Many industries use air compressors in their daily operations, from construction and manufacturing to woodworking and agriculture. The heavy-duty equipment these industries use often requires an external power source—like a three-phase converter—to ensure continuous operation. Single phase to three-phase converters are highly efficient and provide the reliable power supply companies need to conduct various applications.

Are you curious about which type of phase converter is best suited to power different air compressor types? Keep reading to learn more.

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4 Types of Air Compressors

Every air compressor is classified as either positive displacement or dynamic displacement, depending on its internal components. Understanding the different types of air compressors that fall into these two categories—including their benefits and drawbacks—will help you determine which type of phase converter you need for reliable operation.

Positive Displacement Compressors

Positive displacement compressors feature a hollow space inside the unit that stores air brought in from outside the unit. The device slowly compresses that hollow space to increase the air pressure along with the potential energy.

Rotary Screw Compressors

First up is a rotary screw compressor. This type of air compressor is a more contemporary model that’s equipped with more advanced technology. It features electronic controls that start the unit and monitor both the quality of power and the power load. They also feature an internal cooling system that’s easy to maintain, making these models ideal for continuous use for construction and other industrial projects because they don’t need to cool down between uses.

Rotary screw compressors create energy using two internal rotors that rotate divergently. The air that enters the unit is confined between the moving rotors to create pressure. Unlike reciprocating air compressors, rotary screw compressors don’t require a large starting current. They can also be powered continuously using minimal power, which helps them achieve optimal energy efficiency.

Digital phase converters are recommended to operate these user-friendly compressors because they are safer and more efficient. The digital phase converter delivers a large momentary current and a perfectly balanced voltage for all load sizes.

Reciprocating Air Compressors

A reciprocating air compressor is a more traditional model that contains more components. They’re often difficult to start and require a large, long-lasting current for the motor to operate at full capacity. They also require adequate voltage balance to protect the motor from sustaining damage.

This air compressor type is not designed for continuous use. It’s ideal for smaller projects, like home renovations and car mechanic shops, because it must cool down between uses. Reciprocating air compressors come in single-stage and multi-stage variations. The single-stage model is better for projects that require less power, and the multi-stage model is better for projects that require more power.

Reciprocating air compressors operate using a piston located inside a cylinder, which compresses and moves the air to create pressure. Digital phase converters are ideal for running this compressor type safely and efficiently. They deliver a large momentary current and a perfectly balanced voltage for all loads. Their ability to be powered continuously using minimal power makes them extremely energy-efficient.

Garage Air Compressor

Dynamic Displacement Compressors

Dynamic displacement compressors are characterized by air that moves quickly through rotating blades to create pressure and, thus, energy.

Axial Compressors

Axial compressors are expensive but extremely powerful and energy-efficient. Since they’re ideal for applications that require high horsepower, they’re often used to power high-speed engines on ships and planes.

Centrifugal Compressors

Centrifugal compressors feature a multi-stage compression process that generates large amounts of energy. This compressor type slows down and cools air via a diffuser to create energy. This model is ideal for large-scale manufacturing plants, like those used for steel and chemical production. Centrifugal compressors require minimal maintenance—less than rotary screw compressors and reciprocating compressors.

Air Compressor Power & Voltage Requirements

Air compressors are high-pressure systems that require an external energy supply to operate at full capacity. But how much energy do they require? A general rule of thumb is that the larger the air compressor, the more power it requires.

Larger air compressors typically require a three-phase converter rather than a single-phase converter to operate because they generate more power that is more reliable.

Air compressors require anywhere from 120 to 240 volts of power to operate. Again, the larger the air compressor, the more voltage is needed.

Running an Air Compressor on a Phase Converter

Here’s how air compressors run using a phase converter:

  • The phase converter plugs into the air compressor and increases the voltage being generated.
  • The phase converter then converts the output voltage from direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC), which is the air compressor’s standard power source.

What Size Phase Converter Do I Need for My Air Compressor?

The phase converter used to power an air compressor should typically be twice the size of the compressor motor. For example, a 5HP (horsepower) air compressor would require a 10HP phase converter to operate.

However, a phase converter can operate multiple air compressor motors up to the same HP. A 10HP phase converter can power multiple 10HP air compressor motors simultaneously, but it can’t power one air compressor motor with an individual HP higher than 10. In other words, an air compressor motor’s HP can’t exceed that of the phase converter that’s powering it.

Buy With Confidence at Phoenix Phase Converters

Do you need a reliable phase converter for your air compressor applications? Look no further than Phoenix Phase Converters—the industry’s leading rotary phase converter brand.

Our collection features a phase converter for all your power needs. We guarantee you won’t find a higher quality, better-priced product on the market. Browse the collection today to get started.

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