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How to Pick the Perfect Scroll Air Compressor. The experts at Power Equipment Direct walk you through understanding what scroll compressors are and how to pick the perfect oil-free air compressor for your application


Scroll Compressor Buyer's Guide

How to Pick the Perfect Scroll Air Compressor

Air Compressor
Product Expert
Scroll Compressor Buyer's Guide

Anywhere clean, oil-free air is required, a quiet scroll compressor is the way to go. They're heavy-duty, oil-free compressors that come in a wide variety of sizes, up to 30 HP, which produces as much as 86 CFM.

Scroll compressors utilize a very innovative design that compresses air quietly with fewer moving parts and less required maintenance.

They can usually be found in specialized factories, laboratory settings, commercial body shops, dental offices, electronics facilities, and water treatment facilities, since they're clean, quiet, and efficient.

How Does a Scroll Compressor Work?
Scroll air compressors use two spiral-shaped scroll pieces to compress air. One scroll is stationary, meaning it's fixed in place and doesn't move, and the other fits inside the stationary scroll and is moved in a tight circular motion without rotating.

The moving scroll presses against the inside of the stationary scroll in such a way that, as it moves in a circular motion, it pushes and traps air into small pockets between the two. The pockets of air continue being moved through the spiral toward the center. As the air moves further toward the center of the spirals, the air pockets become smaller, and the air in those pockets gets compressed.

How a Scroll Compressor Works

Once the compressed air pockets reach the center, they're released into a discharge pipe to be used, or they're released into an air treatment system. An air treatment system is not included with the scroll compressor, as it's typically custom-created with the necessary components to serve the user's desired purpose. The air treatment system utilizes piping to deliver the compressed air from the compressor, through a series of filters and dryers, into a receiver tank where the air can be held until it's used. However, some applications that make constant use of the compressed air to run assembly line machinery may not require a tank.

Key Benefits of Scroll Compressors

100% Oil-Free Air
A major key benefit of scroll compressors is that they're 100% oil-free. For tasks or work environments that require 100% oil-free compressed air, scroll compressors can offer that. The two spirals found in scroll compressors that compress the air don't touch, meaning there's no need to use any oil for lubrication. But this doesn't just mean oil-free air, it also means there's no oil changes.

Very Low Maintenance
That leads to the next major benefit of scroll compressors - they're very low maintenance. Because there's no oil to change, and there's no spark plugs to worry about, the only real maintenance these machines require is a filter change. This not only saves you time, but it also saves you money. You don't have to worry about changing out oil filters, and you won't experience the costly pressure drop across oil filters.

Incredibly Energy Efficient
And speaking of saving money, scroll air compressors are incredibly energy efficient. In addition to the innovative scroll technology and lack of oil filters previously mentioned, these machines are also available with a optional built-in dryer that significantly reduces downstream pressure drop. And if you're using your scroll air compressor for heavy-duty applications, there's an optional air-cooled IP55 class F motor designed specifically for the tough jobs. Furthermore, they're typically designed for easy serviceability, saving your more time and labor costs. So even if you weren't in need of an oil-free air compressor, the efficiency alone may be worth opting for a scroll compressor.

Extremely Quiet
Last, but not least, it's important to point out that these machines are extremely quiet during operation. The fact that there's no friction between the parts reduces noise significantly, as does the fact that there are no reciprocating pistons - keeping motion more smooth and balanced to reduce vibration.

Choosing the Right Scroll Compressor
When choosing a scroll compressor, consider whether you need single-phase or 3-phase. This will mostly depend upon the type of power supply you have. Single-phase is the standard type of power supply, and 3-phase power is generally only supplied upon request (and usually at a higher cost). If you do have 3-phase power, you can benefit from the high efficiency premium motor that's available on 3-phase models. The IE3/NEMA motor is robust and easy to service, and offers further savings related to efficiency.

Next, consider the varying specs. How much pressure do you need? Scroll compressors generally come in 116 PSI or 145 PSI, and both single-phase models and three-phase models come available in either one. Cubic feet per minute (CFM) is another spec you should consider when selecting a scroll compressor. CFM is the amount of high pressure air being released per minute. This is how much work your compressor can do per minute given a set PSI. So, a 116 PSI unit that puts out 55.1 CFM will be capable of completing tasks faster than a 116 PSI unit that puts out 8.9 CFM.

Options are nice, right? What about that optional built-in dryer for reducing pressure drop? Consider whether or not you'd like this beneficial built-in dryer before choosing the right model for you. And, if you'll be using your new scroll air compressor for heavy-duty operation, you can choose the optional air-cooled IP55 class F motor, which is totally enclosed and highly efficient.

NEXT: View & Shop All Scroll Compressors

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