CategoryAir Compressors | Car Lift Blog
Who wouldn’t want to have an automotive shop in the Bahamas? As long as there is air conditioning in the garage! We recently sold a laundry list of automotive shop equipment to a customer in Nassau, in New Providence in the beautiful islands of the Bahamas.
This new customer purchased many different pieces of automotive equipment, including transmission jacks, bearing presses, car battery jump starters, floor jacks and many other items. Most notably, two pieces that any auto shop worth it’s salt could not do without – a couple of 2 post lifts and an air compressor.
The two post lifts were an easy choice for the shop owner. They chose the BendPak XPR-10A automotive lift for it’s features, versatility, quality, and value. It is our most popular model. It offers a wide range of features, such as the ability to be set up at a wide, or a narrow configuration, and also has a rare ability to position the auto symmetrically, if it won’t balance out properly in an asymmetric setting. Add the quality of construction, such as taller lift carriages, superior arm restraints, along with double diameter equalizer cable pulley sheaves, and you’ve got a premium car lift at a very reasonable price. All this, and it’s even certified by the highly respected Automotive Lift Institute.
You’re going to need an air compressor in any professional garage. and who better to supply your automotive shop air compressor than BelAire? These guys are the best at it, and that’s why we recommended the model 218V. This is a 5 HP compressor with an 80 gallon tank. It’s made in America while so many others aren’t. Plus, there is a 2 year warranty on every component. Along with that, they have over 350 service centers across the country.
The customer is a new auto shop that specializes in servicing European cars. European automobiles are very popular there. The shop is called Automotechs Parts & Service on Wulff Rd. The owner has a long and prosperous history of servicing the people of the Caribbean islands of the Bahamas. Here’s what the owner, Chris Lowe had to say about his experience with ASE Deals –
“I’ve known of Automotive Service Equipment for several years now as other places across Nassau have recommended you. When we needed to outfit our new shop, it was an easy decision as you offer most of what I needed and your reputation is outstanding. Everything arrived in a timely manner and at a reasonable price.”
This is part 3 of this series. Previous posts dealt with car lifts, tire changers, and floor jacks. This post deals with air compressors. No automotive garage is complete without an Air Compressor of some kind. Most shop owners will spring for a 7.5 HP with an 80 gallon tank. But size should be dictated by the amount of air you require. The more technicians and bays you have, the more air you need, and the larger your compressor you will need to be. Don’t skimp when it comes to choosing a compressor for your shop. We’ve dealt with many people over the course of the past 15 years, and we’ve encountered many customers who were looking to save a buck, so they purchased a compressor smaller than they needed. After you get a compressor that is too small is not the time you want too find out that you chose a compressor that is large enough. The only true way to determine the size compressor to get is to take a good look at all of the tools that you will be powering and look at the air requirements of those tools. Add up the CFM requirements of all the tools that may be running at the same time and get a compressor that supplies more air than that.
As a guideline, A typical auto shop with a couple of bays will usually get a 7.5 HP reciprocating air compressor, while larger shops will dictate a larger model. Rotary screw air compressors are a better option for garage owners who desire a compressor with less noise and greater longevity, but you’ll need to have a larger budget because they are more expensive.
Air compressors are probably one of the most important purchases you can make for your shop.
We carry several different manufacturers when it comes to air compressors. And they’re all great, solid and reliable commercial quality compressors. But when it comes to Rotary Screw Air Compressors, nobody has a greater selection of top quality models to choose from than CAS.
CAS (Compressed Air Systems) is one of the premier Air Compressor manufacturers in the industry. They’ve been manufacturing quality compressors for decades and we have been carrying them for several years now with overwhelming positive reviews. And for good reason. They’re packed with features, the finest quality components, and workmanship second to none. Plus their prices are extremely competitively priced. You will not find a comparable model when it comes to quality, features and price. Especially right now. All CAS rotary screw air compressors are on sale until the end of March.
The benefits of rotary screw compressors over reciprocating air compressors is compelling. The run at lower rpms, with less heat and less moisture buildup, and you can expect greater longevity. They have a higher price than their reciprocating counterparts, but the operating costs more than make up for that.
