Do you know what air compressor parts you should carry to quickly get yourself out of a bind? If a critical component of your system fails are you prepared with a replacement part? In this article we will discuss what parts you should consider having in your inventory and why we recommend having them on hand.
Here are the 10 air compressor parts to keep on your shelf:
- Important Note: Oil carry-over is mentioned in this article so it is important to understand what problems oil carry-over causes. First, it causes oil to migrate downstream and end up in whatever you’re using the compressed air for. For example, if you are using the air to package a food product, you can end up contaminating your product. If air is being provided for laser cutting, you can destroy a lens and stop a production line mid-cut. Second, it can also cause the compressor to run low on oil. This causes the unit to run hot, thus potentially causing internal varnishing on the air end, control line and valves.
1. Panel Filters
Panel Filters are designed to protect the air compressor’s control board from aerosol and dust particles. These particles are magnetically attracted to the control panel board. One of the more common consequences of this is electrical failure due to a short that’s been caused by a prolonged buildup of this oily dust. Panel Filters will protect your investment inside the air compressor and reduce down time.
Retro-Fitting A Panel Filter: It is important to note that some older systems may not have an enclosure with a panel filter. So how do we protect your control panel from getting caked up with gunk? On older machines we can provide a filtration material that can be placed over the grates that are punched into the sheet metal of the enclosure. This filter material is then attached to the sheet metal with a series of magnets. By placing this filter over the grates with magnets you can prevent build up on the control panel and easily change the filters when needed. This solution will typically last up to 2 years before needing to be changed and is a very cost-effective option to protect older units.
2. Oil Filter
The lifespan of most oil filters is typically 1,000 hours. Some will go for 2,000 depending on the life of the machine. With a part that needs to be changed as frequently as an oil filter it is a great idea to have one of these on the shelf. This is also why it is important to have seasonal maintenance performed on your compressed air system.
Having enough oil on hand to top off your unit in order to satisfy a night shift or weekend shift is also a great idea. This will help you hold off long enough so you don’t have to make an expensive after hours call.
4. Inline Check Values
These check values prevent air from escaping the tank and heading back into the pump head. They are typically under $100 and can cause oil carry-over when they are not operating correctly. Having one of these on your shelf can help you get by in a pinch.
5 & 6. Inlet Valve Open and Inlet Valve Close
These solenoid valves are equally as important to carry as the control air valve above. If either of these valves malfunction it will cause the entire system to go down.
7. Control Air Values
These are a very critical piece of any compressor. They help regulate the demand for air by opening and closing the IVO (Inlet Valve Open) and IVC (Inlet Valve Close). If this control stops working properly the signal to your IVO and IVC doesn’t get sent, and your compressor goes offline. While these valves tend to be more expensive, they are a mission critical part to your system and that warrants having them on your shelf.
8. Donut Gaskets
These are used in your oil return line and help prevent seepage. If one of these fails, you will start to see oil leakage from around the gasket. Replacement oil can cost between $100-$125 plus per gallon which is why it is a good idea to carry an extra pair of these should you see a leak. You will want to be sure to keep two of these on hand because if you change one side of your coupler you will want to change the other at the same time. We recommend changing these hard rubber gaskets out every year as a good maintenance practice.
[Like this article? Then you may also like: Saving Money And Avoiding Penalties With A Compressed Air Oil Separator]
9. Inlet Air Filters
These filters sit in front of the inlet air valve and are intended to keep large debris out of your compressor. This prevents particles from going into the compression cylinder of your compressor. While these won’t cause a compressor to shut down if neglected, they will cause the oil to become contaminated, and will increase your operating expenses.
10. Minimum Pressure Check Valve Rebuild Kit
The minimum pressure check valve prevents compressor control valves from operating below a certain pressure set point. Failure of these valves can result in oil seepage and control valve failures which is a common symptom. This ultimately can also cause oil carryover in the machine. By keeping a rebuild kit on hand you can take care of any issues that arise immediately and prevent oil carry-over from happening.
That’s it. These 10 parts should help you get by in a pinch. For additional emergency protection, you may also want to consider contingency piping on compressed air systems that are mission critical to your operation.
P.S. And don’t forget to download our maintenance checklist to ensure your compressed air system is running as efficiently as possible.