Chances are, if you work in an industry utilizing reciprocating air compressors, you already know the importance of proper periodic maintenance to keep them operating at peak efficiency. However, chances are almost as good that you’re unaware of exactly all that entails. Luckily, Scales Industrial Technologies has the remedy.
The company recently produced a video in which Scales’ Service Technician Chris Lopez explains the process of reciprocating air compressor maintenance simply and concisely. “Regular compressor maintenance is critical for their reliability and longevity,” he asserts; “anyone who thinks otherwise is looking for trouble.”
For obvious reasons, the first step, according to Lopez, is to lock-out power, rendering the compressor inoperable. Then the oil — and oil filter, if so equipped — need to be changed in adherence with manufacturer’s recommendations (or call Scales for information). Scales recommends this be done every 90 days under average use conditions.
Next, drive belts need to be inspected for wear, and tightened as necessary. Tank drains, which remove built-up condensate from the receiver tank, must be inspected, then repaired or replaced if warranted, to prevent receiver corrosion due to moisture. In addition, if a compressor has unloader diaphrams, they too must be inspected and replaced as needed for optimal operation.
Inspection of inlet air filters for dirt and/or rusting is next, with areas of high accumulations of dirt and dust requiring more frequent monitoring. “This is important for more than just greater compressor efficiency and longevity,” notes Lopez. “Very often, air is taken from hot, dirty locations and pumped into the compressor inlet, so the filters need to be kept clean. If cleaner outside air is used for the compressor intake, make sure of proper pipe size to avoid inlet pressure drops.”
Mandatory safety relief valves must always be checked during routine maintenance for unrestricted operation. “Never bypass or disable a safety relief valve,” Lopez stresses; “a safety relief valve which blows off may indicate compressor or control problems, so they must be thoroughly inspected to ensure they always function properly.”
Last, but by no means least, intercoolers, compressors, and the motor must be cleaned, which involves wiping down the components and using compressed air to clean the intercoolers and other hard to reach spots. Of course, it’s important to fill out and update a maintenance chart on all work performed. Don’t have a maintenance chart? No problem…call us or click here for a downloadable pdf of one.
“Of course, the absolute safest and simplest way to ensure top-quality maintenance for your reciprocating air compressors is to let the pros do it.” says Scales’ Service Manager Todd Lung. “It’s what we do better than anyone. Scales gives you the confidence of knowing your valuable equipment is being properly maintained. We even make it easy by offering several preventative maintenance agreements, one of which should be just right for your company. Why not call us today to find out which one is best for you…then take a couple of minutes to see Chris’ video. He’s really very good.”