Compressed high-pressure air is critical for many industrial processes, including pressure testing, pneumatic operations, energy storage in a pressure vessel, laser cutting, blow molding and others. For operations that require higher pressure than a standard compressor can supply, industrial operations often incorporate air pressure boosters. Air and gas boosters and compressors operate on similar mechanical principles. Gas boosters and compressors, however, include sealing and purge systems that ensure no gas leakage or ingression of other ambient gases or air into the compression chamber.
What’s the Difference Between Air and Gas Boosting and Compressing?
The primary difference between boosters and compressors is the inlet pressure prior to compression. Compressors use atmospheric pressure (14.5 psia, 0 psig) then leverage this up to a given needed pressure, 150 psig or higher. A booster, on the other hand, utilizes the flow and pressure supplied to its inlet by an upstream compressor. This compressor created super-charged inlet pressure ranges from 50 to 125 psig, but can be lower or higher based on application requirements. Secondarily, a compressor will deliver downstream flow based on motor speed and compressor size and is unrestricted by available inlet flow (because it draws from the entire atmosphere). The booster is limited in flow and pressure based on the compressor feeding the inlet….it will only put out what is supplied to it.
Air compressors are versatile tools that are useful in many applications. Most industrial manufacturers have at least one compressor on site and many have multiple. Air compressors transfer or compress the air or gas into a downstream pressure vessel (storage tank) through the discharge port and draws the air from ambient conditions (atmospheric 14.5 psia). Gas compressors are similar in design and technology but will only use a confined process source. Unlike air, specific gases are held or captured in a given area to be transferred and/or compressed by the gas compressor. Typical compressor technology uses screw, reciprocating piston, vane, scroll and tooth mechanical operation to transfer and compress air and gases.
Hycomp compressors can pump air and many gases such as nitrogen, argon, helium, hydrogen, natural gas, biogas, carbon dioxide, syngas, heliox, mixed gases and others. With capabilities up to 3,000 psig and 3,000 SCFM, a wide range of applications are covered.
Industrial operations that require higher levels of air and gas pressure benefit from the use of highly efficient boosters. Air and gas boosting can increase air pressure significantly by 30 times or more, the pressure of a standard compressor. Air and gas boosters enhance compressed pressure by increasing the level of compression through multiple stages.
Air boosters increase pressure within a closed system by reducing the volume of space where the air is housed. A typical air booster system consists of an upstream feed compressor, an inlet buffer tank, the booster pump and a discharge tank, all connected by piping. Air is pumped into the buffer tank via an inlet connected to the compressor. The air is further compressed in a series of stages as it enters and exists the booster pump. The air is cooled at each stage to ensure optimal compression levels. The boosted compressed air is then discharged into the receiver tank, which has an outlet to direct the air to the desired application.
Gas boosters operate similar to an air booster with the exception that includes sealing and purge systems that ensure no gas leakage or ingression of other ambient gases or air into the compression chamber.
Do I Need a Compressor or a Booster?
Compressors and boosters for air and gas each offer unique advantages. For economics and versatility, a booster supplied by a standard compressed air system can be the best solution. Boosters provide high-pressure to specific applications from standard industrial application pressures of 80-150psi. Rather than a costly dedicated high-pressure compressor, utilizing the existing plant air system and boosting to the required high-pressure for location-specific applications is efficient and economical.
If the supply air or gas is 14.5 psia or 0 psig, then a compressor is what is needed to get the pressure up to the requirement. If the requirement is higher than the compressor is capable, then a booster will be needed.
Compressors & Boosters at Hycomp
Hycomp is a leading provider of air and gas compressor solutions for customers in a wide range of industries. Our comprehensive selection of quality compressors and boosters includes a variety of designs and pressure levels. If one of our high-quality standard models doesn’t meet your needs, we provide custom-engineered compressor and booster solutions built to meet the particular needs of your application. We maintain the highest standards, including ISO 9001-certified quality compliance processes. It is our goal to ensure that your system performs with exceptional reliability and efficiency for the full 20-year life cycle, even in critical no-fail operations.
Whether you are in need of a simple compressor for power tool operations or a high-pressure compressor booster for heavy industrial operations, Hycomp has you covered. We are dedicated to product and service excellence, so you can rest assured that you are getting the best air or gas compression solutions on the market.