Noise. It’s common in vehicle service shops. In fact, a reciprocating compressor is almost as loud as a motorcycle or a convertible ride on a highway. Working in that condition day-in and day-out can make for an unpleasant working environment. A loud shop environment limits your team members’ ability to communicate effectively, and without the ability to adequately hear one another, it can be dangerous for hazardous situations in the shop. Ingersoll Rand® recognizes that noise affects your working environment and that choosing the right compressor for your operation impacts your bottom line. And this is why we offer a variety of compressor options to power your tools and equipment efficiently and limit the additional noise in your shop.
Rotary Screw – as quiet as a dishwasher
Think about when you step in to a performance sports car and rev the engine. There’s generally a substantial increase in noise because of the opening of the throttle in the intake when you gas the car. Of course, the exhaust gets louder due to more combustion and change in RPM, however the initial noise you hear is the increase in air velocity being drawn into the engine. This is similar to how the noise in a reciprocating compressor is generated. As the piston travels up and down in the cylinder, it generates pulsations that cause the intake and exhaust valves to open and close, therefore generating noise.
On the other hand, the rotary screw compressor design is such that it draws in a constant flow of air which eliminates the pulsation experienced in a reciprocating compressor. The mechanical dynamics of a rotary screw compressor make the equipment inherently much quieter. In fact, the Ingersoll Rand R-Series 4-11kW oil-flooded rotary screw compressor generates only 69 decibels (dB) – equivalent to the sound of a dishwasher.
If rotary isn’t an option right now – what can I do?
If noise is an issue but purchasing a rotary screw compressor isn’t in the cards right now, there are other things you can do to mitigate noise in your current setup. Whether your neighbor complains about the noise your shop makes, or you can’t hear your teammates talking, consider these tips to help:
- Relocate the compressor to a different area of the shop;
- Build an enclosure around the equipment or install sound attenuation panels around the machine to muffle the noise;
- Dampen the pulsation of the compressor. You can modify the intake of a reciprocating compressor to include a muffler or remotely plumb the intake filter to move the noise.
If you choose to upgrade your equipment to a rotary screw, it’s advisable to keep any old compressor tanks for extra capacity and back-up. Even an older, noisy compressor can have a role in the shop!