The Cost of Not Doing Maintenance

By: Werner Rauer

Recently a paint and body shop with two 7.5 hp screw compressors purchased another one with the same capacity. They’d added a blast cabinet and said the system could not keep up. Blast cabinets can certainly be air hogs, so depending on the nozzle size and amount of use, it’s not unreasonable to need more air if you add one to your shop. But…

During the visit to install the new unit, our service technician performed some routine maintenance that had been deferred for well over two years. He immediately noticed that the fluid/lubricant level was less than 25% of what it should be and looked terrible:

At first the tech was surprised that the unit had not overheated. The mystery was solved when he changed the inlet filter and separator cartridge:

They were so clogged that the compressor could not take in enough air to compress. Remember Charles’ Law from high school science class, which taught us that temperature increases with pressure. Compressors generate heat when the energy from the motor is transferred to the compression chamber. Squeezing the air excites air molecules, and as they bump into each other they give off heat.  What happens if the compressor is starved for air due to clogged filters? Well, not much compression and not much heat.

This sheds light on an odd statement the customer made to the sales rep some weeks after the installation. He happily reported that since then the shop runs very well. He has plenty of air and the older units don’t seem to come on much at all. So it is quite possible that the existing system was fully capable of supplying all the air he needed even with the blast cabinet. Had the existing units been periodically inspected and maintained, he may not have needed to spend the money on a new compressor, installation, and the additional PM that new unit will require going forward. 

Before you presume to blame the sales rep, keep in mind they were not fully aware of the state of the equipment, and the addition of a blast cabinet was a very plausible reason for needing more volume. Still, we can turn this hindsight into foresight. 

Lesson learned:  before you invest in additional compressors, check to see that the existing compressors are running well and making the air they should be. This applies to any size system.

Other posts on this subject:

Contact us to schedule service for your compressed air equipment.

Winter is Coming (Here?) [Infographic]

According to the Farmers’ Almanac, the 2019-2020 winter season could be colder and snowier winter than usual for much of the United States. Is your compressed air system ready for the colder temperatures?

Here’s an infographic you might find helpful as you start preparing for the upcoming drop in temperatures. We also have these air system winterization tips in a video version on our YouTube channel.

Visit our website for more compressed air tips or contact one of our air system specialists for help with your compressed air system.

Nightmare of an Installation, Part V

By: Kaeser Compressors, Inc.

Just in time for Halloween, here’s part V of our Nightmare of an Installation series.

The ambient air in a compressor room often contains contaminants: particulates such as dust, oil such as lubricant aerosols vented from equipment, and moisture. All of these contaminants are ingested into the compressor, concentrated during the compression process, passed on to the rest of the system, and without proper filtration, to the product and or process equipment. But dirt, dust, fibers in the plant can also build up on the outside of your equipment. Clogged filters, heat exchangers, fans and electrical cabinets reduce airflow and build up heat, which can be a mortal enemy to compressors and dryers. If your air system is living in a dusty dungeon, you need to increase your PM schedule to keep things clean or look at an alternative location for the equipment.

This dryer had the misfortune of being installed in such a location. Maybe a different compressor room location (and regular maintenance) would have kept away some of the creepy crawlies.

Need help designing your compressed air system? Contact us today.

Compressed Air for Body Shops

By: Kaeser Compressors, Inc.

A reliable supply of clean, dry compressed air at stable pressure is vital in collision repair. Understanding air pressure, flow and quality requirements will help you extend tool life and get the best possible results in the paint booth to eliminate costly re-work caused by contaminants in the compressed air supply.

Watch the webinar below for best practices for compressed air systems in body shops. If you’re attending SEMA 2019, stop by one of the Kaeser booths to discuss how you can decrease downtime and comebacks…and increase productivity and profit.

Topics include:

  • Key design factors for evaluating a compressed air system
  • Common types of contaminants and how to remove them
  • Air treatment components to ensure clean, dry air for paint and body work
  • Types of dryers and tips on selecting the right one
  • How piping material selection impacts air quality

Additional resources: