How does Piston Compressor work? | What is Piston Air Compressor

The compressors are used to compress the compressible fluids. Compressors have multiple types according to the nature of the application. The piston compressor is one of the most famous types of the reciprocating compressor. It is a conventional and most commonly used industrial compressor. The piston air compressor works on the displacement principle to compress the trapped volume of air or gas. This article mainly explains the different aspects of the piston compressor.

What is a Piston Compressor?

A piston compressor is a type of positive displacement compressor that compresses the compressible fluid through the back-and-forth motion of the piston.

It has a compression chamber and a piston. The piston is connected to a shaft. The piston compressors work on the displacement principle.

These types of compressors are most commonly employed in workshops and small factories that do not need constant air demand or very low air demand. The working of this compressor starts automatically when the pressure falls below the set value and stops when the maximum desired pressure is achieved.

Maximum piston compressors contain automatic valves that open and shut according to the pressure difference across the disc of the valve. Some large machines have spacers, gaskets, or vented crossheads to stop oil from entering the compression chamber.

Working of Piston Compressor

A piston compressor uses a displacement principle to compress the gas or air. This compressor contains a compression chamber, piston, and a shaft—the shaft couples to an electric motor.

As the motor powers to the shaft, the shaft moves the piston. This piston moves forward and backward inside the compression chamber.

When the piston moves forward, a cavity generates at the inlet side of the compressor. When the cavity generates, a pressure difference creates. Due to this pressure difference, the compressor sucks air from the surrounding.

When the suction process completes, the piston moves backward. Due to this backward motion of the piston, the compression chamber volume reduces, and compression of the air occurs. When the air is compressed up to a specific level, the outlet valve opens, and compressed air is discharged to the desired area or storage tank.

Technical Information about Piston Air Compressors

Depending on the desired pressure level or compressed air requirement, Piston compressors are available in different versions. The piston compressor has a crankshaft, connecting rod, cylinder, piston, inlet, and outlet valves.

The crankshaft connects to the engine or electric motor. A V-belt connects the crankshaft to the motor. As the motor delivers power, the crankshaft starts rotating and further reciprocates the piston.

For maintaining a steady system pressure for the compressed air user, many piston air compressors usually contain a compressed gas tank. As the compressed air tool operates, the pressure in the tank reduces.

As the pressure level becomes less than the specified limit, the engine starts and empowers the piston for more suction and compression. When the pressure returns to the operating limit, the engine shuts off automatically.

The pressure switch ensures a constant system pressure in the specific range. The internal tank pressure, i.e., the available operating pressure and the on/off switch function are specified by a pressure gauge inside the system.

Why should you choose a Piston Air Compressor?

The piston compressor is one of the best compressors available in the market because of its low operational price and affordability. These are highly efficient compressors.

The conventional piston compressors are noisy and bulky, while the latest piston compressors don’t have these tired characteristics. This is one of the big achievements of the latest technology and industrial efficiency.

In general, most small and medium-sized compressors have a power range of 0.54 KW to 16 KW. They can usually be used as oil-free or oil-lubricated machines.

These compressors come with a number of optional accessories and product variations aimed at allowing the end-user to choose from a wide range of compressors. The range of large models and piston compressors is designed for specific services such as using for compressed natural gas and can pressurize the fluid approximately 560 kW.

Types of Piston Compressors

The piston compressor has the following major types:

  1. Single Acting Compressor
  2. Double Acting Compressor
  3. Single Stage Compressor
  4. Multistage Compressor

1) Single Stage Compressor

In the single-stage compressor, only one end of the piston uses for both the suction and compression processes. In contrast, the other end is fixed. This compressor completes a working cycle in two strokes of the piston (i.e., the first stroke uses for suction while the second stroke uses for compression).

2) Double Acting Compressor

In the double-acting compressor, both ends of the piston are used for the suction and compression of the air or gas. As the piston moves forward, one end uses to suck the air, while when the piston moves backward, the other end of the piston uses to compress the air.

3) Single Stage Compressor

This compressor has only one cylinder in which a piston reciprocates.

4) Multistage Compressor

The multistage compressor contains two or more compression cylinders. Each cylinder contains a piston. As the air or gas is compressed in the first cylinder, it discharges and sends into the second cylinder, where the reciprocating piston compresses the air up to the desired level.

This compressor has more compression pressure than the single-stage compressor. However, it has more parts and size than the single-stage compressor. 

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