Air compressors are known for their ease of use. End-use tools are simpler, deliver quick and responsive power and are easier to maintain than traditional electric tools. With the exception of the technician in charge of keeping the compressed air system running, many people don’t give air compressors a second thought.
However, there are a number of ways to employ air compressor accessories in order to increase the ease of use of your compressed air system. Whether they help your system function more efficiently or help employees address unexpected issues more quickly, there are many air compressor accessories that anyone who employs compressed air should keep on hand to ensure their system is operating at peak efficiency and providing them with all the power and usefulness it can.
Because we’re so invested in making sure your compressed air system is working and providing you with the power and efficiency you need, we thought we’d offer you some tips and suggestions on air compressor accessories that make the job easier. Whether you are employing your compressed air system in a traditional plant, a hospital or in the food service industry, we know that with a few tweaks and a couple added parts, your system will work even better!
So here are some of our essential air compressor accessories you should make sure to have on hand in your machine shop.
A Note on Industry-Specific Accessories
Before we explore some specific options we consider to be useful accessories for a wide range of industries, it is important to note that every industry will have their own essential accessories that wouldn’t be appropriate for other industries.
When you are considering which accessories to add to your compressed air system, it is crucial that you think about what you need to make your industry-specific operations and end-use applications easier. In many ways, you know what you need better than anyone else.
However, just as you are the expert on the processes that make you the most productive, we understand that sometimes you know what you want to do but aren’t always sure which tool is best suited to help you do it. In this case, it is important to partner with a company that has the experience to advise you in such instances. So be confident, but don’t be afraid to reach out and explore your options. In the end, the best accessories are those that make your specific job easier!
Air Hoses and Piping
While hoses and piping are essential parts of any compressed air system, these are also some of the best opportunities for upgrade and replacement. In this sense, they may be the most essential accessory for making your job easier.
That’s because these parts often come in standard sizes. While standard piping is a good fit for most compressed air applications, tweaking these components can drastically improve efficiency and end-use power.
For example, if you have a recently installed system in which you are confident your piping has not begun to degrade, you may still find that you are losing pressure between your compressor and your end-use tools. This may be because your piping is not perfectly suited for your particular system and applications.
However, if you have an aging system, you may also find that new piping is all you need to make your compressed air system run like new. That’s because years of use, especially if you have been operating with subpar air quality, can cause rust and other buildup to impede the flow of compressed air through your piping. While some of this may be cleaned, replacing the worn piping may be your best option. If you have been spending years operating with degraded piping, you may not even realize just how much it has impeded the efficiency of your system.
Consider the costs of a leaking pipe. A single quarter-inch leak could end up costing a facility between $2,500 and $8,000 a year.
Additionally, your existing piping and air-hose installation may be impeding your ability to grow. Although the piping may have been sufficient for the number of end-use applications you had working at the time of its installation, your business may have changed. What was once satisfactory may now be restricting. By simply expanding your piping — assuming your compressor can handle the added capacity — you may find that your compressed air system is far more versatile. Such a retrofit is far more affordable than a complete system overhaul.
You also want to make sure you have spare hoses on hand, in case an essential hose connecting an end-use tool to the piping system breaks. While the new size hosing may not be ideal, having spares on hand ensure that you suffer minimal downtime and that you can continue to use your end-use tool while you wait for the properly sized replacement to arrive.
Finally, by being mindful of your piping installation, you can also improve energy efficiency. This is especially important as energy costs continue to rise. $3.2 billion is lost in the United States through compressed air inefficiency every year.
If you are looking for a simple way to make drastic improvements to your compressed air system, whether it be in terms of efficacy of end-use equipment or overall energy efficiency, your piping and air hoses are a great place to start. By catering your system to your specific needs, you can make a small change that can have a big impact on your bottom line.
While we are on the subject of replacement hoses, a hose reel is another useful tool to keep on hand, especially if you expect to use a standard-sized hose to replace alternatively sized hoses in your compressed air system.
