How to select a reciprocating compressor?

reciprocating compressor

A Reciprocating compressor which is also known as a piston compressor has a cylinder and piston mechanism and is mainly used to move air or gasses at high pressure to be stored so that they can be used for different other purposes later. One of the best examples that describes the working of reciprocating compressors are the automobile engines as they work exactly in the same manner as these reciprocating compressors work. In both reciprocating compressors and automobile engines, the air is let through in one chamber where it mixes with the fuel and the fumes come out from another chamber with pressure.

Action Mechanism

The mechanism of action of the reciprocating compressors are simple yet powerful and efficient. The process gas goes into the cylinder where it is compressed, contained and then finally released by the valves. As the pressure difference is created, these valves start operating automatically due to the pressure difference and depending upon the design of the compressor, the cylinders can have single or multiple suction and discharge valves. 

As the heavy pistons move, the dynamic forces are created and in order to balance that, the crankshaft is fitted with the counterweights. Small particles, moisture and process fluids that are generated during the liquid phase can cause severe damages to the compressor and its vital components which is why, as recommended by the compressor manufacturers in India, the suction gases are generally passed through suction strainers and separators to remove the above particles and other things which can damage the compressor. 

Reciprocating compressors are sometimes driven by the electric motor, they are sometimes driven by the alternate power sources such as natural gas and diesel engines 

Types of Reciprocating Compressors

  1. Single Stage Reciprocating Air Compressor
Single Stage Reciprocating Air Compressor

These compressors are the most commonly found compressors in the market as they are extremely powerful. They are louder and are large in size which is why they must be installed to places close to the point of use so that they can be maintained easily and a large amount of piping can be avoided.

  1. Two Stage Reciprocating  Air Compressor
Two Stage Reciprocating  Air Compressor

A two stage reciprocating compressor uses both sides of the piston in order to compress air which results in more efficient compression as compared to the single stage compressors. The best thing about these compressors is that they require less maintenance as compared to other compressors which is why they are used in industrial settings. 

  1. High Pressure Reciprocating Air Compressor
High Pressure Reciprocating Air Compressor

These types of air compressors take ambient air from the atmosphere and compress it to as high as 6000 PSI. The air is cooled after every stage as it moves through different stages and levels of compression and that air is used in a variety of applications.

Regardless of the type, the Reciprocating air compressors are one of the widely used compressors in the market as they provide long-term and effective air compression without much maintenance and costing.


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