Pneumatics: With Great Power, Comes Less Noise

The thing about air tools, as any factory floor moonlighter will tell you, is that they're way cooler than air guitars but the trouble, as any small town rock promoter will confirm, is that they're also way louder.


According to Yale, 'sustained exposure [to sound levels between 80 and 90 dBA] may result in hearing loss.


So the question for the returning customer is: should I upgrade to a quieter compressor?


To answer this question, you'll need to know about the four latest developments in pneumatics. So let's get into it.



  3. 1. New silent air technology


  1. Mark says: 'New silent air technology reduces large 10hp air compressor output to 55dB, well below the OSHA requirement of 85dB over an 8 hour period'
  3. This new technology works to reduce the noise level through a combination of silencers and air filters. 'Silencers' refers to materials which cover the compressor and its components, sometimes individually. These materials absorb the vibrations from moving parts, reducing the associated noise. Air filters, often operating in tandem with intake silencers, work directly to reduce noise caused by rushing air. This is typically the main source of the noise. With a filter, the rushing hour is routed through tubes which are themselves muffled by silencers.
  5. Other methods of noise reduction – placing the compressor inside a housing of some kind, or installing the compressor outside – often leads to further problems; namely, less frequent servicing and insufficient maintenance, e.g. draining, as the compressor is out of sight and forgotten, and needs replacing sooner as a result.
  7. 2. Variable speed air compressors

  8. Most air compressors work by pressurizing air to the maximum PSI the compressor is rated for, either as a single-stage, a two-stage system; or in the case of the rotary screw compressor typically used in larger installations, the pressurization process is maintained continuously, and continuously at maximum. If the machine is idling at any point during this process, or not being used in a way that requires maximum pressure constantly then it is inefficient, and with a variable speed compressor an operator would be able to reduce energy costs while maintaining the same level of output.
  10.  Mark says: “The Department of Energy will require a 157% reduction in energy footprint from manufacturers over the next ten years.”              
  12. A variable speed compressor, as the name suggests, works by increasing or decreasing the pressurization speed according to demand placed on the system at different times.


  1. 3. Interface features

  3. As previously mentioned in this article and previous articles, one of the main factors determining how regularly you'll need to replace your air compressor(s) is the question of how well it is maintained: how regularly it is serviced, how regularly it is drained etc. As returning customers will know, it can be difficult to determine the state of a compressor, especially if it is housed in a dampening system. With new interface features, there is an opportunity for more advanced diagnostics; the data from which can then be processed and analyzed by computers to allow for predictive maintenance. The operator is able to determine precisely when the compressor needs to be serviced without pulling the machine out of operation for regular inspections which saves time, energy, and output. A well-maintained compressor needs replacing less regularly, which reduces long run costs. And on top    of this, some compressors can be operated by Wi-Fi, responding to the operator's smartphone.                      


  1. 4. Expansion of composite body air tools 


  1. Mark says: “Metal is less expensive, but if the tool is being used continuously, it will cause capillaries to burst on the user's hands.”

Where previously, metal was the primary choice of material for air tools, composite alternatives are becoming more readily available. The composite material are less given to vibrations.





The information contained in this article is for informational, educational, and promotional purposes only and is based on information available as of the initial date of publication. It is the reader’s responsibility to ensure compliance with all applicable laws, rules, codes and regulations. If there is any question or doubt in regard to any element contained in this article, please consult a licensed professional.  Under no circumstances will Global Industrial® be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on this article.


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