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Rotary Screw Air Compressor Vs Piston

If you work in industrial settings, you will probably know the basics of air compressors. They come in different types, which vary in capacity, working technologies, sizes, and pressure requirements. The main types are rotary screw air compressors and piston (reciprocating) compressors. Understanding the difference between the two is vital so that you can pick the option that suits your specific needs and applications. Let us explain how the two differ and which one may be the right for your business. 

Working technology

The primary difference between screw and piston compressors is the working technology they use to compress the air. Screw compressors rely on two meshing helical screws. There are only two moving parts that do not come in contact while working, so these units operate at a lower temperature. Conversely, piston compressors use pistons operated by a crankshaft. Multiple moving parts work together to complete the process, which makes them louder than the screw variant. 

Energy efficiency

Energy efficiency is a key concern in industrial settings because it drives sustainability and cost savings in the long haul. The screw variant is a clear winner on this front. It is far more efficient than the piston when you consider energy efficiency for both as they run for the same number of hours. You end up doing more with less by picking this option. 


When it comes to budgeting for a compressor, you must consider both the initial investment and long-term operating costs. Since energy use comprises a significant part of the lifetime operating costs, a Rotary Screw Air Compressor is the ideal choice from a long-term perspective. Even as pistons are cheaper upfront, they can eat up a lot of money as they operate over time.

Duty cycle

Another difference between the two types of compressors relates to their duty cycle, which decides the suitability for specific tasks and applications. Pistons are limited in duty cycles. It makes them apt for applications with low requirements in terms of duty cycle and daily running hours. If you expect long duty cycles and operating hours, screw compressors are right for you. They are designed to run all day without ever tiring out. 

Service intervals

Since pistons have more moving parts, they are susceptible to increased machine wear and tear down the years. Screw compressors have less wear, so the maintenance needs are less intensive. It also affects the long-term operational costs. But remember that a consistent maintenance schedule is a necessity for any type of compressor as it ensures high efficiency and optimal performance. 

Pistons make an excellent choice for business applications that require an entry-level compressor, but you cannot rely on them as your needs grow over time. Switching to a rotary screw is a wise decision when you require an increased and consistent flow. These units are quiet, efficient, compact, and reliable, so they never let you down regardless of your requirement. Ensure that you assess your requirements thoroughly before investing in a compressor, and do not hesitate to upgrade as you need more down the line to stay ahead of the output and demand. 


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