What Is an Air Compressor?Leave a Comment
Air compressors are versatile tools used across industrial and commercial applications. These pneumatic devices pressurize air within a tank and store the energy for later use, such as inflating tires or operating power tools. Air compressors provide a simple yet powerful means of converting and storing energy. For that reason, compressed air is sometimes considered a fourth utility, after natural gas, water, and electricity. Unlike these utilities, however, compressed air is usually generated and controlled by the end user. Oasis Manufacturing offers a high-performance line of DC (direct current) powered air compressors to power a variety of critical services.
How Do Air Compressors Work?
Although their specific mechanisms vary, most air compressors use pistons or rotors to force air into a chamber, where one-way valves trap the gas in its compressed state. The air can be stored in a tank until needed, at which point it is released into a connected device or receptacle.
Types of Air Compressors
Many types of air compressors exist, each suitable for certain industrial applications.
- Rotary Screw Compressors: Rotary screw compressors trap air between two helical rotors that turn in opposite directions. These low-maintenance compressors come with a built-in cooling system. They are available in oil-lubricated or oil-free models and have varying degrees of horsepower. Rotary screw compressors typically accommodate continuous use.
- Reciprocating Air Compressors: Reciprocating air compressors generate pressure using a piston, which pumps air into a cylinder on the downstroke and forces it into a chamber on the upstroke. These compressors are most suitable for use in low-to-medium power applications.
- Axial Compressors: Axial compressors are expensive and highly technical devices that use propeller-like components to increase the pressure of incoming air. Despite their high efficacy, these compressors are cost-prohibitive for all but the most demanding applications, such as aerospace research and development.
- Centrifugal Compressors: Centrifugal compressors use a multi-stage compression process that cools and slows the flow of air to generate pressure. These compressors can create significant energy relative to their size, so they are ideal for extensive, high-power applications.
- DC (Direct Current) Compressors: Instead of storing air in a vessel, DC compressors transfer compressed air directly to an object. For this reason, DC air compressors are ideal portable generators essential for mobile and off-road settings. They can inflate tires in emergency situations, reset tire beads, power air tools, and more.
Applications for Air Compressors
Air compressors are used in highly diverse applications across industries. Here are some of the most common uses.
- Military & Government: Tank-mounted air compressors provide military and government personnel a portable way to complete tough jobs in the field. For instance, air compressors can help clean equipment or perform emergency repairs while away from a conventional power source.
- Construction: Power tools such as drills, hammers, compactors, and excavators require a consistent power supply. However, remote construction sites often lack reliable electricity or diesel sources. Portable air compressors solve this problem, offering a consistent, cost-effective way to power construction equipment.
- Tow Trucks & Work Trucks: On-board air compressors mount directly to service vehicles to provide a reliable and compact power source in the field. These compressors are ideal for filling tires and lifting vehicles.
- Manufacturing: Air compressors power conveyor belts, presses, packaging equipment, and similar devices. Oil-free compressors are especially valuable in food and pharmaceutical manufacturing, which call for contaminant-free pressurized air.
- Agriculture: Air compressors are a rugged and efficient option for powering pumps, sprayers, and crop conveyers in agricultural applications. They also help farmers clean equipment and perform repairs.
- HVAC: HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) systems rely on air compressors to control airflow and regulate refrigerants.
- Mining & Oil Drilling: DC air compressors provide a safe, powerful solution for operating pneumatic valves and drilling equipment at isolated mining sites and offshore facilities.
- Motor Coaches & Buses: Many vehicles rely on air suspension systems to kneel for accessibility purposes. Compact DC air compressors can easily regulate these kneeling mechanisms, providing efficient air delivery rates and high-pressure ratings.
- Off-Roading: DC compressors are ideal for the rugged demands of off-roading. These compressors occupy minimal space and yet have the power to reset tire beads, activate air lockers, and run power tools without a tank.
- Pressure Washing: Air compressors force pressurized water through blasters that efficiently clean brick walls, concrete floors, and engines.
- Scuba Diving: Scuba divers require compressed air tanks to breathe longer underwater.
- Spray Painting: Air compressors power handheld spray painters for personal and industrial applications.
- News & Surveillance: News and surveillance vehicles are often equipped with pneumatic masts to mount cameras. These vehicles can benefit from small air compressors, which fit snugly within tool compartments to quickly raise masts on-location.
DC Air Compressors from Oasis Manufacturing
Oasis Manufacturing offers a high-quality line of DC air compressors designed for multipurpose applications. Our offerings include continuous-use and extended-duty DC air compressors, as well as portable tank-mounted options that offer shop-level performance.
XD4000 Continuous-Duty Air Compressor
The XD4000 is our most robust DC air compressor, able to handle continuous performance under rigorous conditions. This GSA-approved product features a dual-fan compression cooling system to support a 100% duty cycle at operating temperatures between -20 °C and 65 °C (-4 °F to 150 °F). Available in 12VDC or 24VDC, the XD4000 achieves a flow rate exceeding 8 cfm at 100 psi.
XD3000 Extended-Duty Air Compressor
With an operating temperature and flow rate similar to the XD4000, our XD3000 extended-duty model can achieve a 100% duty cycle for 30 minutes and 50% thereafter. This makes the XD3000 ideal for medium-duty applications.
Tank-Mounted Air Compressors
Oasis tank-mounted air compressors are ideal for tow truck and utility truck applications, featuring either an XD3000 or XD4000 compressor mounted directly to a 10-gallon, ASME-coded tank. These units ship fully assembled and tested, ready to install.
High-Quality, Convenient Air Compressors from Oasis Manufacturing
Oasis’ extended- and continuous-duty DC air compressors offer unsurpassed performance in some of the most demanding industrial applications. They are specifically engineered to deliver robust, reliable power from a compact size, offering the ideal combination of utility and convenience.
For help choosing an air compressor, contact our team for personalized guidance or request a quote today.