They have a huge selection of models to choose from. They have models ranging from 5 HP all the way up to 50 HP. They are assembled in the USA and they have elite models available with all the bells and whistles, including vibration pads, air / oil cooler, auto tank drain, timed shut down, and much more. Call us today for more information and we’ll set you up with a model that’s right for you.
The Chicago Pneumatic / BelAire merger is in it’s final stages. The product line was disclosed at the SEMA show in November with great reception.
Chicago Pneumatic, (CP) indicates they will keep on the staff from Atlas / Copco and BelAire, including the service and sales personnel.
CP indicated a particular interest in the Quiet Power (QP) line of compressors from BelAir. They have already begun marketing them under their own label in some major trade publications in the form of press releases.
The Quiet Power line of Auto Shop Air Compressors is an innovative design that allows a traditional reciprocating air compressor to be ultra quiet. They have noise levels comparable to that of a rotary screw compressor. This is definitely ground breaking technology that has already become a huge hit with our customers. Nobody wants a loud obnoxious compressor creating so much noise that you can’t hear yourself think. They accomplish these lower noise levels by enclosing the motor in a shroud that is insulated to keep noise levels low. They eliminated the possibility of overheating by adding a fan to the shroud for adequate ventilation.
They throw all of the top features into these models as well, including auto tank drain, mag starter, low oil level switch, aftercooler and the comprehensive two year warranty.
We have been carrying BelAire compressors for over 10 years and can vouch for their quality. They have the best features and are manufactured to the finest quality standards and one of the best warranties in the industry. With the coveted Chicago Pneumatic name behind them, they are certain to break new ground with their popularity.
Part 3 of a three part series.
DOES IT HAVE A CERTIFIED TANK THAT MEETS ASME STANDARDS?
All of our BendPak TRI-MAX™ extreme duty compressors from BendPak feature 80-gallon tanks manufactured by Manchester Tank, the world’s premier manufacturer of pressure vessels, founded in 1946. No matter what Air Compressor you get, make sure it has an ASME compliant tank.
SHOULD I GET ONE STAGE OR TWO STAGE?
Single stage compressors have one or more cylinders, and each cylinder pumps the air directly into the tank. Two stage compressors have a minimum of 2 cylinders, with the air pumping from one cylinder
into the other and then into the air tank. Typically, a two cylinder two stage compressor has a larger first stage which then pumps air through a cooling tube and into the smaller second stage cylinder at about 90 PSI, and then into the tank at 175 PSI. The reason for purchasing a two stage air compressor is if you need higher pressure. Most commercial auto shops will require a two stage compressor.
WHAT ABOUT DIRECT DRIVE OR BELT DRIVE?
A belt driven compressor’s advantage is that the pump can spin a lot slower than the motor, which means it will be more efficient with a lot less wear and tear. Direct-drive air compressor’s pumps turn at a faster RPM because the pump is directly connected to the motor shaft
and turns the same speed as the motor. Most electrical motors spin at either 2850 or 3450 RPM. Our BendPak TRI-MAX™ air compressors use a belt drive allowing the pump to run at a lower RPM than the motor. An air compressor RPM rating is the rating for the pump not the motor. But pump RPM and CFM is also relative to pump size and output. You can have two 7.5 HP air compressors running at the same 900 RPM but one may put out a higher CFM than the other because of piston
size. A large piston moving at the same RPM as a smaller one will put out a higher CFM. Inferior, cheaper air compressors usually have a higher RPM rating because their pumps are frequently significantly smaller than a comparable industrial model. Remember, higher RPM builds up more heat than a slower RPM.
OIL OR OIL-LESS?
Typical industrial grade air compressors are splash lubricated. Which means they have “flaps” on the connecting rods to splash oil up in the crankcase. As long as there is an adequate amount of oil in the crankcase, splash lubricated pumps will last a long time. Many of those cheaper direct-drive compressors you see out there are oil-less. This means they don’t use oil to lubricate the piston inside the cylinder. Think about it. Imagine your car engine running without oil.
Oil-less compressors typically use cheap aluminum cylinders, heads and pistons to help dissipate the heat. Aluminum does help dissipate the heat, but it warps and wears out much faster than cast iron.
