5 Common Parts of an Industrial Air Compressor

Air compressors are powerful machines you come across in power plants. Both big and small shops use Air compressors to create compressed air, which is useful for many functions. These power sources can be used in auto repair shops to factories and other industrial settings. As the name implies, air compressors are machines that find a way to convert air to a higher pressure, which can be used to pump our tires, supplying clean air to underwater divers and hospital patients to supply power for hand drills or other machines. These machines increase the pressure in the air by significantly reducing its volume. 

To understand air compressors better, you can think of them as pumps. Both can increase the pressure of air (fluids) by reducing the volume, and both can transfer the compressed air through a pipe or Actuators.

Types of air compressors

Air compressors can be categorized into two broad types namely

Positive displacement air compressors:

A positive displacement air compressor uses a variety of air compressors that generate pressurized air via displacement. In this category, air compressors work with different internal mechanisms, but it still maintains the same principles. It has a cavity in it that stores the air collected from its environment and then slowly compresses these cavities to increase the air pressure and energy. 

Dynamic displacement: 

Dynamic air compressors generate air pressure by drawing air with rapidly rotating blades and then restricting the air to create pressure.  

However, There Are Four Most Common Types of Air Compressors Namely

Rotary screws:

This is a common type of displacement compressor, which is also the easiest type of Air compressor to maintain. These air compressors are equipped with an internal cooling system that doesn’t require much care. These compressors are typically large (industrial size) and can be lubricated with oil or run oil-free.  

The rotary screw air compressor generates pressurized air via two internal rotors that turn in opposite directions. These two internal rotors trap air between them and build up the pressure within the housing. 

Reciprocating air compressor:

Another popular type of displacement compressor is the reciprocating air compressor. These compressors are typically found in smaller shops and work sites such as Garages and small construction projects sites. Unlike the rotary screw, the reciprocating air compressor is not designed for continuous use. This air compressor also has more moving parts, and it requires oil lubrication for smoother movement. This air compressor relies on a piston inside a cylinder, which compresses and displaces air to build up pressure.  

Axial compressor:

These compressors are mostly common in high-speed engines like ships and planes. They have higher efficiency rates but are much more expensive. They can produce thousands of horsepower, which is why they are used for powerful machines.  

Centrifugal compressor: this air compressor slows and cools incoming air through a diffuser to build up its potential energy. Because of this multistage compression process, centrifugal air compressors can create high pressure.

Parts of an Air compressor

There are different air compressors, which mean there is a wide range of parts you can find on your compressor. To keep this simple and useful to most readers, we will discuss the most important parts of an air compressor that you will encounter on many air compressors. You need to understand that some parts essential for automatic operation may not be included seeing that they vary depending on the type of Air Compressor in use. 

Compressor pumps:

The Pump is the part of the compressor that compresses the air and discharges it into the receiver. The compressors can be in two or one stages depending on the type of air compressor. For two-stage air compressors, they have a minimum of two pump cylinders. By compressing the air twice, the air gets compressed first in a larger low-pressure cylinder, and then air gets compressed in a smaller high-pressure cylinder. These two stages of air compression can produce high air pressures.

The piston: the piston is the part of the cylinder that moves up and down to trap and push air form your environment. When the cylinder moves downwards, air enters a large cylinder through the filter and the air intake valves at regular atmospheric pressures. The piston then moves upwards, which pressurizes air in the cylinder to approximately 50 psi (Depending on the air compressor) and then discharges the pressurized air into a smaller cylinder through the intercooler tube. 

The receiver: 

After pressurization, the air needs to be cooled using a flywheel fan. This fan passes through the intercooler and into smaller cylinders. In these smaller cylinders, high pressured air is further pressurized to come to its final state. As the piston moves upwards, it pressurizes the air and pushes it into the receiver through the check valve


The bearings are used to give rigidity to the running rotational mechanism. Both the Big end bearing and main bearing are made up of copper-lead alloy and have a long operational life if they are regularly and adequately lubricated. Having a quality bearing on your air compressor guarantees you peace of mind knowing that workers are safe around your air compressor at maximum pressure. 


This is one part of the air compressor that is designed using counterweights for dynamic balancing. This becomes useful during high-speed rotations to ensure there aren’t any twisting due to the torsion force produced. Connecting the big rod end to the main bearings is connected to the crankshaft at the crankpin and the journal pin. These bearings are adequately polished to serve its users for long periods.  


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