Air Compressors and How They Function

Curious about the inner workings of air compressors? Here is an informative video of what goes on behind the scenes of these handy machines.

An electric motor compresses air into the storage tank inside the air compressor. From there, this air can be released at different pressures when needed.

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This is a standard process, but there are different types of compressors that serve various functions. Typically, positive displacement compressors are used in auto body shop work and will be the focus of this video.

A reciprocating compressor is one of two types of positive displacement compressors. It functions by having the crankshaft turn, forcing the piston to mirror the action inside the housing. This allows atmospheric air to enter the housing. The discharge valve opens once the pressure gets high enough. A less efficient compression cycle, plus the risk of explosion, is prevalent when the temperature of the air becomes too high, so in some instances, a different type of compressor is needed.

A multi-step compressor adds a stage to cool the air down and eliminates the risk of overheating. Often used in conjunction with a tank, this compressor tends to use less energy. In addition to a multi-step compressor, there are other types of air compressors such as diaphragm compressors, and rotary compressors.