What Is an Instrument Air Compressor?

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An instrument air compressor controls the application of air for operating valves in pneumatic instruments. Valves are process control equipment for industrial instruments and instrument air compressors ensure that the air passing through to power these process control equipment is of the correct pressure and temperature.



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An instrument air compressor has components and a control system put together as an integrated unit and housed in an enclosure to reduce the noise made by the compressor.

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The components of the compressor unit include the compressor, oil filter, drive motor, lubrication system, oil separator, after coolers, a control system and a control panel.


The types of instrument oil compressors are the reciprocating piston type that comes in oiled and oil less versions, the rotary vane types, the rotary liquid ring type, the centrifugal diaphragm type and the rotary screw type.



It is preferable that the instrument air compressor is not lubricated to avoid contaminating the air passing through with oil or lubricant. If the compressor is the oiled type, then an effective mechanism to separate the oil and remove contaminants from the air should be in place.



By using an instrument air compressor rather than natural gas-powered pneumatic controls, industries can make significant cost savings, reduce methane emissions and ensure the safety of their equipment.