Hose reels help keep ungainly hoses out of the way. This is especially crucial if your replacement hose is much longer than needed. While the replacement hose may only be a temporary fix, a hose reel will help your employees work more efficiently while also ensuring they are working safely, helping to keep your plant accident-free.
We especially recommend a hose reel with a locking mechanism that allows you to customize the length of your replacement hose. This will give your replacement hose an element of customizability and is a great way to make replacements on the fly without impeding your worker efficiency.
Compressed Air-Powered Hand Tools
While many industries don’t consider hand tools to be accessories but instead essential tools, even those plants that don’t regularly use hand tools — such as nail guns, drills and pumps — should consider investing in some for those moments when they are useful.
You can never predict every need for hand tools, but when a problem does arise, having the ability to power a hand tool to do essential repairs with your compressed air system is a very time and cost-effective approach.
Furthermore, compressed air-powered hand tools are often more reliable and durable, meaning your investment will be a lasting one.
Finally, by using hand tools powered by your compressed air system, you can avoid the need for extension cords or charging stations for batteries. This will streamline your operation and ensure you are able to make the necessary repairs and subsequently get back to work as quickly as possible.
So make sure you invest in a good set of standard hand tools that are compatible with your particular compressed air system and store them in your machine shop. While you might not use them every day, they are great to have on hand in case you need them to make emergency repairs.
There are so many applications for compressed air, and every industry has a particular application in mind when they install their system. However, there comes a time in most industries when inflation is required. While these opportunities may only come around every once in a while, having a copper nozzle kit on hand is a great way to make sure you can tackle inflation with your pre-existing compressed air system.
The nice thing about nozzle kits is that high-quality sets are durable and do not corrode. That means they will continue to be functional even if they are only used sparingly.
The standard nozzle kit contains inflation needles, blowguns, couplers, plugs and air chunks. Regardless of what needs to be inflated, these tools should be sufficient.
While it may not get a lot of use, a nozzle kit will pay dividends regardless. The amount of time and effort saved by simply having one of these stored in your machine shop make it a worthwhile investment.
While many processes would be much easier if every tool was instantly compatible with your compressor system, the truth is there are occasionally tools that don’t fit with the couplings that you have installed in your system.
That’s why you always want to have an exhaustive set of tool fittings and variously sized couplings on hand to make sure every tool is compatible.
You want to make sure you invest in good fittings too, so always go with anodized fittings. This ensures that when you make the conversion between the end-use tool and your system, that conversion will last. While a fitting adapter may seem like a temporary fix, many of those performing the installation forget there is a coupler installed and continue to use it for years to come. So make sure that fitting will last.
You also want to make sure you are paying attention to whether you need a male or female adapter. Thinking that you have the right converter in place only to find that both ends are male is an extremely frustrating experience.
Depending on the size of your operation, stock up on these converters. The larger your operation, the costlier unnecessary downtime will be. In this sense, having the couplers on hand that ensure that you can get to work immediately is a crucial time- and money-saving measure.
One of the leading causes of inefficient and underpowered compressed air systems is a dirty filter. You can assume that you will always need to change your air filters from time to time, so why not make sure to have them on hand?
You should know what kind of filters you need and make sure to change them as part of a regular and routine maintenance schedule.
However, it’s important not to count on your filter to solve larger problems, so don’t expect a single filter change to be a cure for every issue. If you find that a new filter doesn’t address the problems your system is currently experiencing, it’s time to bring in a technician who can help you identify the problem. That technician may suggest a new filter system that can assist with drying or is specifically designed to filter oil out of your system.
Air Pressure Regulator
If you have one accessory on hand, it should be an air pressure regulator. That’s because no tool is better for helping you understand your air pressure levels while also providing you with the insights you need to maximize your efficiency without impeding the efficacy of your system.
An air pressure regulator gives you an accurate reading of usable air pressure within your end-use tools. While you may have your central compressor set for a certain pressure, there are a number of variables that can drastically reduce your air pressure, and therefore both your efficacy and energy efficiency, within your end-use applications.
