Compressed air is all around us, from the air in a balloon to pumping up tires on your bicycle. In this article we will explain what
compressed air is and how it is created. Whether you know it or not, compressed air is involved in every aspect of our lives, from the
balloons at your birthday party to the air in the tires of our cars and bicycles. It was probably even used when making the phone,
tablet or computer you’re viewing this on.
The main ingredient of compressed air is, as you might have already guessed, air. Air is a gas mixture, which means it consists of many
gases. Primarily these are nitrogen (78%) and oxygen (21%). It consists of different air molecules that each have a certain
amount of kinetic energy.
The temperature of the air is directly proportional to the mean kinetic energy of these molecules. This means that the air temperature will
be high if the mean kinetic energy is large (and the air molecules move faster). The temperature will be low when the kinetic
energy is small.
Compressing the air makes the molecules move more rapidly, which increases the temperature. This phenomenon is called “heat of compression”.
Compressing air is literally to force it into a smaller space and as a result bringing the molecules closer to each other. The
energy that gets released when doing this is equal to the energy required to force the air into the smaller space. In other
words it stores the energy for future use.
Let’s take a balloon for example. By inflating a balloon, air gets forced into a smaller volume. The energy contained in the compressed air
within the balloon is equal to the energy needed to inflate it. When we open the balloon and the air gets released, it
dissipates this energy and causes it to fly away. This is also the main principle of a positive displacement compressor.
Another example: If we take a look at our earth’s surface and its atmosphere, we can interpret it as a sea of air. The higher you
are in this ocean, the lower the pressure would be. The lower you are (closer to sea level), the higher the pressure, because there will be
more air pressing down on you. In other words, the air is more compressed at and below sea level than it is at the top of New Zealand's
tallest mountain, Mt Cook!
Compressed air is an excellent medium for storing and transmitting energy. It’s flexible, versatile and relatively safe compared to other
methods for storing energy, like batteries and steam. Batteries are bulky and have a limited charge life. Steam, on the other
hand, is not cost effective nor user friendly (it gets extremely hot). When comparing compressed air with electricity however,
electricity is more cost efficient. If this is true, why use compressed air? Watch this video, and read on to find out why
you should use compressed air:
Why do we use compressed air?
One of the most important reasons for using air compression instead of electricity is safety. In applications where equipment is overloaded, electrical
equipment poses a safety hazard. Electrical shocks or fire may occur damaging property or injuring personnel. Compressed air and pneumatic
tools can be used under many conditions, such as on wet floors or in high humidity areas.
Secondly, compressed air is more flexible. It is easier to use in remote areas like mines and construction sites. Air tools run cooler and have
the advantage of variable speed and torque. Consider rock drills or similar impact type equipment. It would be nearly impossible to develop
an equivalent force with electricity, especially in remote areas.
Tools powered by compressed air are also more lightweight. They can be manufactured with materials that make them lightweight and more ergonomic;
thus balancing cost of air with cost of labor due to reduced worker fatigue when using these lighter tools.
Finally there’s the cost. The cost equivalent of compressed air can be as high as 7 to 8 times that of electricity. However, the equipment designed
to use compressed air is lower in cost. Fewer parts are used due to the simplicity of design. Also, pneumatic tools are usually rugged and
last longer in production environments.
Did you know compressed air is viewed as the fourth utility. Of course, we all probably use the first three in our daily lives: water, electricity
and gas. However, due to its omnipresent use, compressed air is viewed as the fourth utility for small businesses and big enterprises alike.
Who we are and how Ash Air can help your business!
Ash Air has been around in New Zealand since 1979, and we’ve grown into a nationwide company with international support and a
reputation for quality and reliability.We look after all things compressed air for your business!
Reciprocating, Screw, air compressors
An extensive line of air treatment components
Ash Air's range of Chicago Pneumatic, Alup, Pneumatech, and Quincy compressors are used extensively around the world in industries
ranging from oil and gas to food, automotive and farming, and we bring you these world class compressors here in the land of the long white
cloud.Our technicians are compressed air equipment experts and are dedicated to addressing customer needs. Supported by a 13 locations
nationwide, Ash Air offers one of the widest selections of compressed air equipment and parts available today in New Zealand.
Reliability and Efficiency
With Ash Air compressors, you can count on reliability and high performance for even the most demanding applications. We focus our
efforts on the following:
Your company purchased an air dryer for your compressor, now where should you install it? One of the most common things we see in the
industry are air dryers being stored on top of the compressors. Seems like a wasted space not being used on top of the compressor, right?
Compressed air plays a fundamental role in industrial activities. Depending on the type of application, the energy cost of producing
compressed air can be very high. Below are some tips to save on you compressor bill.