Renting an air compressor to power a plant, facility, or temporary operation requires the careful evaluation of a multitude of factors. In this article, you will learn how to determine your air compression requirements, how to translate those requirements into machinery, assess the capital expenditure versus rental decision, and ensure high quality and long-lasting compressed air delivery.
Determining Air Compression Requirements
The easiest way to roughly estimate present and future air requirements of a plant or site involves the compilation of the air requirements for each connected equipment as well as the utilization of airpower equipment. The utilization factor is the ratio of the time that a piece of equipment is in use to the total time that it could be in use.
Furthermore, some large air-powered equipment may see intermittent use, but in continuous service. An air-powered impact that sees continuous duty service to tighten 50 lugs over a 10 minute period is such a device. Asset owners should carefully estimate the collective usage requirements. Known air losses from fittings, long piping runs, and quick connects should be estimated or determined empirically from a plant air audit.
Often, a thorough operation analysis provides a level of detail and certainty to compressed air requirements. The analysis should cover at least a week of operations and care taken to properly represent typical operation needs.
With a reasonable estimation of the compressor flow and pressure needs, translation of those needs into physical machinery can occur.
Centralization vs. Decentralization
Location, size, and provision of compressors is a key factor to ensuring an appropriate amount of available air. Some asset owners elect to have a central source of compression while in other cases decentralized and smaller compressors in key facility areas make better operational sense.
Physically, this translates to either a centrally installed large compressor with pneumatic lines running to stations or smaller compressors at their point of usage. Environmental conditions play in sizing and layout as some compressors may overheat in the summer and be unable to start in the winter. Furthermore, cooling water temperature, inlet air temperature, humidity, and site elevation impact the performance of dynamic displacement compressors.
With required pressure and flow specified and potential physical arrangements proposed, a capital expenditure versus air compressor rental decision can be made.
Capital Expenditure vs. Rental Decision
The default choice for many companies is to simply purchase a machine(s) that provides the required air. However, capital avoidance, flexibility, and contingency are parameters worth considering in the purchase/rental decision.
Industrial compressors retail at a high price and require the outlay of significant cash for procurement and installation. Renting a compressor frees up the capital budget and allows companies to pay for air as needed. The procurement of a complete plant compressor set-up and associated infrastructure must be considered from a cost and lead time perspective. Accommodating line routing and provisions for permanent machine installation may disrupt ongoing operations as well.
By choosing an air compressor rental arrangement, companies can easily adjust for fluctuating requirements brought on by changing seasonal demand or the additional equipment. A single plant air no longer bears the burden of dictating all future compressed air needs. Flexibility is especially important in rapidly expanding and temporary installations.
No matter how well built, compressors can and will go down. Mission-critical compressors can cost a facility thousands of dollars per hour of lost productivity when operation ceases. Rental agreements decrease risk to operations by providing guaranteed up-time to ensure maximum productivity.
Ensuring High Quality Air
Whether buying or renting a compressor, proper air compressor maintenance requires a careful following of the manufacturer’s guidelines. Most manufacturers designate preventive maintenance intervals on machine running hours. A more comprehensive plan known as predictive maintenance uses real-time running data to identify nascent problems before production issues occur.
This article has been brought to you courtesy of Critical Rental Solutions, a high-quality provider of compressed air solutions. For more information on selecting the proper compressor for your needs, contact [email protected]