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Compressor, the prime mover for woodworking machinery

Compressor is important equipment in the wood industry. This equipment is the generator for pressured air as the main energy supply for woodworking process. The woodworking equipment and tool use pressured air as their main energy supplier. The electric power still may be used but in limited condition to run the small machine and simple tool. 

How compressor work?

The compressor work by drawing air through the inlet, then press the air in one room until it reaches a certain pressure. This compressed air is stored in a tank and then distributed and used to drive wooden machines. The air pressure needed to run woodworking machines ranges from 70-100 psi or about 4 to 8 bar. You don't need the high pressure compressor but the high volume to keep the woodworking machine run continuously. 

The benefit of compressor 
  • safety
Safety is the main reason why most of woodworking machine uses air pressure as its energy supply. The woodworking industry is dealing with wood, the combustible material. Before coal and oil  was found, the wood was the main material for fuel and energy source. Then the woodworking process is high risk of fire. The electric has risk of emitting sparks that can lead to the big fire explosion in the woodworking area. To minimize this risk, then most of the woodworking machinery and tool use compressed air as the driving force. The compressed air is also used to run the finishing equipment if there any finishing process in the factory or the shop.
  • Less cost
Basically the air powered tool are less cost than the electric toll. The pneumatic tools are more smooth in the production and less  maintenance. they are also last longer then electric tools. 

The type of compressor for woodworking industry

There are several types of compressors, each have  their respective advantages, but the most commonly used for woodworking industry are reciprocating compressor and screw compressor. 
  • Reciprocating Compressors
It is also named as piston compressor. The compressors use a piston within a cylinder to compress the gas. The piston moves up and down, drawing in and compressing the gas on the upstroke. It is the simple, portable and easy in maintenance and handling. This compressor  are often used in small-scale operations, small woodworking shop or as additional in the big woodworking factory.
  • Rotary Screw Compressors
These compressors use two intermeshing helical rotors to compress the gas. As the rotors turn, the gas is trapped and compressed between the rotors and the compressor housing. Rotary screw compressor give smooth operation with continuous air supply. This compressor is commonly used in big volume woodworking factory.
There are some other types of compressor such as : centrifugal, axial, diaphragm compressor but rarely used in the woodworking industry. 

compressor installation

Things to be consider in selecting the compressor

When you decide to buy and install a compressor in your woodworking room, there are several things you must consider
  • The capacity and specification
The capacity of the compressor is the main consideration when you decide to buy compressor. Make sure the compressor fulfill the compressed air needed for you work. There are two things of specification you need to consider. First is the PSI (pound per square inch), it determine the pressure of the compressed delivered by the compressor. The woodworking machinery need the compressed air with pressure around 90 psi.  
The second things is the CFM (cubic feet per minutes), that indicate the volume compressed air pressure that produce by the machine. Make sure your compressor can deliver compressed air with enough amount to run the machinery in your woodworking shops. Make a list of the tools and machinery that are needed in your woodworking room and then make calculation to find the compressed air pressure needed. Base on the calculation then you can find the compressor capacity you need. 
  • The installation
The compressor need proper installation. to let him fulfill its function properly. The small compressor may just need air hose to deliver the compressed air to the tools, but the big compressor need the proper pipeline and installation to optimize his performance. The clean compressed air is needed in the woodworking machinery. The existence of water and oil can make problem in the woodworking process. The air filter should be installed at the compressor outlet to make sure the compress air delivered is free from water, and oil. 
The compressor will produce heat when it works, then it should be placed outside the woodworking room to minimize the fire risk. 
  • The maintenance
Every machines need maintenance to make it work optimally. Regularly checking and maintenance is needed to make the compressor work well. Make sure the installation is set up to accommodate the maintenance of the machine. Make sure you can do maintenance when you buy the compressor.
  • The electric power
The compressor uses electricity to run it, The small compressor need small power, but the big compressor will need the big power electricity. Make sure you provide enough electricity power to supply and run the compressor.
  • The accessories
The compressor installation need some accessories to support the machine. The air hose or piping is needed to distribute the compress air from the compressor to the woodworking machinery. The pressure gage is needed to the check and control the pressure of the air. The air drier and air filter is needed to make sure the air is dry and clean when it is sent to the machinery. An air tank can be installed to keep the compressed air to keep the continuously supply air to the machinery.
Safety valves is the other accessories that need to be installed properly. It is the valves that automatically release excess pressure from the compressor tank to prevent over pressurization and potential accidents.

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