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Recognize, name and state the function of each component in a

compressed air system.
Use graphical symbols to represent a compressed system.
Define terminology relating to compressed air supply systems i.e.
a). compressor rating b). free air delivery c). absolute pressure d).
atmospheric pressure e). gauge pressure f). relief pressure
Describe mobile and stationary compressor cooling requirements.
State the need for speed and pressure control, and describe the
construction and operation of different regulating systems.
Describe the construction and operation of;
a). single and multistage rotary compressors
b). single and multistage reciprocating compressors

Objectives continues

Describe the construction and operation of;

a). single and multistage rotary compressors
b). single and multistage reciprocating compressors
Describe rotary and reciprocating compressor lubrication systems.
State the starting, running and stopping procedures for mobile
List working practices and servicing requirements of mobile
Describe reasons for using and the types and construction of filters
and water separators in a mobile compressor air system.



The term pneuma comes from the greeks meaning breath or wind.
Pneumatics is the study of air movement

Today pneumatics is mainly understood to mean the application of air as

a working medium in industry, especially the driving and controlling of


Air Filter

To remove dust particles and dirt from the air being sucked

Air silencer

Dampens out nose

First stage compressor

A machine, which usually sucks in air and compresses

same so that it ultimately occupies a smaller volume. The
resulting air will not only occupy a smaller volume, it will
have a higher pressure and higher temperature


Works like a heat exchanger and lower the density of the

compressed air between stages

Second stage compressor

A second phase of compression, which further increases airflow

rate & temperature

Drive motor

Provides drive to the two

stage compressor system.

Relief Valve

Maintains system pressure, works like an unloader


Pressure gauges

An instrument that reads pressure contained in

the system


Works like a heat exchanger and lower the

density of the compressed air after stages

Automatic Drain Traps

Drains condensate in air tanks and at various
points in the system

Moisture separator

Works together with the auto

drain valve by containing
moisture and water out of the

Air receiver

For storage

Stop valve

For air receiver protection

Safety valve

Back up for the stop valve

For graphical symbols, use
notes on air brakes


Free air delivery

This is the actual quantity of air delivered,

expressed in l/s (m3/min) at the conditions of
temperature and pressure existing at the inlet to the
compressor. This figure is lower than the piston
displacement due to the fact that no compressor
can be 100% efficient

Compressor rating/capacity

Piston displacement is the volume swept by the first

stage piston or pistons i.e. bore x r.p.m

Relief pressure

Maximum pressure reached before exhausting air to

the atmosphere when the required pressure is

Atmospheric Pressure

This is a pressure which varies the world over and fluctuates

with weather conditions. Its is also dependent upon altitude

Absolute Pressure

This is a pressure measured from a base of absolute zero. We

breathe air at a pressure of approximately 14.7 pounds per
square inch absolute (psi). We dont notice this pressure
because it is always around us and its called atmospheric

However, if we look at an unused pressure gauge it reads 0 psi.

The absolute pressure of a system therefore equals the sum of
Atmospheric Pressure and Gauge pressure


Air is available in unlimited quantities


Compressed air is easily conveyed in pipelines

even over larger distances

Compressed air can be stored

Compressed air need not be returned. It can be

vented to atmosphere after it has performed

Compressed air is explosion proof. Thus, no

expensive protective equipment against
explosion is necessary

Compressed air is insensitive to temperature fluctuations.

This ensures reliable operation even in extreme
temperature conditions.

Compressed air is clean. This is especially important in

the food, wood, textile and leather industries.

Operating elements for compressed air operation are of

simple and inexpensive construction

Compressed air is fast. Thus high operational speeds can

be attained

Speeds and forces of the pneumatics elements can be

infinitely adjusted.


Compressed air is a relatively expensive means of

conveying energy. The higher energy costs are ,
however, largely compensated by the cheaper
elements, simple and more compact equipment

Compressed air requires good conditioning. No dirt or

moisture residues may be contained in it (wear on
tools and equipment).

It is not possible to achieve uniform and constant

piston speeds (Air is compressible)

Compressed air is economical only up to a certain force. Owing to

the commonly used working pressure of 700 kPa, the limit is at
about 20 000 to 30 000 Newton, depending on the travel and the
speed (if the force which is required exceeds this level, hydraulics is
The exhaust is loud. As a result of the intensive development work
on materials for silencing purposes, this problem has however now
largely been solved.
The oil mist mixed with the air for lubricating the equipment escapes
with the exhaust to atmosphere.

Types of Compressors


Has a piston
Inlet and outlet valves
Cylinder head
Lubricated by the engine
Lubrication System


Oil lubricating pump
Drive coupling

Note: oil mist is ejected into the air stream for components

Screw Compressor

Screw compressor

Root blower

Compressor cooling requirements

Increased cooling surfaces area

A continuous supply of cooling water
Metals with excellent thermal conductivity
Good ventilation

Cooling fins on smaller
compressors allow the
heat to be removed by
radiation. Larger
compressors are
equipped with an
additional fan to
remove heat.

Water circulation
cooling or fresh
water cooling.

Why Pressure control or Pressure regulation?

Pressure control for economical reasons. To avoid the

compressor from over running

Usually the discharge is the control variable

Types of control depends on prime mover/ engine &

distribution network

Automatic (speed variation, inlet throttling, unloading & on-off


Pressure Regulation

Air filters & Water


Purpose of air filters

The filter is intended to

extract particles of dirt
from the air and allow
condensate to collect & be
drained off.

The air filter used may

either be the dry or wet

Purpose of water

To trap any water that may

condense in the system

Compressor lubrication


The lubricator is intended to enrich the

compressed air with air and oil mist in order
to ensure lubrication of the moving parts in
pneumatic devices

Starting, running & stopping procedure

Refer to notes

Startup Procedure for Motor-Driven

Proceed as follows:
Open all shutoff valves between compressor
and receiver.
Make sure compressor is unloaded. Consult
the manufacturer's instructions for procedure.
Turn on cooling water, if provided. Thoroughly
vent cylinder jackets and coolers if vents are
Turn compressor over by hand to see that all
parts are free.
Start compressor motor.
When up to speed, apply load if machine is
running smoothly.

Startup Procedure for Steam-Driven Reciprocating

Proceed as follows:
Open all shutoff valves between compressor and receiver.
Turn on cooling water services ensuring cylinder jackets and
coolers are thoroughly vented.
Make sure compressor is unloaded by opening the separator
drain valve or the compressor cylinder indicator cocks.
Open valve chest, exhaust, and steam cylinder drain valves.
Open the drain valve on the steam admission line above the
throttle valve. When all condensation has drained from the
line and the pipe is hot, close the drain valve until it is open
approximately one-fourth of a turn.
Crack opens the throttle valve and allows the steam cylinder
to warm up.

Open steam exhaust valve.

Slowly open the throttle valve and allow the
governor to take over control.
Close the drain valves when steam discharge is free
of condensate.
When the compressor is up to speed, slowly build
up the load.

Startup Procedure for New or Overhauled


When starting a new compressor, or one that has been

overhauled, allow the compressor to run unloaded for 1
or 2 hours to give the running surfaces a polished finish.
Periodically check for overheating.
Build up load gradually over a period of several hours.
After a few days of operation, shut down compressor and
recheck all cylinder head, valve cover, cylinder flange,
shaft cover, and foundation bolts for tightness.2-4