Industry News

The Vital Role of Specialized Compressors in Helium Recovery

New methods of helium discovery are imperative in our industry, due to the rising costs of the noble gas. Helium is valuable for its applications in leak detection and magnet cooling in medical equipment. The industry also needs to continue developing specialized compressors to find new helium sources.  

Many of the breathing air compressors used in diving equipment sold by manufacturers are not sufficiently gas tight. This can result in expensive helium leakage. Due to the low atomic size and viscosity of helium gas, special valves and gaskets are required in helium compressors. Adhesive sealants are also helpful in preventing gas leaks, but can only provide one-way leak tightness.

Want to read more about specialized compressors in helium recovery? Click here.

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Overhauling An Air Compressor

Signs You Need To Overhaul An Air Compressor

It’s imperative that you take oil samples when performing your routine fluid checks. In addition, you should also be monitoring your air compressor for bearing vibration. Performing these tasks on a daily basis can warn you when it’s time to do an overhaul.

air compressor

You Should Overhaul If:

-You discover oil contamination with metal fragments in the oil sample, as this is a sign of wear.

– You notice the temperatures of the internal compressor is rising, which is a sign that the cooler is not working.  

The Difference Between Remanufacture and Rebuild

There are two options when it comes to overhauling an air compressor, you can either remanufacture or rebuild. The big difference between the two options is that a remanufactured air compressor needs to be overhauled within the factory of the original equipment manufacturer, while a rebuild is conducted in the field, at the customer site.

Read more on the best time to overhaul an air compressor and details on which overhaul option is best for you, by clicking here.

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Compressor Room Advantages with Oil-Free Centrifugal Air Compressors

The level of competition in this industry is always rising, so the need to stay cost efficient is always a must. Manufacturers have found that centrifugal air compressors are can reduce plant costs related to supplying compressed air.

What Is Centrifugal Air Compressor Technology?

Centrifugal air compressors operate by transferring kinetic energy from a rotating impeller into potential energy in the diffuser. There are several stages within the centrifugal pressure design, as well as a intercooling stage between each major stage. Centrifugal air compressors are designed to flourish under high capacities, and work best when used for applications over 200 total horsepower.

centrifugal air compressors

Class o Certified Oil-Free Air

Class o per ISO 8573-1 or “oil-free air” can be produced by centrifugal air compressors, which can minimize maintenance required at a manufacturing facility, while also reducing energy costs. An oil-free airstream is necessary for companies that produce textiles, medicine, electronics, and food products.

The oil in the machine is kept out of the actual air path, since oil-free compressors do not use oil in their actual compression process. This also helps keep costs down by minimizing the number of filter change outs required. Oil-free centrifugal air compressors are designed for lower maintenance, and provide the highest energy efficiency. Read more details on the advantages of oil-free centrifugal air compressors here.

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Is Aluminum Pipe Oxidation a Bad Thing?

These days, your customer may be asking you more detailed questions on their piping installation project. If you’ve noticed an increase in requests for aluminum piping, here’s a refresher on how to explain aluminum pipe oxidation.

Why Aluminum Pipe Oxidation Is Trending Topic Now

There has been a shift in the industry away from the use of black iron. This is because consumers have aligned the idea of clean and dry compressed air quality with product quality, and have recognized the cost-effective, high-performance value of aluminum piping. Aluminum’s lightweight properties allow for optimized assembly, and it is much cheaper than copper.

aluminum pipe oxidation

Exterior Pipe Coatings

As consumer awareness of the attributes of aluminum tubing have driven its popularity, so have a swell of additional well thought-out questions.  One question is asked with regularity, “What is done to protect the inside of the tubing”? Even though most all aluminum compressed air piping systems feature a painted or powder coated exterior, the interior of the tubing has no coating.

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Piping and Ventilation Guidelines for Proper Air Compressor Installation

Location, clearance, condensate disposal, ducting, and compressor plumbing are the main items to consider during air compressor installation. Is your installation checklist as comprehensive as you’d like? While budget or time restrictions can inhibit your team from performing their ideal installation, this review in best practices can help improve your project situation.  

Air Compressor Room Design & Proper Air Compressor Installation


Creating a designated compressor room allows for better control of the compressor’s air quality in addition to ensuring the compressors are kept at the proper temperature through the use of HVAC or ventilation. While current compressors have been engineered to be much quieter than previous models, they can still produce a significant amount of noise. Placing compressed air equipment in a designated room helps to significantly reduce noise levels in employee work areas.