Oil lubricated compressors are also much quieter. Oil-less air compressors are much more noisy because they don’t have oil in the pump to “muffle” the sounds.
This is part two of a three part series –
WHAT ABOUT MOISTURE?
Compressed air gets hot and then cools. When it cools, it creates condensation. The harder your compressor works, the hotter it will get and the more moisture you will have. There are two moisture problems that can cause problems. The first is moisture that goes through the air lines that eventually lead to your Air Tools. Next, the second is air that accumulates in the bottom of the tank which can cause rust and eventually ruin your tank. The idea is to keep the air as cool as possible. Copper pipe works best as it won’t rust and it also dissipates heat well. Our BendPak TRI-MAX air compressors feature an extreme duty three cylinder pump that has been designed to operate with maximum cooling efficiency under all load conditions. The 100% cast-iron pump utilizes a “W-3” configuration that
provides 360° cooling efficiency and splash lubrication for total reliability. A cooling fan helps to provides maximum forced air-cooling for ultimate efficiency. A large pump that puts out little noise and a lot of power is due to the slower RPM speed and efficient two-stage design. Because they operate at slower speeds than other compressors and feature large-diameter finned copper tubing between stages, they have a lower operating temperature, which achieves maximum efficiency.
WHAT IS CUBIC FEET PER MINUTE (CFM)?
Any piece of equipment that runs from air power, (such as air tools) require a certain volume of air to operate them. The volume of air that a compressor produces is rated in CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute). You usually see several CFM ratings at different pressures on a compressor. CFM ratings can be exaggerated just like HP ratings, but you should get around 3½ – 4 CFM per real HP at 90 PSI.
DOES TANK SIZE MATTER?
An Air Compressor tank doesn’t produce air, it stores the air. It is more important to have a big enough pump and motor, because if you are
producing as much air as you want to use, you’ll never run out of air no matter how small the tank is. A smaller tank is more portable and gets up to pressure quicker, while a compressor with a large tank doesn’t start and stop as often and cools the air better. Having a larger tank doesn’t mean the compressor runs less, it starts and stops less frequently but the running time is the same as if it had a smaller tank.
HORSE POWER – TRUE OR EXAGERATED?
Many air compressor manufacturers “exaggerate” their horsepower ratings to sell more compressors. Industrial compressors like our BendPak TRI-MAX™ Series are rated accurately, which is why you’ll notice the 5 and 7.5 HP motors are noticeably physically larger (nearly 40% larger) than one of those overrated “Chain Store” one. A good way to tell if you are looking at real or overrated HP is to look at how much electrical power it takes to run the motor. A good rule of thumb for TRUE horsepower ratings are as shown below –
1-Phase 115V – 9½ -10 Amps per HP
1-Phase 230V – 4½ – 5 Amps per HP
3-Phase 230V – 2 – 2½ Amps per HP
3-Phase 460V – 1-1¼ Amps per HP
A true 5 HP motor will draw 22-25 amps on a 220 volt circuit, (single phase power), while most overrated “Chain Store” compressors run on a normal 15 amp 110 volt circuit. A normal 15 amp 110 volt circuit is actually only capable of running about 2-3 real HP.
WHAT MOTORS ARE BEST?
BendPak TRI-MAX™ air compressors feature the best electric motor money can buy. For the past 80 years, Baldor Electric has led the industry in developing motors that deliver the best performance and reliability all while using less electricity. Premium grade copper wire, thinner laminations, superior bearings, premium grade steel, larger end rings, low-loss fans allow these energy efficient motors run cooler and longer. In October of 2006, Baldor again received 1st place ranking for motors in several trade publication surveys. Baldor continually ranks better than any other motor manufacturer in their category.
DOES IT HAVE 100% CAST IRON CONSTRUCTION?
A true industrial grade Air Compressor like our BendPak TRI-MAX™ Series models will have 100% cast iron pump, block and heads. An air compressor pump is just like a car engine and almost all car engines are made from cast iron. Cast iron is the most durable material that can be used on a high temperature, high use application. Race cars engines may use aluminum for weight reduction but these engines last for one or two races then have to be rebuilt.
