What is a Reciprocating Compressor?

Reciprocating air compressor

There are several types of compressors and the most of them may be divided into two categories: dynamic and positive displacement. Positive displacement compressors include reciprocating compressors in their class. These kinds of compressors work by physically displacing the air while sucking fluid into a fixed-volume chamber via a mechanical component. Rolling piston, rotary screw, rotary vane, and diaphragm compressors are other varieties of positive displacement compressors. We will be discussing about reciprocating compressors below

A piston compressor, sometimes referred to as a reciprocating air compressor, moves high-pressure air or gases into storage so that they may be utilised later for many other reasons. It contains a cylinder and piston mechanism. The engines of automobiles serve as one of the greatest illustrations of how reciprocating compressors operate since they function exactly like these compressors. The air is let through in one chamber of reciprocating compressors, where it combines with the fuel, and the fumes emerge from another chamber under pressure. Reciprocating compressors are used worldwide in different industries because of their wide range of applications.

How does reciprocating compressors work?

The reciprocating compressors’ working principles are straightforward but strong and effective. Process gas is introduced into the cylinder, compressed there, kept in check, and then eventually released via the valves. Due to the pressure differential that is formed as a result of the pressure difference, these valves begin to operate automatically. Depending on the compressor’s design, the cylinders may have a single or numerous suction and discharge valves.

The crankshaft is equipped with counterweights to balance the dynamic forces produced by the heavy pistons as they move. The suction gases are typically passed through suction strainers and separators to remove the above particles and other things that can damage the compressor. Small particles, moisture, and process fluids that are generated during the liquid phase can severely damage the compressor and its essential components.

Reciprocating compressors are occasionally powered by an electric motor and at times by alternative energy sources like natural gas and diesel engines as well.

Types of Reciprocating Compressors

  • Single Stage Reciprocating  Air Compressor

Due to their tremendous power, these compressors are the ones that are most frequently seen on the market. They must be put close to the site of use since they are larger and noisier, making maintenance easier and reducing the need for a lot of pipe possible.

  • Two Stage Reciprocating  Air Compressor

When compared to single stage reciprocating compressors, a two stage reciprocating compressor compresses air more effectively by using both sides of the piston. These compressors’ biggest feature is that they require less maintenance than conventional compressors, which is why industrial settings utilise them.

  •  High Pressure Reciprocating Air Compressor

These air compressors take atmospheric air at room temperature and increase its pressure to as much as 6000 PSI. After passing through several degrees and stages of compression, the air is cooled, and it is then employed in a number of applications.

Advantages of a Reciprocating compressor

Reciprocating air compressors provide several advantages over other air compressors on the market when it comes to advantages and benefits. However, each type of compressor has a distinct benefit, and businesses use them accordingly. Below are a few of the benefits.

  • Built to perform continuously
  • A cast iron cylinder with deep fins
  • Low expansion piston made of aluminium alloy
  • crankshaft made of forged steel
  • Strong and durable cast iron crankcase
  • optimal speed of operation
  • For effective cooling, use an aerodynamic fan and aluminium cooler tubing.
  • air receiver built per ASME standards
  • pressure release valve for further security
  • automatic loop control for starts and stops


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