Reciprocating air compressors are one of the most common types of compressors in use, and for good reason; they are affordable, reliable and able to produce high-pressure airflow suitable for most general purpose applications. In addition, reciprocating compressors are the simplest compressor type from a repair and maintenance perspective, and most individuals who are handy with basic tools are able to perform the tasks necessary to keep them running. Despite their reliability, reciprocating air compressors contain a few parts that should be considered consumable and that will eventually need replacing. If your air compressor is unable to hold pressure as it once did or seems to be cycling on more often than normal, then you should consider replacing these consumable parts. Below is more information about these components and why replacement is vital to the long-term operation of your compressor::
Air intake silencer and filter
Reciprocating air compressors are the noisiest type of compressor due to the high-speed, up-and-down movement of the pistons. This creates a clatter similar to an internal combustion engine, and while the noise isn't a nuisance in some circumstances, it can be frustrating for workers and others who spend time around a compressor.
One means of controlling the amount of noise made by a reciprocating compressor is to use an air intake silencer; often paired with a filter element, the silence/filter unit helps reduce sound by buffering the incoming air. In addition, the filter serves to prevent gunk from being absorbed into the air intake and causing damage to the internal components.
If the intake/filter on your compressor is rusted, worn or cracked, then replacement will help reduce noise and prevent possible damage to the device. However, be sure to select a filter that is capable of handling the intake volume of air for your compressor; otherwise, the restriction of air could lead to device overheating and possible compressor failure.
Valve plate gasket and reeds
Reciprocating air compressors use a flat metal plate that controls the flow of air into the compressor, the air storage tank and outward flow to the air hose. This valve plate is fitted with several thin metal reeds that flex up and down as the airflow moves through it. Designed to prevent air from flowing the wrong direction, these reeds bend multiple times per second and are subjected to heat and stresses that can cause metal fatigue. If the reeds aren't periodically replaced, they are likely to fracture and break which can lead to loss of pressure or prevent operation altogether.
Along with the valve plate reeds, the plate itself will be attached to the cylinder head with a gasket separating the components. Gaskets can become brittle over time and the airtight seal between the head and valve plate will be compromised should it split or fragment.
Cylinder sleeves and piston rings
Instead of making direct contact with the cylinder walls of the compressor, the pistons in most reciprocating compressors fit into removable sleeves. These sleeves are relatively inexpensive to replace and they are also simpler to manufacture, keeping the cost of the compressor lower. However, as a wear part, the sleeves will eventually widen due to the constant friction exerted against them by the moving pistons. In addition, other imperfections, such as scratches and scoring lines, will develop over time and permit air to escape.
In the same way that cylinder sleeves are designed to be replaced after significant use, the piston has rings that help form an airtight seal inside the cylinder. These rings also will wear out over time due to the friction inside the cylinder sleeve; air will escape through the minute imperfections along the edge of the rings. That is why you should always include rings on your shopping list of rebuild parts whenever your air compressor begins to falter and you reach out to a company like Kruman equipment company.
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