An air receiver is an essential part of all compressed air systems. Sometimes also referred to as a compressed air tank acts as a buffer and a storage medium between the compressor and the consumption system. By acting as a temporary storage, an air receiver accommodates the peaks of demand from your system and to optimize the running efficiency of your plant.
Some air compressors can be “tank-mounted,” which means that they come as a package and are mounted on top of the air receivers. This set up is ideal for facilities where space is an issue. Having a tank-mounted compressor can also save on initial install costs associated with commissioning a stand-alone dryer.
Tank-mounted compressors are most seen with smaller range compressors, mainly up to 26 kW or 35 HP. Larger compressors cannot be tank-mounted as they become top heavy and pose a safety risk.
Knowing what size air receiver, you need is almost as important as knowing what size compressor you need. When it comes to sizing, a good rule of thumb is to allow 3-4 gallons for each CFM or 10-15 liters for each liters/second of compressed air depending on the type of an air compressor used and the application.
Similar to sizing an air compressor there are a number of factors you need to think about when sizing your air receiver.
- Minimizing pressure fluctuations/drops – that can have an impact on the production process and the quality of your product
- Meeting short term peak air demands – an air receiver provides storage to meet short term peak air demands that the compressor cannot meet.
- Energy Considerations – using an air receiver can reduce energy consumption by enabling load/offload or fixed speed compressors to operate on a longer cycle and with tighter pressure bands. In short, the stored air can be used when there is an increase in flow demand while providing steady pressure and extending the life of the compressor.
- Safety Considerations – If needed, an air receiver will provide a supply of air to enable production processes and systems to be safely shutdown in an emergency.
In theory your compressed air system can run without an air receiver, but not having one in your air system can increase the loading and unloading cycles on the compressor making the compressor work harder. It is important to remember that load/unload cycles will depend on the demand fluctuation within your facility. To learn more, contact an Atlas Copco expert.