The Reciprocating Air Compressor – All you need to know

The reciprocating air compressor is a machine that has positive dislocation feature. It can reduce the volume of air, which results in an increase of pressure. Besides, this pressurized air is stored in a large steel-made vessel and is discharged at the time of use by a steel pipe that is fitted with a control valve.

In today’s time, the pressurized air is used for different purposes and this air compressor has tremendous value among the users. Additionally, their strong constructions as well as the capacity to work for a longer period make them the first choice industrial air compressor.

Types of Reciprocating Air Compressor

There are two kinds of reciprocating air compressors and they are explained below:

1) Single Stage Reciprocating Air Compressor

Single stage air compressors have up to three cylinders of similar size and within these cylinders; the pistons compress the air to increase the pressure. As a result of this, the pressurized air is then stored or discharged into the storage tank. If you want medium air pressure, then single stage air compressors are required. Lastly, the single stage air compressors are used in machines such as the operating pneumatic tools; spray painting machines, fuel atomization for boiler, blow molding tools, filtration process in chemical industry, and staplers and many more …

2) Two-Stage Reciprocating Air Compressors

The two-stage air compressor is different from the single stage and it will compress the air twice before sending the air into the receiver tank. Afterwards, the atmospheric air will be filtered and transmitted into the LP (Low-Pressure) cylinders by an inlet valve. To compress the air, the reciprocating movement of a piston will raise its pressure. Furthermore, the overall compression procedure will increase the heat of the air and this heat will be absorbed by passing the air all the way through the intercooler or heat exchanger.

On how the reciprocating works, check out this video:

Bear in mind that this absorption process will take place before it is sent to the high pressure (HP) cylinder for additional compression. Besides, this is done to decrease the air heat as well as to augment the efficiency of the whole compression phase. The weariness of the high-pressure cylinder is lesser than the low-pressure cylinder. Moreover, the design of the compressor assists to the increase the pressure further without the power increase for the compression stroke.

Reciprocating Air Compressor by Design

Apart from the above air compressors, you will find two types compressors that are classified by the design. These air compressors are as follows:

1) Reciprocating horizontal balance opposed piston compressor

This type of air compressor possesses both the LP and HP cylinders, which are placed in a horizontal position as well as they are opposite to each other. Besides, they are driven by a similar crankshaft that is powered with an electric motor.

2) Reciprocating vertical balance opposed compressor

This is a twin cylinder air compressor, but it is opposite to the previous one with the LP and the HP cylinders are both placed vertically sitting opposite to each other.

A robust foundation is required for a reciprocating air compressor and this robust foundation is created out of durable concrete. Additionally, it will diminish the vibratory forces that are generated due to the movement of twin pistons in opposite directions. The construction of this type of air compressor is off-robust and the carefully-oiled moving parts of the compressor make it an enduring one for the users or operators. The power consumption of this air compressor is less and there will be fewer maintenance breaks as well.

With all that being said, the reciprocating air compressor can generate a pressure that is equal to 17.5 kg/cm2 and you will be able to add more compression stages according to the single requirements for boosting the ultimate pressure. However, the BOP air compressors are used in different industrial parts such as the Chemical, Forging, Fertilizer, Railway worships, Refinery, and Power plants as well as Shipyards.


To sum up the article, I will highlight that there are various industrial air compressors on the market with different kinds of brands. Additionally, if you want to buy an air compressor, you should check out the safety features that will be needed during the manufacturing procedure. Keep in mind that any structural failure along with high pressure of the air compressor can cause serious damages to you and your employees. So, be alert and be safe while buying the reciprocating air compressor.