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Is It Time to Upgrade Your Compressor?


You see the compressor service team more often than you see your dentist. You feel like you need to wipe your feet when leaving your compressor room. You need to shout if you’re chatting with a colleague when standing near your compressor. You can’t monitor your compressor system remotely or through an app. Do any of these things sound familiar? If so, then there’s a good chance that it might be time to consider an upgrade to your compressed air system!

How Do I Know if it’s Time to Upgrade My Compressor System?

We get it – knowing exactly when to upgrade your compressor system can be difficult. When thinking about an air compressor system upgrade, keep in mind that the actual purchase price of the new compressor is only around 10% of the overall cost! You should also take into account the age of your existing compressor; its energy efficiency compared with newer models; and its former repair history and overall reliability. Some additional questions that you can ask yourself include:

  • Should I repair my compressor system instead? A good good rule of thumb to follow is that if the necessary repairs exceed 50-60% of the cost of a new compressor, it may be time to replace the compressor rather than focus on repairs. Critical air compressor parts can cost a substantial amount to replace! For example, if your air compressor needs a new airend element and a new motor, it will typically cost less to purchase a new compressor, rather than replace these parts.
  • Do I have an estimate of all life-cycle costs, including energy and maintenance, for the new compressor? The first cost component is the equipment invoice - but the much more significant cost for an air compressor is the energy it uses month after month for its entire operating life. Compressors that use less sophisticated technology consume more energy. Maintenance costs should be examined carefully as well, given that some compressors are designed to be maintenanced twice as frequently as others!
  • Do I have a plan for optimizing the entire compressor system over the compressor’s lifetime? Like we mentioned above, energy is the biggest single cost component of compressed air. You need to know how much air you get at the pressure you need, and how much energy it takes to get there. Pro tip: check into whether a Variable Speed Drive (VSD) compressor is ideal for your application, and/or if your process will benefit from a robust compressor controller system like the Elektronikon or Optimizer 4.0. These can potentially assist with your system’s energy efficiency!

Flexible Ways to Upgrade Your Compressor System

It’s often believed that upgrading your compressor system will break the bank – but that’s simply not the case! There are more ways than ever before to buy compressed air; in addition to the traditional outright equipment purchase, there are also the options to purchase compressed air only and to lease equipment. Depending on your application, a containerized compressor room might even fit the bill! Robust finance packages can mean that the monthly cost of a new compressor system is much less than the monthly energy savings, and there are many local utility and energy providers across the United States that will offer rebates on the purchase of energy-saving equipment.

We recommend following this simple rule when considering a compressor system upgrade: if the upgrade doesn’t show you a payback that fits your business needs, then don’t purchase. If you like to discuss upgrading your compressor, get in touch with our compressor experts by visiting www.atlascopco.com/air-usa!


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