Air Supply UK: Specialist Compressed Air Engineers

Published: 05/04/2022

Advantages and disadvantages of a rotary screw air compressor 

It can be difficult to find the right air compressor for your application so understanding the advantages and disadvantages of the different types helps to find the correct air compressor.

Rotary screw air compressors, or Screw compressors, are a common type of air compressor so let’s have a look at the pros and cons of this type of compressor.

What is a rotary air compressor? 

Rotary screw air compressors are a newer and improved type of air compressor when compared to others such as reciprocating air compressors. These compressors work using positive displacement, with rotary movements inside used to compress the air. Inside the compressor is a male and female rotor which rotate in opposite directions. As the air flows along the rotors, the air is compressed as the space between the rotors decreases. This reduction in volume provides compressed air which can then be used for the relevant application. 

Advantages of rotary screw air compressors 

Screw air compressors provide a number of advantages which is what makes them a popular choice across a wide range of applications and industries. 

Durable and long lasting 

Rotary screw air compressors have a reputation for their long lifespan which is often much longer than other air compressors. If you buy a rotary screw air compressor, you can expect a typical lifespan of around 60,000 to 80,000 hours with little to no capacity reduction. 

Quiet operation 

Unlike many other air compressors, screw air compressors are known for their quiet operations so this is important to consider if your application requires a quieter air compressor. 

This is a huge contrast to other compressors that make a thud sound due to the action of the piston for the compression process. As screw compressors do not contain a piston operating system, this noise is completely removed. 

High demand capabilities 

Unlike reciprocating air compressors, rotary screw compressors can operate continuously. This means there is no need to turn the air compressor off so the pistons can rest and cool and there’s no need to wait for an air receiver tank to fill before you can start using the air. 

Screw compressors can run all day without wearing out any critical components and they run at a lower temperature so overheating is not a problem. This is significant to consider if your application requires a steady stream of air. 

It also means that a rotary screw compressor will have no problem with meeting consistently high demand. 

Energy efficient 

Screw air compressors are more energy efficient than other types of air compressor and they generate much less heat too. 

Cleaner air 

The male and female rotating screws within the compressor are effective at sealing in lubricating oil which means there is very little oil carried into the end product. This results in cleaner and drier air which makes these compressors much better for application requiring low air moisture and low oil particulate. 

Range of applications

These compressors are perfect for a range of applications including: 

  • Heavy-duty industrial applications
  • Manufacturing facilities
  • Autobody and auto repair shops 

Within these applications, production often requires the continual use of multiple tools at the same time and a screw air compressor is the best compressor to meet these needs. 

Disadvantages of rotary screw air compressors 

Whilst rotary screw air compressors have a range of advantages, it’s also important to consider the disadvantages to make sure the compressor you choose fits within your budget and your application. 

High initial cost 

Rotary screw air compressors often come with a high price tag which is why many people prefer to opt for a reciprocating air compressor instead. The key reason for such a big difference in price is that screw air compressors are more durable and have a much longer lifespan. 

Despite being twice the cost of other compressors, they also last four times as long and produce more air. This makes them the perfect investment if you need to use compressed air over the long term for your business. 

Specialised maintenance required 

Every air compressor requires servicing on a regular basis but the nature of screw compressors needs a higher level of expertise. Rotary screw compressors have a more complex system inside than other compressors so maintenance will need to be performed by an expert maintenance person or someone who is highly skilled with air compressors. 

At Air Supply, we provide regular servicing and our reliable team of service technicians can help you make sure your compressor is kept in the best condition. 

If you’d like more information on how a rotary screw air compressor could benefit your application, please contact our expert team


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