Most companies that need compressed air will require regular preventative maintenance to keep their compressors running smoothly and efficiently for as long as possible. Depending on how old your industrial air compressor is and how hard it works, some malfunctions can cause you to choose between repair and replacement.
This is the first thing you should ask yourself. In-house technicians are specially good to handle commercial air compressors(like 80 gallon air compresssors). They can help with troubleshooting, helping you avoid the cost of both repair and replacement. You can get a better sense of what either repair or replacement might cost you moving forward by getting a firm grasp on the issues within your compressed air system.
We’ll look at common air compressor issues below.
If you are experiencing excessive noise, loose belts, bearings, or flywheels, defective crankcases can be to blame. If you can isolate the noise source, either guide a repair technician in the right direction or make the small adjustments necessary. This will save you money on otherwise costly repairs.
Most operational malfunctions are caused by power source issues, such as between your compressor and the electric grid. Wrong lubricant levels can contribute to poor operation. Always check compressor oil levels.
In the event of insufficient end-use pressure, the cause can be outside the compressor itself. Poor maintenance or leakage often cause end-use issues. Check the pipes for leaks. If poor air quality or rust build-up within metal pipes is the reason, you might need to replace your air pipes.
Excessive oil consumption, milky oil, and oil in discharge air are usually due to poor or restricted air ventilation, worn piston rings, and loose bolts within the oil system. More serious issues of this type might necessitate bigger component replacements, possibly replacing the entire system.
Problems with cooling systems cause excessively hot discharge air. There can be several causes of excessive belt wear, including the belt not being aligned properly or being too tight or too loose. If you can’t make these adjustments yourself and neither is your maintenance staff, bring in an outside repair technician and save money.
The fuses responsible for bearing your compressor’s electrical system should be the right size. A compressor should not keep blowing fuses. This hurts both energy and worker efficiency.
It’s Cheaper to Get a Technician than Bear Reduced Operating Costs
Don’t confuse tripping of the compressor’s reset mechanism with blown fuses. Repeated resetting can be due to serious motor malfunction. A professional should address this at once in order to avoid irreparable damage to your compressor motor.
Repair or Replace?
Consider the history, age, efficiency, and reliability of your current compressor. Newer models may bring better efficiency and make the switch economically feasible. A new unit could be the more reliable option if you’ve already had your compressor repaired a few times. Maybe your old unit can’t keep up with production growth and the compressed air it requires. This is a reason to upgrade to a larger capacity.
New models will save energy. In this respect, a new compressor is the more economical choice. Consider a new unit if replacing parts is getting more difficult and if the old one is breaking down often. On the other hand, opt for repair if your compressor is still relatively new.
When is the cost of a new unit offset by the money saved from it? If you consider the overall ownership cost of a compressed air system based on a ten-year life cycle, the acquisition cost only accounts for just over 10% of the total. Electricity bills account for 76% of the cost of owning a compressed air system. What does this mean? You are spending $74,000 a year in energy costs if you continuously run a 100-hp compressor at full power, based on the rate of 10 cents per kWh.
Keep the total cost of ownership in mind if you are assessing the value of your compressed air system and making your decision in purely fiscal terms. Yes, the cost of system replacement will be much higher than the cost of repairs. Still, ask yourself whether you will spend more in the long term due to lower efficiency if you keep the old system.
When to Repair
Of course, your first option is repair considering the high cost of industrial air compressors. Repair is the right choice if:
- The compressor has not been superseded by important newer technology
- The equipment is fairly new and has been running for just a few hours
- The compressor is reliable and there are no indications of bigger or underlying problems
Consider replacing it if the necessary repairs exceed 50% of the price of a new unit. Important air compressor parts can cost a lot to replace. It will normally cost less to purchase a new compressor if it emerges your old one needs a new air end element and a new motor.
Yes, new air compressors may seem expensive at first. Returns will come sooner than you think when you factor in energy savings, increased reliability and decreased maintenance costs, and even possible energy credits from your electricity provider. That is not even taking the huge costs associated with downtime into account.
Calculating the unit’s life cycle cost prior to purchasing new equipment is a smart way to analyze the full investment. A life cycle cost evaluation can also be helpful as a comparison tool when vetting other products and systems, to help assess potential environmental, energy-saving and increased production quality demands, to help define other important requirements for the installation, and to reveal areas where energy efficiency can be improved.
Some organizations buy used compressors from productions that no longer need them, then replace or repair individual parts or do a full overhaul of the machines.
When to Replace
Get an energy audit if your compressor is outdated or malfunctioning and not performing on par. By assessing the compressor, professionals can recommend changes to increase production efficiency. If your current compressor is not energy efficient, breaks down often, and is not meeting the growing demands of your business, you need to upgrade it.