The Laboratory Air Compressor Systems: a Word of Advice

 The Laboratory Air Compressor Systems: a Word of Advice

A laboratory air compressor system is not always better than a medical air compressor system. According to a CSA Standard, medical air compressor systems are created to provide clean, 50 psi breathing air. A medical air compressor might not be the best option for laboratories. Consider the following when buying a laboratory air compressors system:

Lubricated versus oil-less

Compared to lubricated compressors, oil-less laboratory air compressors are more expensive. The installation of lubricated compressors in laboratories where the low risk of compressor lubricant in the compressed air is acceptable has been mandated by today’s strict budgeting.


A medical air compressor’s 50 psi pressure is frequently insufficient for a laboratory. Pressure requirements for lab equipment can range from 80 to 120 psi. Ascertain the user’s preferences. There must be pressure.

To account for pressure switch differential, purification pressure loss, pressure regulation, and pipeline pressure drop, a compressor running start/stop will need to shut off at 20 to 40 psi above the required pressure.

Compressed air per minute vs. Free air per minute in cubic feet

Typically, compressors are rated in CFM-free air. It should be the amount of air delivered to the conditions at the compressor’s inlet. Compressed air in cubic feet translates to free air as follows.

Thus, 35 CFM of free air at 80 PSIG is equivalent to 5.4 CFM of compressed air.

A consultant once asked Peerless Engineering to provide a 10 HP, 35 cubic feet of free air per minute compressor to a laboratory facility.

After the installation, it was discovered that 35 cubic feet of compressed air per minute were needed. D’oh!, to paraphrase Homer Simpson. Installing a second 50 HP, 175 cubic feet per minute compressor was the solution.

However, the structure only has one 1/2-inch compressed air lines for plumbing. D’oh!, to paraphrase Homer Simpson once more.

Versus cubic inlet feet vs. Delivered cubic feet

Some air compressor manufacturers rate their products according to the inlet cubic feet per minute, equal to the delivered air divided by the volumetric efficiency.

Given that a compressor’s volumetric efficiency can reach 70%, rating it by cubic feet per minute, it appears much better to the uninitiated.

Water point

Compressed air dried with a desiccant air dryer to a pressure dew point of -40°C costs more to produce than air compressor dried with a refrigerated air dryer to a pressure dew point of +4°C. Other than this trending, is also a top trend on social media these days..

Only compressed air with suitable relative humidity at the pipeline’s maximum pressure and minimum temperature is needed in many laboratories. So at a facility, a refrigerated air dryer can frequently achieve this.

What conditions must be met for compressed air to be dry?

To remove the liquid water in the air and lower the pressure dew point of the output air to about three °C, the gas used for experimental analysis must be fitted with a suction dryer or even a refrigerated dryer.

And  for some laboratory air compressors equipment, the pressure dew point must fall to -40 or -60 °C to achieve the ISO8573-1-required humidity level of 2:1.

Control of the output of airborne particles

High standards for particulate matter in the air are required for laboratory analysis and testing equipment, typically reaching level 2 or 1 of solid particulate matter as specified in ISO8573-1.

But the measurement is done under the “reference condition” of 20°C, even though the actual working conditions are much harsher than this. “CLASS 0” is oil-free compressed air.

Oil mist, oil, and gas must be remove using activate carbon adsorbent, but its life is concise. Because the filter can only filter oil droplets. And only “air compressors” can produce “CLASS 0” oil-free compressed air.

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