With summer here, most of us only want to think about sunny days, beaches, barbeques and baseball games. One thing to avoid ‘playing games’ with is your industrial air compressor maintenance.
It is important to maintain your air compressor year-round but especially when summer is on the horizon. Hot and humid temperatures can make the air compressor exert more effort, which is why users want to make sure their compressor is in tip-top shape to withstand the summer heat.
Not sure where to get started? Here are a few quick tips for your entire compressed air system, whether oil flooded, oil free, or air treatment equipment.
Perform preventative maintenance
Industrial air compressors are machines that need to be regularly maintained, whether it’s completed by your local compressor distributor or an in-house maintenance technician. When temperatures increase in spring and summer, a neglected compressor will start to show signs of abandonment.
As part of a prescribed maintenance plan, either your distributor or in-house maintenance technician will need to do certain things to prepare. These include:
1. Cleaning the coolers
While there is not a defined service interval for cleaning the coolers, overlooking them can cause the compressor to overheat and become unreliable. Clean the coolers as often as needed. If you’re in a dirty or dusty environment, it will be more frequent than in a pharmaceutical or semiconductor application.
2. Ensure thermal valves are working properly
Elevated discharge temperatures are a sign that your thermal valve may be malfunctioning. There are several conditions that can cause discharge temperatures to rise. Do not hesitate to contact your distributor to get help troubleshooting some of these complex cooling systems.
3. Check fluid levels often
The user should check fluid levels daily, and then the service technician will keep a close eye on them when they visit, too.
4. Installation site is critical
How and where the compressor is installed is key. You do not want to install the compressor in an enclosed room without proper ventilation or cooling. Otherwise, the compressor may overheat, which then leads to unscheduled and costly downtime.
Additionally, you do not want to install an industrial air compressor in an area with a high amount of particulate. That can clog a cooler and cause overheating.
Lastly, you do not want to install a machine where the ambient temperature exceeds the specified range of acceptable temperatures.
Maintain Open and Frequent Communication
A long-term partnership with open and frequent communication will help ensure success for your equipment and operations. This communication needs to be two-way, between the customer and distributor and distributor and customer.
If a distributor is at a customer site, the service technician shouldn’t simply show up and leave. They should ask questions about how the machine has performed between visits. Is there anything they need to look at? Likewise, the customer should also ask questions and keep an eye on the compressor outside of these appointments. Have you noticed you’re not seeing as much condensate coming out? Inform the technician. Have you noticed you need to add oil more often? Tell the technician so they can investigate.
By maintaining open communication, small issues can be caught early before they become true issues. Communication is critical to help prevent unplanned downtime.
Take Away the Worry
Many customers are busy and caught up in their operations while everything runs smoothly—until, bam, it isn’t going smoothly, and an issue arises. When the air pressure is gone, panic sets in. Customers then think about all the things they’ve done—or haven’t done.
All of this undue stress can be avoided with a Preventative Maintenance (PM) agreement available through your local authorized Sullair distributor. Having a PM agreement in place will take the worry away not only in the demanding summer months but year-round.
Your compressed air system is a critical component of your daily operations, so don’t overlook maintenance—whether it’s the summer or any day of the year. When you’re at a barbeque or a baseball game, the last thing you want is a frantic call from the plant.
Spencer Hall is a field service engineer with Sullair. For more information, visit www.sullair.com.