Everything You Need To Know About Compressors
The compressor market is extremely wide and varied, covering a myriad of applications from big industrial compressors with very specific uses, to smaller and more portable units more commonly found in hardware retailers.
The market starts with general purpose DIY compressors that are typically 2 hp/24 litre direct drive models. For most hardware retailers these are the price entry end of the market.
Next up there are 2.5 hp/36 litre direct drive compressors. These are basically the smallest trade orientated product, and most serious tradies use 2.5 hp or 3 hp/50 litre belt drives, which are also popular in the automotive trade. Any compressor above this size has more serious workshop applications, which means they are stationary, have higher outputs, and are usually plumbed in with galvanised pipes around the workshop.
Labels and associations
All main players in the compressor market are members of the Compressed Air Association of Australasia (CAAA). In addition to being a representative body for compressor manufacturers, this voluntary association also developed very specific testing guidelines that ensure the calculation of free air delivery in compressors is uniform and accurately stated in litres per minute.
“In the past, compressor performance was measured in cfm, and there used to be a tendency to exaggerate the cfm for a marketing advantage,” says Peter Gard, Marketing Manager for JW Ross. “However, following the implementation of the CAAA standards, users could now read the CAAA label on each compressor and be assured that the information is accurate.”
Importantly, all CAAA members are required to adhere to these guidelines
A recent and growing trend directly affecting the compressor market is the re-emergence of air operated nail guns. “There is a trend toward traditional type nailers that are reliable and durable, which has created demand for lighter, compact high pressure compressors that can offer the required level of performance on site,” says Peter Gard.
“The market is still strong but many tradies are certainly looking for ways to replace gas-battery type nail guns due to the high cost of consumables and frequent need for servicing of the guns. In part, this is because traditional air nail guns, running off compressor air, tend to perform very reliably during prolonged use.”
Another emerging trend is the introduction of new compressors designed to fit into hard-top utes for more convenient on site use and ease of transportation. These later models must be stable, lighter and compact in design, and is not uncommon for tradies to dust off their ancient but still working air nailers.
When selling a compressor it is important to pay close attention to the seemingly obvious but often overlooked basics. “It’s very important that the performance of the compressor being sold must satisfy the intended application,” he says. “For example, someone who uses an air framing nail gun needs only a small amount of air but at constant high pressure, while another person who uses a spray gun requires lower pressure but greater volume of air.”
At floor level, CAAA label details are an excellent way to sell the correct compressor to fit the application. Just determine the consumption of the air tools being used from the tool label or the information manual, and then confidently recommend the most appropriate compressor based on the required litres per minute.
Peter Gard is the Marketing Manager at JW Ross. He can be contacted on (02) 8874 2206.
Visit www.ferret.com.au/n/Standard-proposed-for-small-compressors-n698998 for further information regarding the CAAA.