Over the last few months, my EXAIR colleagues and I have blogged about several different types of air compressor types including single and double acting reciprocating, rotary screw and sliding vane air compressors. You can click on the links above to check those out. Today, I will review the basics of the rotary scroll-type compressor.
The rotary scroll type compressor falls under the positive displacement-type, the same as the other types previously discussed. A positive displacement type operates under the premise that a given quantity of air is taken in, trapped in a compression chamber and the physical space of the chamber is mechanically reduced. When a given amount of air occupies a smaller volume, the pressure of the air increases.
Each of the previous positive displacement type compressors use a different mechanism for the reduction in size of the compression chamber. The rotary scroll uses two inter-meshing scrolls, that are spiral in shape. One of the scrolls is fixed, and does not move (in red). The other scroll (in black) has an “orbit” type of motion, relative to the fixed scroll. In the below simulation, air would be drawn in from the left, and as it flows clockwise through the scroll, the area is reduced until the air is discharged at a high pressure at the center.
It is of note that the flow from start to finish is continuous, providing air delivery that is steady in pressure and flow, with little or no pulsation.
There is no metal to metal sliding contact, so lubrication is not needed. A drawback to an oil free operation is that oil lubrication tends to reduce the heat of compression and without it, the efficiency of scroll compressors is less than that of lubricated types.
The advantages of the rotary scroll type compressor include:
- Comes as a complete package
- Comparatively efficient operation
- Can be lubricant-free
- Quiet operation
- Air cooled
The main disadvantage:
- A limited range of capacities is available, with low output flows
EXAIR recommends consulting with a reputable air compressor dealer in your area, to fully review all of the parameters associated with the selection and installation of a compressed air system.
If you would like to talk about compressed air or any of the EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® Products, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or one of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.
Rotary Scroll GIF: used from of Public Domain