Air Compressor Preventive Maintenance

Compressed Air Preventive Maintenance Programs

Advantages of preventive maintenance

Industrial compressed air systems, like all equipment, require periodic maintenance to continue to operate efficiently and to lower the risk of untimely service or costly air compressor repairs. Inadequate maintenance can have a significant impact on energy consumption. If your compressed air system is not properly maintained it may experience higher operating temperatures, poor moisture control, and excessive contamination.

With regard to efficiency and cost, it almost always makes sense to practice preventive maintenance on air compressor equipment more frequently than the intervals recommend by manufacturers, which are primarily designed to protect equipment.

One way to tell if a compressed air system is being well maintained and is properly operating is to periodically baseline the compressed air system by tracking its power, pressure, flow, and temperature. If power use at a given pressure and flow rate goes up, the compressed air system’s efficiency is degrading. On new air compressor systems, all appropriate measurements should be recorded in order to establish a baseline. The baseline will let you know if the compressor is operating at full capacity and if the capacity is decreasing over time.

Proper preventive maintenance is crucial to the efficiency and reliability of a compressed air system. Air compressor operators must be trained to determine the requirements of each piece of equipment in a compressed system to reap the benefits of a preventive maintenance program. They must also understand the required resources of the compressed air system and regularly schedule maintenance by referring to both trend analysis of recorded data as well as the manufacturer's manuals.

Types of compressed air system maintenance

  • Poor Maintenance: The guiding philosophy at some plants still seems to be, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” The shortsighted, poor maintenance practices that result from this line of thinking will inevitably result in needing to replace an costly air compressor. Furthermore, these plants may experience unexpected costly production interruptions. Your compressed air system is an investment in the success of your business and you should do everything in your power to keep it from breaking.
  • Preventive maintenance: A preventive maintenance program may be performed by plant personnel or by the experts at Arizona Pneumatic Systems in Phoenix, Arizona. Preventive maintenance programs include regularly scheduled monitoring of operating conditions, replacement of air compressor and lubricant filters, and lubricant sampling and replacement. Maintaining your air compressor with a preventive maintenance program can save you time and money down the road.
  • Predictive Maintenance: This type of maintenance involves monitoring air compressor conditions and trends including operating parameters (power requirement, pressure drops, operating temperatures, vibration levels, etc.). You don't need a crystal ball to prepare for future problems if you're actively monitoring your compressed air system. Well trained air compressor operators know when to check pump oil levels, drain the water in the tank, replace the belts, and much more.
  • Proactive Maintenance: Proactive maintenance involves controlling a situation — in this case the continued peak performance of your compressed air system — by taking steps to prevent any issues that may arise with a compressed air system.

Unfortunately, even the best preventive maintenance procedure program cannot entirely eliminate the possibility of an unexpected breakdown. You should always make provisions for standby air compressor equipment to allow maintenance so you can avoid interrupting production.