This is especially important if you are using compressed air to do sensitive work. For these types of jobs, even small variations in air pressure can damage your work and cost you a lot of money in lost labor and wasted materials.
However, air pressure regulators are also great tools for monitoring your air pressure usage and therefore your energy efficiency. You may have an unknown leak somewhere in your piping that is sapping an otherwise energy-efficient system. While you may be aware that your compressor is costing you an arm and a leg in energy costs, an air pressure regulator will make it much easier to pinpoint where the pressure is being lost and thus give you the information you need to address the issue in a cost-effective manner.
Portable Air Tanks
Unfortunately, every once in a while, your compressor may be down. It may be an unknown malfunction, or it may be for routine maintenance. Either way, having either a portable air tank or an individual portable compressor is a great way to make sure you can stay up and running even as your main compressor is down.
Portable air tanks work by storing compressed air generated by your main compressor that can then be applied to end-use tools when your compressor is no longer active. While they won’t be able to power your entire operation, they can be used to keep certain essential operations up and running while you take necessary measures to get your main compressor operating again.
A portable compressor actually generates the compressed air that you need. These are especially useful when main compressor failures are unexpected. They can be moved to the vicinity of the end-use application and can be employed to ensure that you continue to stay operational.
While both are useful, each have their advantages and disadvantages. Air tanks can be scaled for your operation. If you have a large operation, you can have large back-up air tanks that are better suited to keeping you productive. However, they are also limited in that they do not generate their own compressed air. In other words, once the air pressure goes down, it can’t be brought back up until your main compressor is operating once again.
Portable compressors however can continue to generate the necessary air pressure, which makes them more versatile if you’re unsure of how long your system is going to be down. Furthermore, because they are portable, they can be moved to exactly where you need them, making them flexible. However, they are also limited in their capacity. Because they need to remain portable, larger operations may find them insufficient in the event of an emergency, and investing in a large number of portable compressors may prove cost prohibitive.
Either way, it is always good to have a back-up plan, especially if the majority of your operations are contingent upon compressed air-powered tools. You should always be prepared for the worst, no matter how reliable your compressor is. Being caught unprepared can be doubly costly, as you will not only have to invest in repairs, but you will also have to account for down time in which lines aren’t running and profits are plummeting.
Counting on Quincy Compressor for the Accessories You Need
From the moment you install a Quincy Compressor, regardless of its size or its industrial application, you can feel confident you are working with the most powerful, durable and efficient compressed air systems on the market. But that doesn’t mean you can’t also invest in additional accessories in order to make your system even more effective and efficient.
To begin with, our piping and hoses are the best and most durable in the industry. By investing in our aluminum AIRnet piping, you can feel confident you are investing in a system that will last well into the future while continuing to perform at peak efficiency. Furthermore, our piping is designed to dramatically reduce installation time, meaning you get a higher return on investment since you will be installing long-lasting piping with minimal system down time.
Similarly, our various component parts, regardless of their purpose, are built with the same exacting standards as our award-winning compressors. If you want to ensure that individual components will last just as long as your compressor, look no further than a local sales representative at a Quincy Compressor dealer.
If you are looking to invest in a back-up portable compressor, why not invest in one that is built by the same industry leaders that have designed and manufactured the best industrial-grade compressed air systems in the world? No matter how big or small the compressor, we take the same care in creating efficient and powerful compressed air. So feel confident in your compressor redundancies by trusting in us.
Finally, if you are looking for additional advice, why not consult with a compressed air expert who is trained to help you run your compressor as efficiently as possible? Our compressed air auditing services are designed to ensure you are getting the most value out of your compressor while doing your part to save money and reducing energy consumption. Our award-winning and patented Efficiency Quotient process is specially designed to help you identify those places where you can reduce energy consumption while improving your own productivity.
So whether you are ready to do a full system overhaul or make the small changes to improve your worker productivity and energy efficiency by investing in additional accessories, all of us at Quincy Compressor are eager to partner with you and your business. Contact us today and find out how you can put compressed air to work for you and your industry!