Is it necessary to use an air compressor regulator?

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In addition to buying an air compressor, some professionals use an air compressor regulator. In this article, we’ll explore the possibilities and advantages of an air compressor regulator, and whether or not it’s a good choice for your specific situation. We’ll also discuss the internal regulation of pressure in industrial air compressors.

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What does an air compressor regulator do?

Essentially, an air compressor regulator - you’ve guessed it - regulates the air between your tank and the appliance you’ve connected the piping to. It’s used mainly to lower the pressure so the specific application you use doesn’t receive a higher pressure than it can actually handle. 

The main air supply of your air compressor is connected to the regulator’s intake port. With the regulator you can easily adapt the airflow to the one necessary for your specific application. The outlet port is connected to the application through piping. 

When do I need an air compressor regulator?

These regulators show you the actual air pressure your air compressor generates, and can regulate it as well. These air compressor regulators are however used mostly in connection to air tools and other small appliances. So they mainly come in handy in DIY environments or garages. 

But what about industrial air compressors? You do need regulation of some sort, right? The regulation in these compressors has to do with regulating the pressure and air flow so the air compressor can keep performing as it should. 

Air (pressure) regulation for industrial air compressors

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For industrial air compressors, regulation of air flow is also necessary. This will not be performed by an air compressor regulator, i.e. a machine that is put in between the compressor and the application. 

For industrial air compressors, the regulator is integrated in the compressor itself, since we are dealing with much larger air compressors, and not the small ones used in DIY or other situations. There are two groups of regulation systems.

Continuous flow rate regulation

The drive motor and inlet valve are continuously controlled according to pressure variations. The exact regulation depends on amplification and regulating speed. This control keeps the pressure from building up too high. 

Load/unload regulation

This method is most commonly used in industrial air compressors. Larger variations in pressure can occur, but between certain limit values. When the pressure builds up above a certain limit (loading), action is stopped. Then the action resumes when the pressure falls to the lowest limit value (unloading).

Pressure variation is based on the number of loading/unloading cycles per time unit.

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