Types Of Marine Air Compressors

The scope of air compressors is wide when it comes to the marine environment. The key role of an air compressor is to consume air, compress to diminish the volume and expand its energetic potential. Once the air leaves the marine air compressor tanks, it turns into its original volume. This method leads to the generation of additional power, which can be channelized towards the completion of individual tasks.

Four elementary forms of marine air compressors are as follows:

      • Centrifugal
      • Reciprocating
      • Rotary Screw
      • Rotary Vane

The most widely used marine air compressor in the reciprocating type, others are utilized as the required task to be performed.

Differentiation between Marine and other compressors

The marine air compressors are customized to be compatible with the ship environment. These machines are required to be accustomed to humid conditions and salt in both air and water. All metals can’t adapt to such needs. Therefore, an air compressor accustomed to such situations can result in a breakdown and increase safety concerns.

Uses of Marine Air Compressor

Compressed can fulfil variety of functions designated to help with ship operations. Many a time, different air compressors are assigned to perform specific tasks. This guides us in ensuring the optimum sizing and power potential to keep in check the tasks to be performed.

Marine air compressors can be classified according to the following uses

      • Main
      • Deck
      • Emergency
      • Topping up

Main Marine Air Compressors

 The main air compressor in the ship is responsible for supplying power to the primary and auxiliary engines. Pressurized air is collected in a suitable tank and supplied to ensure the supply of power to begin engine operations. At times, the compressors are of a greater capacity, as there may be a need for high amount of energy to kick off the engines.

Deck Marine Air Compressor

Marine air compressors can be used for multiple purposes on the deck. The power capacity of these systems is on the lower side. This makes the system more flexible. It aids in the functioning of multiple pneumatic power tools, ensuring that minor ship repairs and extra mechanical functions can be performed while at sea. They can also perform functions to maintain sanitation in the ship.

It can also fulfil certain safety requirements. Operating emergency fire pumps is one of the safety measures that these compressors perform. It is beneficial to have enough systems available to tackle situations like fire as these ships are on their own in the sea during such emergencies. This is a integral factor for the safety of the ship and the crew.

 Emergency Marine Air Compressor

These compressors act as a backup source of energy in case any emergency arises. These compressors are generally required to supply power to auxiliary engines in case of the breakdown of the main compressor.

 Topping up Marine Air Compressor

Every marine compressor is different in terms of its operating requirement, fer is the standard in all of them.  Here are few common standard requirements.

      • Maintaining proper lubrication
      • Valve unloading
      • Pressure gauge cocks for avoiding excess pressure
      • Air filtering processes
      • Cooling water usage
      • Relief valve operation
      • Airline piping maintenance

Maintenance is carried out at regular time intervals. Few checks have to be assured on a daily basis prior to using the marine compressor which is in a backup state. The remaining are to be checked after they have completed a certain number of hours.

 Timed Maintenance

 The maintenance of the marine air compressor depends on the owner’s manual or per the instructions of the manufacturer of the parts. Maintenance activities comprise cleaning, inspection or having parts replaced. While the detailed instructions are given in the manufactures manual, here are some of the basic requirements.

Air filters need to be constantly cleaned. As time passes, the contaminants build up on the filters, which prevents the passing of air via the filter into the tank, eventually leading increase in temperature an posing a threat of fire.

Valves need to be constantly monitored and replaced in case some damage is found. The same thing applies to drive belts, e.g.: v-belt. Damaged belts may breakdown, and improperly fitted belts can slide.

Unloader operation must be constantly monitored and there is a need to charge the crankcase oil in regular intervals. The replacement frequency of the crankcase oil is dependent on the variety of oil being utilized.

Troubleshooting Processes

Few of the issues prevalent in the marine air compressors can lead to a safety hazard. The scope of the problem depends on the compressors use and ship conditions. Troubleshooting is the solution to some of the common problems but its not applicable to each and every problem.

An overview to help one identify the cause of certain operational issue:

      • Leakage or a choked suction strainer can be a cause for low-pressure warnings. Faulty pressure gauges and low level of oil can also lead to such warnings.
      • High-temperature warnings due to the cooling water is caused as the requires valves are shut. Faulty cooling water pumps, low water levels, pipe blockages and damaged belts can also be a potential cause.
      • Worn bearings, piston rings, valve related issues poor seating, damaged and broken pieces are few of the common causes leading to extensive noise during operation.

The operator’s manual is mandatory to refer to get a knowhow of the recommended procedures and basic safety precautions before troubleshooting any issue or while working on maintenance. Failure to do so will lead to additional damages as well as safety hazards.