Air Compressor Installations

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Get Compressor Room Advantages with Oil-Free Centrifugal Air Compressors

Understanding Centrifugal Technology

Before investigating the benefits of centrifugal air compressors, it is important to understand the technology behind the compressor.

Centrifugal, sometimes referred to as dynamic compressors, work by transferring kinetic energy from a rotating impeller into potential energy (pressure) in the diffuser. As an impeller accelerates the air, a radial diffuser converts the air velocity into pressure converting kinetic energy into increased pressure. Centrifugal compressors typically feature multiple stages within the design. Between each stage, the air is cooled with an intercooler before moving on to the next stage which also increases the compressor efficiency. Due to the continuous flow through the multiple stages, centrifugal compressors are designed to thrive with higher capacities and are best suited for applications above 200 total horsepower.

centrifugal air compressor

Today’s industrial manufacturing environment is extremely competitive, requiring companies to constantly search for cost-saving opportunities and better efficiencies. In many cases, manufacturers find that centrifugal air compressors are a successful method for reducing the overall plant costs involved in supplying compressed air.

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How to Optimizing Today’s Pneumatic Systems

In the last ten years, the design of pneumatic systems has changed dramatically, mainly due to developments in the technologies that create them. Pneumatic manufacturers’ online tools for sizing components have evolved, the fieldbus systems are ever-changing, component designs are constantly improving, and network devices such as the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) have reshaped the industry. All these advances play a large role in optimizing the efficiency of pneumatic systems, but the age-old practice of routine maintenance must not be overlooked. This article will focus on proper air compressor sizing, proper pneumatic component sizing and predictable preventative maintenance.

Maintenance Air Compressor Pneumatic Systems

The heart of any compressed air system is the air compressor itself and the related components such as the receiver tank, aftercooler and dryer. A qualified air compressor vendor should be consulted for the specific type of components required based on environment, duty cycle, pressure and required cubic feet per minute (cfm) and safety factors for future expansion. Each of these factors will be considered when a system analysis is performed. If a particular machine function requires a higher pressure than the rest of the required function, a storage receiver tank and air amplifier can be an efficient way to provide the added pressure to that leg of the system versus increasing the pressure of the air compressor.

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Oil Flooded Variable Speed Rotary Screw for Industrial Compressed Air Equipment

Variable speed oil-flooded rotary screw industrial air compressors are designed to offer the same reliable service as fixed speed compressor, but using the least possible energy to meet the fluctuating air demand. With perfect, instantaneous response to your industrial air demand, you can enjoy stable plant pressure that automatically adjusts to your current plant air compression needs.

Oil Flooded Variable Speed Rotary Screw, Industrial Compressed Air Equipment

Here are some other features of an oil-flooded variable speed rotary screw compressor:

  • The compressor comprises two screws (male and female rotor), a housing or stator, and bearings and bearing supports.
  • To achieve speed variation, the male rotor is driven through a series of gears in the drive housing (not directly by the motor). The male rotor (with four lobes) drives the female (with six lobes).
  • Steady or plise-free compressed air is released via a vent in the end plate at about 85 degrees Celsius, and delivered to a receiver or a secondary compressor for two-stage compression.
  • The positive displacement compressor assembly is flood-lubricated and uses one or two stages to deliver the desired, fluctuating pressure, through a continuous compression process.
  • Packaged units are usually self-contained and mounted on a skid base, and configured to supply plant (not process) air at maximum pressure of 10 bar.
  • The compressor is typically powered by an electric motor and enclosed in a sound-attenuating housing with removable panels for easy serviceability.
  • The compressors can be used for a wide range of industrial applications that require air volumes of 6 to 50 cubic meters per hour, at pressures of 7 to 10 bar, and capacity of 15 to 350kW.

Service and Maintenance

Oil-filled variable speed rotary screw air compressors are designed in compact units featuring a quiet enclosure to minimize vibration and noise levels, while allowing easy serviceability.

Whether you use your air compressor for small workshop operations or bigger applications in a large plant, it is important to partner with a reliable service and maintenance company in Ventura & Los Angeles to ensure that you have ready access to genuine spare parts and a skilled team of engineers and technicians for routine maintenance or in the event of a breakdown to minimize downtime.

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How Oil Flooded Rotary Screws Work in Industrial Compressed Air Equipment

Oil-filled rotary screw air compressors are considered positive-displacement compression units. They comprise a pair of identical helical screws with lubricant filled in the gap to provide an air-tight hydraulic seal and facilitate motion transfer between the two. As the screws rotate and mesh with each other, the air in the threads is forced through the compressor and delivered to the application.

