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Cost Saving Opportunities for Compressors: Maintenance

Compressed Air Wiki Compressor Economy Compressors

As with all equipment, a compressor installation requires some form of maintenance. However, maintenance costs are low in relation to other costs and can be reduced further through careful planning measures. The choice of the maintenance level is determined by the required reliability and performance of the compressed air installation.


maintenance is only a small portion of the total cost of ownership of a compressor, but can save a lot of money in the future

Maintenance makes up the smallest part of the installation's total cost of ownership. It depends on how the installation has been planned in general and the particular choice of compressor and auxiliary equipment. Costs can be reduced by combining condition monitoring with other functions when using equipment for fully automatic operations, and monitoring of the compressor central plant. The annual maintenance cost is usually between 5–10% of the machine's investment value. The total budget for maintenance is affected by:

Maintenance planning

Well-planned compressor maintenance allows costs to be anticipated and the service life of the machine and auxiliary equipment to be extended as a result. Costs for repairing small faults is also decreased and downtime is shortened. By utilizing advanced electronics to a greater degree, machines are equipped with instruments for diagnostic examination. This means that component parts can be utilized optimally and replacement takes place only when truly needed. The need for reconditioning components can be discovered at an early stage before damage is significant, thereby avoiding subsequent damage and unnecessary downtime. By utilizing the compressor supplier's aftermarket services, its staff and original spare parts, the machine can be expected to maintain a high technical operational standard, while offering the possibility of introducing modifications based on recent experiences during the machine's service life. The assessment of the maintenance requirement is made by specially-trained technicians, who also conduct training for in-house first-line maintenance staff. In-house skilled staff should preferable be used to perform daily inspections, as local ears and eyes can hear and see things that remote monitoring equipment cannot.

Auxiliary equipment

It is easy to expand an installation by adding numerous pieces of auxiliary equipment, for example, to increase the air quality or to monitor the system. However, even auxiliary equipment needs service and incurs maintenance costs (e.g. filter replacement, drying agent replacement, adaptation to other equipment and staff training.) In addition, secondary maintenance costs exist, for example, for the distribution network and production machines, which are affected by the quality of the compressed air, and include deposit costs for oil and filter cartridges. All of these costs must be evaluated in the cost of ownership calculation that forms the basis for any new compressor investment.

Together with electricity, water and gas, compressed air keeps our world running. We may not always see it, but compressed air is all around us. Because there are so many different uses for (and demands of) compressed air, compressors now come in all kinds of different types and sizes. In this guide we outline what compressors do, why you need them and what types of options are available to you.


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