Dintsu Engineering Technologies (Pty) Ltd
Autorised Distributor of Ingersoll Rand

What is the difference between rotary screw and reciprocating compressor?

The 2 most popular mobile compressors are rotary screw air compressors and reciprocating compressors. Traditionally, the piston compressor has been the more widely used due to its price and availability. Many commercial van operators request reciprocating compressors because they simply do not understand the difference between a rotary screw and a reciprocating compressor and are only familiar with what they have traditionally used.


Rotary screws have very distinct and important advantages over reciprocating compressors:


l Work faster: Generally, rotary screw air compressors deliver more air compared to reciprocating compressors of the same size. Reciprocating compressors require reservoir tanks to reduce air pulses created in the compression process as well as using the reservoir to handle larger demands of air. Rotary screw compressors do not create the same type of air pulses and can deliver large amounts of air when required without the need of a reservoir tank. Not waiting for your compressor to keep up to your work means you get jobs done faster and complete more jobs in a day.     

l Work longer: rotary screw air compressors can operate at 100% duty cycle. Duty cycle is the amount of time a compressor can continuously operate without stopping to prevent overheating in a given time. Most reciprocating compressors are only capable of 50% duty cycle. This means those compressors can only operate half the time which reduces your ability to get the job done. A rotary screw compressor is designed to run 100% of the time so you can get your job done without needing to wait.

l Work with more: Rotary screw air compressors are lighter w eight and provide more capacity in a smaller package than reciprocating compressors. This means vehicles can haul more equipment, tools and materials can spend less time driving between shops and job sites and can get jobs done faster. Not only can you haul more, but you can also do more. The rotary screw compressor will give enough power to operate the most common hand-held pneumatic tools. From impact wrenches and deburring tools to grinders, you will get the air to power these tools when you need it.       

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