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How are Air Compressors Used in Machine Shops?

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Why do Machine Shops Need Air Compressors?

Compressed air is critical for any machine shop as they rely heavily on the compressed air system to assist in a variety of operation processes. Commonly the parts produced are used in the machine industry, car industry or even the aircraft industry. A traditional workday in a machine shop requires the use of air compressors to generate an intermittent or continuous source of pressurised air.

What Machines Commonly Require Compressed Air in the Shop?

Metal Lathes: Originally designed for metal, but now available for all types of materials used in machine shops. Powered by compressed air, this machine allows the material to be rotated and cut with precision.

Milling Machines: Usually used to machine flat surfaces, but can also produce irregular surfaces. They can also be used to drill, bore, cut gears, and produce slots, all of which are powered by air.

Grinding Machines: Grinding of metal (and other materials) to eliminate imperfections after cutting is essential.

Paint Booth: Depending how big your shop is, a paint booth is required to paint the parts being manufactured. The spray gun is operated by compressed air. 

Air Guns: During operation, material is usually removed from the work piece to accomplish the intended shape. This results in chips, dust, oil, dirt and other contaminants becoming entrapped on the cutting tools and cutting surface. These unwanted materials can block the manufacturing process by reducing machining accuracy and can eventually cause damage to the tooling. Frequently, using a blast of dry compressed air will keep areas of concern free from contaminants.

CNC Machines: This machine processes a piece of material to meet specifications by following a coded programmed instruction and without a manual operator, all ran by compressed air.

Water Recovery Filtration: Recycling water is a huge cost saver for any shop. The filtration process requires air to operate valves and re-circulation process.

Pain Points for Machine Shops (and how we can help!)

In the "Small Machine Shop" - small related to the engine and wagon shops - the components for a number of other products were made. The picture shows the interior of the shop in 1895. The man in the center is G.A.Ryd.

Budget: The key to avoiding a regrettable purchase is to know what the different types can offer you. Starting with the end goal in mind is how you will find the best air compressor for the money.

Condensation: During CNC machining, it is crucial that the compressed air used to clean exposed surfaces is sufficiently dry. Air that contains undesirable amounts of moisture can condense on colder surfaces, ultimately resulting in corrosion in the metal work piece and/or the tooling. 

CFM Requirements: It's important to know if the compressor you purchase will drive the tool or equipment you'll need for your project. 

NOISE: Metal hitting or sliding against metal can be loud! Typically, the more moving parts an air compressor has, the louder it will be. This is true in the motor as well.

Electrical Complicity: Understanding your power supply at your business will guide you on the air compressor choices. What is the voltage available?

Total Turn-Key Solution

At Chicago Pneumatic, we take the guess work out of setting up shop. From the air compressor and dryer to the piping, we have you covered. Our team will lead everything from installation, to start-up and calibration. We will work side-by-side to ensure they have the training and resources they need to move forward with your new solution.

Compressor Sizing: An inefficient air compressor results in higher energy costs, improper tool operation and even shortens the machines life. Allow our pros to size you correctly based on your tools and the shop demand.

Equipment Installation: Trained professionals to install new equipment with flexible installation scheduling to help reduce productivity loss and downtime.

Complete Air System: Your compressed air pipe can greatly affect the performance of your compressor. A pipe system should last decades if installed correctly. Leave it to us to help.

Maintenance Scheduling: Regular maintenance can help keep your operation running smoothly, as well as extend the working life of your equipment. Having scheduled maintenance of your compressor equipment is crucial. CP technicians will perform regular maintenance procedures, as well as multi-point equipment inspections to evaluate system efficiency.


Why Chicago Pneumatic?

  • Award Winning Customer Service - From technical support to customer support, Chicago Pneumatic prides ourselves on putting the customer first.
  • High Quality, Lower Cost - Quiet, reliable, easy to maintain, and won't break the bank! CP Compressors are the perfect balance of value and features.
  • Trust in Experience - With 120 years in the compressed air business, experience speaks for itself. Don't trust your business with just anyone. 

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