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What Is a Rotary Vane Compressor?

By Amy Rodriguez
Updated May 17, 2024
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A rotary vane compressor is a machine that forces air through spinning blades to create compressed gas. This dense air machine is normally used within industrial facilities, such as a manufacturing lines, to produce continuous mechanical energy. Businesses prefer these compressor types since they are quiet, as well as cost effective for daily use.

This machine uses a hydraulic motor system to pull outside air into its housing. As air enters the rotary vane compressor, the internal spinning blades force the gas back into a storage tank; the air accumulates in the tank, becoming densely compacted. The machine is normally attached to an adjacent industrial machine to create mechanical motion on a continual basis.

The spinning blade construction of the rotary vane compressor limits the machine's power output to less than 50 horsepower (37 kilowatts); however, many businesses prefer these machine designs since there are only a few moving parts. As a result, a rotary vane compressor has less potential for failure during important production runs. Additionally, periodic maintenance is minimal as well, which can save the business money over time.

Another industrial benefit to using a rotary vane compressor is its ability to work in dusty or dirty environments. Air can be very dusty in some manufacturing facilities, such as lumber mills; other air compressor types would become jammed from the internal accumulation of this dust. The spinning blade design of the rotary vane compressor actually pushes the dust out of the assembly.

Unlike gas or electric compressor motors, rotary vane compressors use sealed hydraulic lines as an energy source. Since the fluid within the lines is secured from any outside air infiltration, the dust that enters the compressor does not have the ability to adhere to any oily surface. The dust simply dissipates out of the machine, which can increase the compressor's lifespan.

Businesses concerned with manufacturing noise levels also tend to prefer a rotary vane compressor. Unlike other compressor designs, the spinning blades do not produce a lot of residual noise; surrounding workers do not need to wear hearing protectors. The minimal noise contributes to a more comfortable working space which can increase worker productivity.

Depending on the manufacturing facility, a rotary vane compressor can be further muted by covering its main assembly with a protective panel housing. In addition, businesses can install a lock on the paneling to ensure that no unauthorized workers adjust the compressor's settings. Only workers with the proper clearance can adjust the compressor which can make a production line more efficient and safe.

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