This is a three part series. Part 2 will post tomorrow.
Customers are always asking us, “Do you have an air compressor that’s quiet”? Now normally, we would have to steer them toward an expensive Rotary Screw Air Compressor. But not anymore, thanks to the new BelAire Air Compressors QP Series Quiet Reciprocating Compressors.
BelAire hit the ball out of the park with this one. an affordable reciprocating piston air compressor that is hush quiet. Only 66db. Now you can hear yourself think.
These compressors are perfect for smaller shops that don’t have a spare room to store their compressor and desire a reasonable noise level. In fact, they have half the noise of a traditional compressor.
It accomplishes the lower noise level by mounting an ABS housing with heat resistance foam that really reduces the noise level. Don’t worry, there’s a fan in the housing to keep air flow to the motor to keep things cool. There’s low oil shut off, and overheat protection.
And of course you get BelAire’s comprehensive 2 year warranty that includes on-site service. The have over 300 service centers nationwide, so you’re covered no matter where you are.
There are 5 HP and 7.5 HP models available.
Should you get a reciprocating air compressor or a rotary screw air compressor? This is a common question among shop owners, mechanics and the home DIY crowd. The answer depends on your needs and your budget.
The more popular style of compressor is a 2 stage Reciprocating Air Compressor. They are reliable, time-tested and put out a good amount of air. They are also quite affordable. They come in many sizes and have been a staple of any auto shop garage for decades.
The main point of getting a Rotary Screw Air Compressor is that it is super quite. They typically make about half the noise of a traditional reciprocating air compressor. That can be important in any shop, but especially in a smaller shop. The premise of a rotary screw compressor is air enters a sealed chamber where it is trapped between two contra-rotating asymmetrical screws. As these rotors inter-mesh, they reduce the volume of trapped air and deliver it compressed to the proper pressure level. Combined with continuous contact cooling, the rotary screw air compressor is able to operate with temperatures approximately half of those generated by a typical reciprocating piston compressor. The lower temperature enables the compressor to operate in a fully loaded continuous duty cycle, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. This ability to run for extended periods of time alone makes the rotary compressor ideal for demanding industrial applications. They will also put out more air than a comparably sized reciprocating air compressor. It will also product less heat, which means less moisture build up in the tank, along with greater lift expectancy.
The main reason people stay away from rotary screw compressors is the price. Rotary screw compressors typically cost significantly more than their reciprocating brethren. Reciprocating compressors are significantly less money, which is the main reason you will find many more reciprocating models out there in shops across the country.
There are many different types of air compressors on the market these days, as well as many different manufacturers.
Given the wide array of choices, your first task is to determine what type of compressor you need for your specific application. Maybe you need a gas powered compressor or electric Air Compressor ?
When outfitting a typical auto shop, where the compressor is going to have access to electricity, then the decision is simple. You will need an electric air compressor. Obviously, if you are going to be using this away from a power source, out in the field, or on a service vehicle, then you will need a gas powered air compressor.
The next task is to determine what size compressor you need. To determine this, you first need to find out what the air requirement will be for the tools you will be powering with this compressor. First, check out the CFM (cubic feet per minute) requirements of each and every tool you will be powering with your compressor. You can usually locate this information in the owner’s manual for the tool. Sometimes it can state this information right on the tool itself. It should tell you how many CFM’s the tool requires and at what PSI the CFM is required to be at. You should then get an air compressor that puts out a little more air than your tool’s air requirements are. Be aware that if you are going to be operating more than one tool at a time, as you typically would in a multi-bay auto shop, you will need to add up the air requirements together of all those tools that you might potentially be operating at the same time. Most typical three bay auto shops for instance, will usually get a 5 HP to 7.5 HP air compressor. This is our most popular size range that meets the typical auto shop’s needs. Most compressors in this size range will supply between 15 CFM at 100 psi to 28 CFM at 100 PSI with a maximum psi of 175. Although there are many smaller and larger models ranging from 2 HP even all the way up to industrial air compressors up to 40 HP and more.
You can view more in-depth details about air compressors on our web site.
Check out the many different choices on our web site and get back to us with any questions.