How To Use A CFM Calculator

CFM - cubic feet per minute

Whether you use a calculator every day or you haven’t used one since high school, it’s probably a safe bet that you’d still be fairly comfortable using the device if you had to. If you’re ever in the market for an air compressor for your industrial facility, it would certainly qualify as a time when you would want to use one. But you shouldn’t use just any calculator to ensure the air compressor that you’re interested in acquiring is capable of adequately powering all of the tools in your facility. In this case, you want to use a CFM, or cubic feet per minute, calculator. CFM essentially measures flow rate and can help identify other key metrics that you want out of an air compressor.

In this post, we’ll explain why calculating CFM is so important, how to properly calculate your facility’s compressed air needs and where you can find the right calculator to help you determine the air compressor that’s best for you. After you’ve accomplished all of this, then industrial installation services of your compressor can proceed. Here’s a look at what you need to know about CFM calculators.

Why is Calculating CFM Important?

The bottom line is that if you’re not properly assessing the complete needs of your facility, it’s not likely to run efficiently or effectively. This can lead to unnecessary downtime that can halt productivity and, ultimately, profit.

That’s why knowing the total CFM output of every tool that runs off the air compressor is important. If you select an air compressor with too little CFM output, then you’re going to run into productivity issues. Select an air compressor with too much CFM output, then you’re going to be wasting energy and cutting into your bottom line.

The good news is that it’s fairly easy to calculate the CFM output that your air compressor will need. We’ll get into how to do this in the next section.

How to Calculate CFM

So just how do you calculate the CFM output that you’ll need to adequately power the tools in your facility? The good news is that it’s fairly simple to do. To start, analyze every tool that is powered by the air compressor. The tool should have some sort of published air requirements. You can likely find these requirements on the tool itself or in the user’s manual. The air requirement is the minimum output that is required to adequately power the tool. It’s usually listed in both CFM and PSI, or pounds per square inch.

It’s easy to select an air compressor if it’s only powering one tool. You simply just make sure that the compressor is rated appropriately to handle that sole tool. But if the compressor is powering more than one tool, as is the case in most industrial facilities, then you’ll want to add all of the CFMs together. Ideally, the CFM output on the air compressor that you select should be at least 1.5 times the total CFM of all of your tools.

Have a current air compressor and not sure what type of flow rate you’re hitting? You might consider picking up a flow meter to measure it.

There are other considerations that you’ll want to keep in mind when selecting the right air compressor for your needs. For instance, duty cycle is something that you’ll want to take into consideration. Duty cycle refers to whether or not the compressor delivers continuous, consistent flow. For instance, a compressor that operates at a 100 percent duty cycle will deliver a consistent CFM and PSI the entire time it is in use. A 50 percent duty cycle will operate with consistent CFM and PSI for half the total time it is in use.

Where to Find a CFM Calculator

We get how this might still be confusing – and being that it’s so important to get this right, it’s something that should not be overlooked. The good news is that there are plenty of resources available to help you properly assess your tools in a facility and help you determine what type of an air compressor you’ll need. In fact, we have one right here on the JH Foster website with our own CFM Calculator.

It’s simple to use. Just count your tools and equipment, select your duty cycle and we’ll break it down by horsepower, CFM and PSI to help you determine what type of air compressor you should be looking for. By plugging the data into the calculator, you should have actionable insight within just a few minutes.

Contact JH Foster Today

For more information on the importance of CFM and for help using our CFM Calculator, contact JH Foster today.