Stable Air Pressure and Why It’s Important

H&K Pump install Stable air pressure

Understanding stable air pressure is simplier that you think. For most people compressed air is like electricity in that they do not think about it until they don’t have it. For example, most people would never stop to think about the pressure fluctuations in their compressed air system. Likely, the only time this becomes an issue is when an operator squeezes his air gun and the hissing sound isn’t loud enough which indicates that the tool will not be able to turn the bolt. In this case, the most common answer is to go to your favorite store and buy another air compressor.

Why should anyone care about how much the pressure swings in their piping and tank system? As we will see it’s all about saving money and increasing reliability.

It’s important to understand that everyone thinks that they have stable air pressure that does not fluctuate. However, if you do not have a flow control device, such as the DemandSmart Flow Controller, then you can be assured of these facts:

  • The air pressure that your compressor must produce is higher than necessary
  • It is fluctuating at least 10 psi. Even if you have a regulator it will still “track” with system pressure. That means if your regulator is set to 90 psi and the upstream air pressure fluctuates between say 125 and 135, then the regulator will also fluctuate between 90 and 100 psi
  • The all-important question is how does stabilizing the pressure to say 1 or 2 psi (versus 10 psi) save money and increase reliability?
  • Less air is lost by leaks and therefore the compressor can be “off” for longer and not consuming electricity
  • The compressor does not have to make as high a pressure. A good rule of thumb is that for every 2 psi drop in pressure that the compressor must make results in a 1% decrease in energy
  • Air tools are designed to work at very specific pressures so if this is stable then they last longer because the air pressure is at their ideal operating parameters. Air tools that last longer and operate at premium efficiency cut down on maintenance cost and prevents work stoppages
  • Air compressors will last a lot longer. This is because the compressor controls do not have to directly respond to users of the air. For example, with no flow control device, the compressor must load or unload as an operator blasts his air gun. With a flow controller, the valve will use the air in the tank and piping system to supply the operators demand. The valve cannot “produce” air so the benefit to the compressor is longer on and longer off time which saves wear and tear on valves and components

With all these savings combined, it is very typical to have a payback in less than a year. The best proof for the importance of stable air is to ask anyone using a flow controller if they would get rid of them…. Most compressed air users would not.

Posted on: February 8, 2018, by : Cameron Ballentine