Gas compressors are used in various applications where either higher pressures or lower volumes of gas are needed. There are several processes in the manufacturing, industrial and building sectors that need compressed air to power pneumatic tools.
Compressors are machines that increase a gas' pressure by reducing its volume. An air compressor is a specific type of gas compressor. The compressors Northern Diver stock and sell are high pressure breathing air compressors for filling scuba cylinders, these are either portable or they're stationary filling stations.
Like pumps, compressors can transport fluid through a pipe and increase the pressure exerted on a fluid. However, while a pump's main purpose is to pressurise and transport liquids, a compressor's is to do the same for gases - gases are more compressible than liquids and using one will reduce the volume of a gas.
In diving, compressors are a key component. Cylinders are life support devices and a compressor is the machine used to put a diver's breathing gas into small volume containers like diving cylinders. The compressors used to fill dive cylinders are classed as high-pressure breathing air compressors.
In surface supplied diving, low-pressure air (10 to 20 bar) is frequently supplied from an air compressor for breathing. While the stored air is primarily used for breathing, on submarines compressors are used to store air so it can be used to adjust the depth by displacing water from buoyancy chambers.
A compressor works by bringing in air into the machine via an intake pipe and passing it through a series of filters. There are four stages within a compressor and the air is compressed at each stage. The amount of compression increases at each stage. After the air is sufficiently compressed, it comes out of the compressor via a whip, this is the connector from the compressor to the cylinder.
Within every compressor is a condenser, this is the area that gets the moisture out of the air so that no water gets into your cylinder. It's also the reason that cylinder air is so dry when you release it to test and why you experience the feeling of a dry mouth when you dive.
Compressors require consumables to keep them in the best working order. The air filters require cartridges that can be filled with a variety of products which absorb the unwanted particles in atmosphere air as it's compressed for use in a cylinder. The products used are often personal preference, you can use activated carbon, molecular sieve, co-catalyst or use a mix of them. At Northern Diver, we sell the consumables required for air filters, or for convenience, we also sell pre-made air filters in a variety of configurations.
From hyperbaric oxygen therapy to simple filtered and dehumidified compressed air for your cylinders, compressors are designed to support your divers. Whether you're using tanks/cylinders or require a surface supplied diving set-up Northern Diver can supply a compressor to support your needs - stationary, compact, portable or silent.
We use our compressors at our Northern Diver showroom to provide air fills for customers for their dive cylinders. If you have a lot of air tanks and cylinders, or often need to fill the ones you have, you may find it cost-effective to invest in your own compressor.