How Air Compressors Keep Things Running: The Role of Compressed Air Across Industries


Compressed air plays an important role across many industries. From the residential sphere to the commercial to the industrial world, air compressors are an essential tool for a variety of operations and applications. While the concept is the same, an industrial compressor is very different from the compressors people have at home to pump up their bicycle tires or deflated basketballs. Depending on the application, these air compressors can possess any number of settings and be either rotary, reciprocating, or any of the other commonly used rotators in the industry. 

Because of the importance of this apparatus, we can never spend too much time discussing some of its main functions and the roles it plays across some of our most important industries. In the past, we’ve discussed the adventures of the air compressor during World War II and the air compressor’s role in an industrial setting. Today, we dive a little deeper into this fascinating world of the air compressor. 

Most industrial facilities today use the air compressor for a variety of operations. Walk into any industrial facility, plant, or factory, and you’ll find at least one or two air compressors that are necessary for their day-to-day operations. 

Industrial air compressors operate at higher pressure levels than commercial units. Industrial air compressors have a bigger engine size. They possess higher horsepower motors and heavier-duty components. 

Industries that Use a Wide Variety of Air Compressors 

As mentioned above, the air compressor is highly versatile. Because there are different types of air compressors and different sizes, they can accommodate any number of applications. Below are just a few examples of air compressors in specific industries. 

Agriculture and farming

Compressed air is used throughout the agriculture industry. From hand tools like pneumatic staplers, spray paint guns, and nail guns to inflating flat tires in farming equipment. A flat tractor or ATV tire can derail the daily workload. Having an air compressor on hand helps the equipment get back to work quickly and efficiently. Other uses in agriculture include dairy machines, such as milking robots which use pneumatically-controlled machines that help milk cows. When it’s necessary to clean production areas, stables, warehouses, etc, using compressed air can make the process much more efficient. 

Automotive industry

The automotive industry uses compressed air for many applications as well. Air compressors are used in the assembly process. Robotic machinery powered by compressed air can lift, position, or transport vehicle components as they move through the line. The machinery doing the heavy lifting tends to be powered by compressed air. In the beginning stages of the assembly, a shell is secured on a conveyor system and then progresses through the production line. Air compressors are also used in the cleaning and painting applications of the vehicle. As it approaches its final touches, air compressors add the final layer of paint. 

Petroleum and oil industry

The petroleum and oil industry needs a lot of heavy hauling as well. Compressed air is a part of the drilling process. Both onshore and offshore drilling requires the use of rigs, compressors, and other heavy-duty equipment. Drilling in high depths will require a lot more air pressure. Other necessary tasks in the industry include well testing and pipe and process services that also need compressed air as part of the operations. 

Furniture industry

Perhaps a little less talked about is the furniture industry. When it comes to furniture manufacturing, factories and sawmills use a lot of compressed air equipment to sort, cut, or transport material such as logs. Furniture manufacturing will use rotary screw compressors or reciprocating compressors, depending on how big the job is. For smaller wood-working operations reciprocating piston models can get the job done. When it comes to larger sawmills with high-volume operations, the rotary screw compressor can work better. 

Metals fabrication

In metals fabrication, a reliable air compressor system is essential for the many operations.  In this industry, air compressors are used to power the necessary equipment used for cutting, welding, and fastening metal projects, as well as sandblasting. Compressors are also used for powering tools, clamping, cleaning, injection molding, and more. 

Pharmaceutical industry

While the pharmaceutical industry is highly regulated and requires slightly different needs, compressed air still plays a major role in many important applications. The compression needs in this industry need to be free of certain contaminants because of the sensitive nature of the material. Oil-free air is needed in the manufacturing of medicine and similar products. The air used must meet stringent requirements of purity to ensure no contamination occurs. 

Other industries that use air compressors include textiles, rubber and plastics, pulp and paper, and lumber and wood. 

For Industrial Supplies, Trust a Wholesale Supplier of Quality Equipment 

Here, at Wisco Supply, we provide quality equipment components and parts to the manufacturing industry and others. We carry a wide range of industrial equipment and products. From monorails, hoists, cranes, and, of course, air compressors and boilers. All of these are industrial-grade and meant to assist in the most crucial applications throughout various industries. 

Want to learn more? Call Wisco Supply and connect with us today.