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Rotary compressor – versatile and popular

A rotary compressor is the perfect choice for applications that require a constant air supply. Here’s how they operate and how you can put them to work for you.

Contact us to learn more

March 17, 2020

Rotary compressor – versatile and popular

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Oil-injected screw compressor element
A rotary compressor is often the right choice for applications that require a constant supply of compressed air.

They combine a range of useful features that has made them very popular and successful. Most importantly, rotary screw compressors are very energy efficient, which makes a big difference considering that the bulk of the total cost of ownership of air compressors consists of electricity costs.

In addition, a rotary compressor is typically low maintenance and feature low pressure pulsations. The versatility also plays a major role in the success of this type of compressors. There is hardly an industry in which you cannot find a use for a rotary screw compressor.

An ingenious technology

Their ingenious technology is one of their outstanding features: Rotary compressors compress gas by using two meshing helical screws, which are also known as rotors. Timing gears ensure that the male and female rotors maintain a precise alignment in the case of a dry-running rotary screw compressor. In the case of an oil-lubricated rotary screw compressor, lubricating oil bridges the space between the driving and the driven rotors. This provides a hydraulic seal and also transfers mechanical energy between the two rotors.

A rotary screw compressor is a great alternative to a piston compressor, and they are built specifically for long lifetimes of reliable use and for operations that require up to a 100% continuous duty cycle.

Wide range of rotary compressors offers something for everybody

GA 90-160 oil-injected screw compressor
They come in various sizes and versions that match your budget. Or, to put it another way, there is a rotary screw compressor out there that meets your needs.

There are three different types of rotary compressors – belt-driven, gear-driven and direct drive compressors.

A belt-driven rotary compressor, e.g. Atlas Copco’s G 15-22, is robust, easy to install and maintain, and has the lowest initial investment cost.

Gear-driven rotary compressors, for example the GA 15-26 from Atlas Copco, are quieter and more energy efficient.

Finally, there are the innovative direct drive rotary compressors, led by Atlas Copco’s ground-breaking GA 11+-30. They deliver unmatched efficiency and performance – as well as high quality dry air. In addition, they feature the lowest noise emissions among the three rotary screw compressor types.

Optionally, you can integrate a dryer into the package, which is ideal for any application that requires clean and dry air. In addition, smaller units can be tank-mounted. This provides additional storage capacity that, coupled with the integrated dryer, allows for plug-and-play installation.

Mix and match to meet your needs

You can choose from a basic design, which is usually available in the lower kW/HP ranges, all the way to a variable speed drive (VSD) compressor, which has a higher investment cost but typically makes up for it with double digit energy savings.

Because a VSD compressor adjust its speed to the compressed air flow, they don’t waste electricity. That means that VSD technology is particularly useful if your operation has a fluctuating demand for compressed air, resulting a large energy savings.

Ask an air system professional about the best Rotary Compressor option for your needs.