How does an air compressor work?

When air is compressed it can be more useful in a variety of applications such as for use in manufacturing, respiratory protection or in power tools. In basic terms, an air compressor absorbs and circulates air, filters it and then returns it via an outlet at the desired pressure.

Rotary screw air compressors are the most commonly used type of air compressor. They feature two meshed rotors in the “air end” which rotate in opposite directions in order to trap the air. As the air is drawn in, pressure is increased as the space between the rotors decreases which results in the air being compressed.

In order for the compressed air to be released for the application, it needs to go through a number of other processes. As the air end compresses the air into an air/oil mixture, it needs to be separated through the sump using centrifugal force. The air then follows a different path, heading through a cooler and out to the application. The oil goes back into the air end, or through the oil cooler, depending on its temperature.Available in compact sizes, rotary screw air compressors can work at high speeds, with large flow rates.