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Oil-Injected Air Compressors

Why horsepower shouldn't be the No. 1 reason you pick your compressor


So it’s time to choose your next compressor. The last one served a worthy tour, and you’d like to put that kind of performance and dependability back to work. So where do you start?

Step 1: Forget (a lot of) what you know.

When you bought your last compressor, there were standards. There still are today, but they’ve changed. Technology has rendered them more efficient, of better quality and better life expectancy.

Top factors for choosing a new compressor

  1. Out-of-pocket vs. overall cost

It’s a simple equation: You want the most compressed air at the lowest cost. The initial cost is only part of it. What will electricity costs be to run the compressor in the first year? What about for five years? With electricity making up 80% of a compressor’s lifetime cost, then mapping the full cost of ownership is an essential activity.

  1. The CFM effect

Forget the notion that horsepower is the end-all for compressor size. The better question: How much CFM (cubic feet per minute) does your plant need? A miscalculation here can cost you thousands in energy costs if you choose one that’s too much for the task.

PRO TIP: If your production has not changed much then matching your replacement compressor with the CFM of your former one is a good idea. If you are not sure, always run a data-logging audit. Find out more here

  1. More horsepower isn’t always the best

More horsepower calls for more electricity. If you’re not getting more CFM for that cost, is it worth it? CFM production can deviate as much as 25% among manufacturers. Your sweet spot: The ideal amount of CFM at the pressure you need for the least amount of horsepower? That’s your sweet spot.

  1. It all boils down to efficiency

Between brands it can be tough to compare CFM and HP ratings, total package energy use, and more, but help is at hand.

The Compressed Air and Gas Institute tests units from an array of manufacturers. The result: A dashboard of certified datasheets, like a car’s window sticker. Each includes:

  • CFM at a given pressure
  • Maximum PSI (pounds per square inch)
  • KW/100Cfm (to measure efficiency)

CAGI's Performance Verification Program is a third-party testing program that validates manufacturers' claims of rotary compressor and refrigerated dryer performance. The program provides you with reliable and verified performance data for rotary air compressors (5-200HP) and refrigerated air dryers (50-1000 scfm).


The Atlas Copco advantage

Atlas Copco has the technology and design to deliver more. There are many ways to make air—scroll, piston, rotary screw, tooth and centrifugal to name a few. Choosing the right one means the lowest operating costs — and more profit for you.

One consideration might be an Atlas Copco variable speed drive compressor. Atlas Copco was a pioneer in this technology, which can adjust its element speed and motor to meet demand, rather than stop and start as needs change.  But take time to understand the Atlas Copco difference and we keep innovating. Read more here: This approach can net as much as 50% in energy-cost savings.

Here’s what to do next

To download the full whitepaper about choosing your next compressor,  go here.

To analyze your air system’s life-cycle costs with a compressed-air energy assessment, that will reveal usage and potential costs savings, go here.


Call us at 866-546-3588 today to get started.

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