Application of Compressed Air

Application of Compressed Air

Industrial facilities use compressed air for a multitude of operations. Almost every industrial facility has at least two compressors, and in a medium-sized plant there may be hundreds of different uses of compressed air.

Uses include powering pneumatic tools, packaging and automation equipment, and conveyors. Pneumatic tools tend to be smaller, lighter, and more maneuverable than electric motor-driven tools. They also deliver smooth power and are not damaged by overloading. Air-powered tools have the capability for infinitely variable speed and torque control, and can reach a desired speed and torque very quickly. In addition, they are often selected for safety reasons because they do not produce sparks and have low heat build-up. Although they have many advantages, pneumatic tools are generally much less energy-efficient than electric tools. Many manufacturing industries also use compressed air and gas for combustion and process operations such as oxidation, fractionation, cryogenics, refrigeration, filtration, dehydration, and aeration. Table 1.1 lists some major manufacturing industries and the tools, conveying, and process operations requiring compressed air. For some of these applications, however, other sources of power may be more cost effective (see the fact sheet titled Potentially Inappropriate Uses of Compressed Air in Section 2).

Compressed air also plays a vital role in many non-manufacturing sectors, including the transportation, construction, mining, agriculture, recreation, and service industries. Examples of some of these applications are shown in Table 1.2.

Table 1.1 Industrial Sector Uses of Compressed Air

Industry Example Compressed Air Uses
Apparel Conveying, clamping, tool powering, controls and actuators, automated equipment
Automotive Tool powering, stamping, control and actuators, forming, conveying
Chemicals Conveying, controls and actuators
Food Dehydration, bottling, controls and actuators, conveying, spraying coatings, cleaning, vacuum packing
Furniture Air piston powering, tool powering, clamping, spraying, controls and actuators
General Manufacturing Clamping, stamping, tool powering and cleaning, control and actuators
Lumber and Wood Sawing, hoisting, clamping, pressure treatment, controls and actuators
Metals Fabrication Assembly station powering, tool powering, controls and actuators, injection molding, spraying
Petroleum Process gas compressing, controls and actuators
Primary Metals Vacuum melting, controls and actuators, hoisting
Pulp and Paper Conveying, controls and actuators
Rubber and Plastics Tool powering, clamping, controls and actuators, forming, mold press powering, injection molding
Stone, Clay, and Glass Conveying,blending, mixing, controls and actuators, glass blowing and molding, cooling
Textiles Agitating liquids, clamping, conveying, automated equipment, controls and actuators, loom jet weaving, spinning,texturizing

Table 1.2 Non-Manufacturing Sector Use of Compressed Air

Agriculture Farm equipment, materials handling, spraying of crops, dairy machines
Mining Pneumatic tools, hoists, pumps, controls and actuators
Power Generation Starting gas turbines, automatic control, emissions controls
Recreation Amusement parks – air brakes
  Golf courses – seeding, fertilizing, sprinkler systems
  Hotels – elevators, sewage disposal
  Ski resorts – snow making
  Theaters – projector cleaning
  Underwater exploration – air tanks
Service Industries Pneumatic tools, hoists, air brake systems, garment pressing machines, hospital respiration systems,
Transportation climate control
Wastewater Pneumatic tools, hoists, air brake systems
Treatment Vacuum filters, conveying

Post time: Jun-03-2019