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What's the Difference Between Backup, Standby, and Redundant Compressors?


Air compressors are the power behind a business’ production; whether its food packaging, CNC machining, wastewater treatment, or any other application, they play an essential role in making sure your production continues without issue. But what if your compressor(s) unexpectedly break down? Even the most reliable machine can suddenly shutdown – so what then?

The easy answer: activate your contingency plan, which should include switching to either your backup, standby, or redundant compressor. This will make sure that your production stays up and running until you can get your primary unit repaired. Let’s learn more about each of these types of compressors actually are and how they are absolutely essential to your business.

What’s a Backup Compressor and Why Might I Need One?

A backup compressor is just that – a unit that is a back-up to your existing compressor. It’s there as a safety net and is available for immediate use if your existing compressor decides to stop working. It’s better to be proactive and have a second compressor on hand for these “just in case” scenarios than to be left without a working compressor – which could bring your production to a screeching halt.

You can read more about backup compressors here.

What’s a Standby Compressor and Why Might I Need One?

A standby compressor is similar to a backup compressor, but unlike the latter, it doesn’t only sit around your facility as an insurance policy. Instead, a standby compressor is connected to your compressed air system and will turn on when the need arises. Keep in mind that this need isn’t only when a compressor failure happens; it also means that the standby compressor will be brought online during periods of peak demand/increased production.

What’s a Redundant Compressor and Why Might I Need One?

Redundancy in air compressors is simple: two (or more) air compressors operate in parallel, alternating to meet demand – but either compressor is fully capable of handling the entire demand for compressed air on its own. This means that if one of the units shuts down, the second unit then takes on the full demand and production continues. The benefits of this are obvious: no downtime, no impact to the bottom line, and no spoiled products. It’s also beneficial when scheduling service, given that maintenance can be performed whenever is necessary – which eliminates the need to wait for after hours, weekends, or holidays.

So now it’s time for you to decide: can your business afford the downtime in the case of compressor failure? In most cases, the answer is no, which makes the above options so important to implement! At least one of the three possibilities described above is sure to be an ideal fit for your facility. Reach out to our air experts at www.atlascopco.com/air-usa to discuss which one would work best for your business!


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