Finally a comparison of this Reciprocating air Compressor with respect to the other types of compressors in terms of Cost, Quality and Functionality is to be presented.
The reciprocating air compressors are the predominant type of compressors used for compressing both air and refrigerant. These reciprocating find critical applications in production facilities like refineries, gas transmission systems, petrochemical plants and many other similar industries. These compressors are used in situations where the flow rate is less and high compression ratios are desired. These reciprocating compressors are found to be more expensive in terms of design, maintenance and operational factors. These are based on the mechanism of positive displacement, where the air pressure is increased by confining the air to a reduced volume. The main displacement element is the piston inside the cylinder. The following figure shows the common type of reciprocating air compressor.
These reciprocating air compressors can be either single acting or double acting, according to the number of sides of the piston used for compression. If only one side of the piston is used for compression, then it is called as single-acting. If both sides of the piston are used, then it is called as double-acting. There are four configurations of reciprocating air compressors, namely vertical, horizontal, horizontal balance – opposed and tandem. According to the National Productivity Council (1993), for a capacity range of 50 to 150 cfm, the vertical reciprocating compressors are used and for a capacity range of 200 to 5000 cfm the horizontal balance opposed reciprocating compressors are used.
The reciprocating air compressor works on the basis of increasing the pressure by reducing the volume of the air/gas. The compressor uses spring loaded valves that operate when the differential pressure across the valve is proper. .