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Regulating Air flow

Compressors Compressed Air Wiki Compressor Regulation and Control Compressor Regulation

In a lot of cases, applications require constant pressure in the compressed air system. This, in turn, requires that the compressed air flow from the compressor center is regulated. There are a number of flow regulation methods available.

What types of flow rate regulation systems are there?

there are different types of air flow regulation systems

As mentioned above, there are a lot of flow regulation methods available, depending on the type of compressor, acceptable pressure variations, air consumption variations and acceptable energy losses. Energy consumption represents approximately 80% of the total life cycle cost for compressed air, which means that the choice of a regulation system must be made carefully. This is primarily due to significant differences in performance broadly with regard to compressor types or manufacturers.


In an ideal case scenario, the compressor's full capacity could be precisely matched to its air consumption, for example, by carefully choosing the gearbox's transmission ratio (as this is something that is frequently used in process applications.) A number of applications are self-regulating, i.e. increased pressure creates an increased flow rate, and as a result, stable systems. Examples include pneumatic conveying systems, ice prevention, chilling systems etc. However, in most applications, the flow rate must be regulated. This is usually performed using regulation equipment that is integrated in the compressor.


There are two main groups of regulation systems:


Continuous flow rate regulation involves the continuous control of the drive motor or inlet valve according to variations in pressure. The result is normally small pressure variations (0.1 to 0.5 bar), depending on the regulation system's amplification and its regulating speed.


Load/unload regulation is the most common regulation method and involves the acceptance of somewhat larger variations in pressure between two limit values. This takes place by completely stopping the flow rate at the higher pressure (off-loading) and resuming the flow rate (loading) when the pressure has dropped to the lowest limit value. Pressure variations depend on the permitted number of load/unload cycles per time unit, but normally lie within the 0.3 to 1 bar range.


Learn more about regulating dynamic compressors.


Learn more about regulating displacement compressors.

Related articles

an illustration about regulation and control for the atlas copco wiki.

Regulating Dynamic Compressors

There are different ways we can treat compressed air and different tools that are used in these processes. Learn more about regulating compressed air flow in dynamic compressors.

an illustration about regulation and control for the atlas copco wiki.

Regulating Displacement Compressors

There are different ways we can treat compressed air and different tools that are used in these processes. Learn more about regulating compressed air flow in displacement compressors.

how to install a compressor?

Installing a Compressor

Installing a compressor system is easier than it used to be. There are still a few things to keep in mind though, most importantly where to place the compressor and how to organise the room around the compressor. Learn more here.