes use compressed air systems for blow-molding. This is where the plastic or glass is heated up inside a mold. Compressed air is then used to push the plastic or glass to take the shape of the mold.
- Cooling – Several food products that are roasted, baked, or cooked are cooled before they are packaged. In these cooling applications, compressed air is used to bring down the temperature of the items more quickly, significantly improving the efficiency of production overall.
Oil and Gas
- Equipment – Compressed air is a critical medium in the transfer of energy that enables drills, jackhammers, and other tools to operate. Air compressors may also be used to move cylinders and brakes.
- Breathing – Operators in the gas and oil industry often need to work in confined spaces and other dangerous conditions. In these instances, they use compressed air to provide gas for breathing.
The industrial market for compressed air systems continues to grow as more efficient technologies and automation become increasingly commonplace. Air compressors are vital tools that perform a wide variety of applications across different sectors such as agriculture, oil and gas, food processing, and manufacturing.
If you want to learn more about the industrial applications of compressed air systems, contact our team. JHFOSTER has been providing facilities and businesses with reliable compressed air systems since 1938. We are experts when it comes to business automation.