Oil Flooded Rotary Screw, Industrial Compressed Air Equipment

How the System Works

During the compression stage, oil is injected into the compressor to lubricate the rotors, gears, and bearings, cool the compressed air to approximately 40 degrees Celsius above ambient temperature, and assist in sealing clearances in the screw rotor housing.

As the lubricant is conveyed through the compressor, it mixes with the air and gets discharged in an oil/air separator. Here, most of the oil is eliminated due to change in velocity and impingement.

The air then passes through an air/oil separator located at the top of the sump to get rid of the remaining oil. The separated oil drops to the bottom and is carried back to the system via an oil-return-line.

Standard units come with two oil filters:

  • The primary filter – All oil must pass through it
  • The secondary filter – Used to remove impurities from gear and bearing oil

Proper Maintenance

For oil-flooded air compressors, ensuring that there is sufficient, high quality oil in the system is critical for proper function. Most manufacturers recommend the use of lubricants with ISO viscosity grades 32, 46, or 68.

You may also consider using synthetic lubricants that provide longer oil-drain intervals of up to 8,000 hours, compared to the recommended 1,000-hour change intervals for mineral oil-based compressor oils for comprehensive maintenance programs.

If you choose synthetic lubricant, make sure that you also change the oil filters and air/oil coalescer elements at the recommended change intervals for those lubricants and for your specific equipment.

Final Note

When changing the oil, keep in mind that not all lubricants that are applicable to oil-flooded rotary screw units are compatible. Check the lubricant compatibility, and if you plan on changing the lubricant, make sure you flush the system first to avoid any problems.

For professional routine maintenance and repair work, consider working with a professional distributor and service company


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Brands We Carry

When it comes to choosing an industrial air compressor, you need both reliability and power to perform the job at hand at the desired rate and with near-zero downtime. That is why we only distribute air compressors from the top brands in the industry.

Brands We Carry | Industrial Air Compressor Distributor, Q Air-California

With the options for centrifugal, reciprocating, and rotary air compressors, our brands include:

  • Baldor Motors – We distribute Baldor’s cutting-edge rotating equipment for various industrial fluid applications. The manufacturer is well-known for its focus on product longevity and energy savings for its range of products.
  • Chicago Pneumatic – We distribute CP’s range of stationary piston and rotary screw industrial air compressors that are ideal for a wide range of applications, from low compression to high compression requirements. These products have some of the best warranties in the industry.
  • ConservAIR® – Our partnership with Pneumatech, the supplier of ConservAIR® products and technologies gives our clients access to a range of innovative products. Most notable is the Intermediate Control (I/C) compressor that can be retrofitted to any compressed air system to allow for remote control monitoring of your system, which leads to huge energy savings.
  • Domnick Hunter – Our partnership with Domnick Hunter is key to providing our California-based industrial clients with quality, filters, dryers, and separators manufactured in strict accordance with ISO standards, which also ensures optimal performance and minimal environmental impact.
  • Great Lakes Air Dryers – Great Lakes Air manufactures robust and resilient regenerative and refrigerated air dryers and filtration solutions with outstanding warranties.
  • Kobelco America – Established in 1905, Kobelco specializes in the manufacture of compact, smooth-running screw compressors for applications that require capacities and pressures greater than centrifugal-types can deliver, but less than that offered by reciprocating compressors.
  • Kobelco KNW – Kobelco offers a wide range of hardy products that can function in the harshest environment, including oil-free screw compressors for the pharmaceutical, gas, chemical, and electronics industries.
  • Pneumatech Dryers – An innovative leader in the industry, Pneumatech offers a variety of desiccant and refrigerated dryers and compressed air filters that protect your equipment from moisture-related problems such as pollution and corrosion.
  • Quincy – Quincy offers a full-line of vacuum pumps and lubricated rotary screw industrial air compressors that feature efficient controls, compact design, and excellent serviceability, plus a 5-year warranty. Their products also offer portability for easily relocation as needed.
  • ZEKS – This brand is recognized for its exceptional range of compressed air products, including refrigerated and regenerative dryers that feature innovative designs and advanced engineering.

Q Air-California has the expertise to service and repair industrial air compressors from these leading brands in our 22,000 sq. ft. facility. We also provide installation and preventative maintenance to maximize the longevity of your equipment.

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