Reciprocating air compressors, also known as piston air compressors, function by using a series of one-way valves to introduce air into a chamber. Constant motion provided by a series of pistons then compresses the air, a process that is referred to as positive displacement. A typical reciprocating air compressor is similar to a small internal combustion engine. In addition to the pistons and connecting rods, it also includes a crankshaft, cylinder and valve head. The crankshaft is driven by either an electrical motor or gas engine.
Piston air compressors are available in single-stage or two-stage versions. With a single-stage model, the air is drawn into the unit and is compressed with a single piston stroke, then sent to a storage tank. With a two-stage compressor, after initial compression, the air is sent to a smaller high-pressure piston, where it is then compressed a second time.
Belt Drive vs. Direct Drive Piston Air Compressors
A piston compressor may contain an electric motor that is either direct- or belt-driven. With direct drive, the motor is directly connected to the crankshaft of the compressor, which causes the compressor pump to “spin” at the same speed as the motor.
The major advantages of direct-drive compressors include the ability to operate the unit at lower temperatures and high-energy efficiency, but do not require a significant power supply.
However, direct-drive compressors are usually more expensive and difficult to maintain. They also tend to be noisy, making them unsuitable for quieter work environments.
Belt-drive compressors feature a V-shaped air compressor belt that connects from a small pulley wheel located on the motor to a larger pulley wheel on the air compressor pump. This causes the pump to spin more slowly than the compressor motor. Belt-drive compressors are often the preferred choice because they offer greater flexibility to adjust the air flow and pressure as needed. They’re also less expensive to purchase and are easier to install and maintain.
A drawback of belt-drive pumps is they sometimes provide lower transmission efficiency, particularly when operated in severe temperatures or harsh conditions.
Troubleshooting Air Compressor Belts
Improperly functioning air compressor belts can lead to or be a sign of many common compressor performance issues. For instance, a compressor that vibrates is often an indication the belts are loose and need tightening. The failure to maintain proper belt tension can also lead to excessive belt wear and, ultimately, premature replacement. And if a belt breaks or simply wears out, the motor and, as a result, the compressor itself will stop running.
Find Replacement Air Compressor Belts at Your Authorized Quincy Compressor Dealer
If you own a piston compressor and need to replace the air compressor belts, your local Quincy Compressor dealer has the right product at the right price. You’ll also find related products such as compressor belt guards, pulleys and more. To find the Quincy dealer in your area please click here.