Compressors, just like all motorized machines, need to be cooled when they overheat (think for example of computers). How to cool industrial compressors? There are two methods in particular, depending on the type of compressor: air-cooling or water-cooling.
In the following paragraphs we will become aware of how a compressor is cooled, bearing in mind that, if water-cooling is chosen, there are three cooling modes. Let’s see everything in detail
Almost all current compressors are compatible with air-cooling. Cooling takes place thanks to fans that push air flows through the radiators inside the machines. In this case, the air ventilation contains 100% of the energy consumed by the electric motor. In some cases, it is possible to optimize the cooling of the compressors by using radiators on the side where the greatest pressure is exerted in order to carry out a sort of pre-heating. A stop fan can also be used in order to achieve greater energy savings.
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As already mentioned, the water-cooling of a compressor can be carried out in three different ways. Let’s start with a fact: the more the compressed air is cooled in the intercooler, the more the compressor is efficient in the face of more water vapor that condenses. In fact, the cooling water contains about 90% of the energy absorbed by the electric motors in the form of heat.
The three water-cooling systems can be summarized as follows:
In the first case, the cooling water is supplied by an external source like rivers, lakes, wells, as well as from a water supply network. Once it flows through a compressor, the water is thrown out as sewage. This system must necessarily be regulated by a thermostat in order to control temperature and water consumption at any time. This first system turns out to be inexpensive, despite the simplicity of installation.
In the open system with circulation of water, the latter is cooled inside the compressor and subsequently in a cooling tower, which has the task of dripping the water into the chamber where the air is compressed. This is not an advantageous system if you want to keep water contamination to a minimum. The closed system with water circulation provides for continuous water circulation between the compressor and the external heat exchangers, which are in turn cooled by water or air. These systems require low maintenance costs if installed correctly.