Diesel Air Compressors: How Does It Power Industry?

Diesel air compressors are very common in many countries and regions. They are mostly used in industrial applications such as mining, oil and gas.

So, what are its types? And how is it used in industry?
Let’s dive in:

What is the Diesel Air Compressor?

The diesel air compressor is a compressor which utilizes a diesel engine for power.

Operating on the mechanical concept of converting low-pressure air into high-pressure air through compression, it uses the energy provided by the diesel engine to drive the compression process. The compressed air can later be used by releasing the energy in a controlled manner, a practical mechanic widely used across numerous industries.

Diesel air compressors come in a variety of sizes and forms, with some even being truck or trailer-mounted for easy transport and application.

What Types of Diesel Air Compressors?

Diesel air compressors come in several configurations, each serving different needs and applications. They can broadly be categorized into two primary types, and further differentiated by their portability and capacity:

Piston Diesel Air Compressors

Piston or reciprocating compressors are traditionally used in a range of applications. They operate through a piston within a cylinder to compress the air.

While quieter, they generally offer lower air pressure and volume compared to rotary screw models. Piston compressors come in single-stage and two-stage models, with the latter providing higher pressure output by compressing the air in two steps.

Rotary Screw Diesel Air Compressors

These are becoming increasingly popular, especially when high volumes of compressed air are needed. They work by forcing air through two meshing helical screws, known as rotors.

Rotary screw compressors provide a continuous flow and are more suitable for applications that require a consistent air supply.

Beyond the types, diesel air compressors can vary in terms of mobility and capacity:

Portable Diesel Air Compressors

Compact and designed for ease of transport, these compressors are often used in construction and other industries where air power needs to be brought directly to work areas.

They are usually available in towable or truck-mounted versions.

Click here to check Airpressa portable diesel air compressors

Fixed Diesel Air Compressors

These models are larger and are typically stationary, designed for use in fixed locations, like workshops or factories.

Additionally, these compressors can be distinguished based on their cubic feet per minute (CFM) capacity, indicative of the volume of air the compressor can supply. Common models include 800, 900, 1500, and 2000 CFM models, offering solutions for diverse requirements.

Convert m3/min to cfm chart

Choosing the right type of diesel air compressor hinges on your specific needs, considering factors like the necessary air volume and pressure, portability needs, noise levels, and operational costs.

Core Components of Screw Diesel Air Compressor

The screw diesel air compressor’s essential components, combined with their working principles, contribute to a machine that delivers high-pressure air efficiently. The core components and their functions within the process are as follows:

Diesel Engine

The diesel engine is the powerhouse, converting the diesel fuel’s energy into mechanical motion. It drives the rotary screw component, which then performs the central task of air compression.

This is also the biggest difference from conventional electric screw compressors.

Air Intake Filter

This filter is designed to eliminate impurities in the ambient air entering the compressor, ensuring only clean air is compressed.

Rotary Screw (Air End)

The air end as the heart of the compressor, the rotary screws, composed of one male and one female rotor, are responsible for the air compression.

They rotate synchronously – the motion traps and compresses the incoming air between the screw threads and the compressor casing.

Oil Injection System

Oil is injected into the screw chamber to lubricate the screw threads, cool the compressed air, and create an air-tight seal between the threads and the casing. This system drastically reduces energy loss and helps with noise reduction.

Air and Oil Separator

After the compression stage, the compressed air-oil mixture is passed through a separator. This component segregates the oil from the air, recirculating the oil back into the system while directing the clean compressed air towards the storage tank.

Cooling System

Cooling mechanisms are employed to manage the heat produced during the compression process. These can involve oil coolers or air coolers, ensuring optimal compressor operation.

What Are the Applications of Diesel Air Compressors?

Diesel air compressors are a fundamental tool in an array of industries, thanks to their portability, robustness, and ability to supply high volumes of pressurized air.

Each sector exploits these assets for their specific needs, contributing considerably to efficiency enhancement. Here are some prominent examples:


Compressed air is used for operating various pneumatic construction tools, such as jackhammers, compactors, and nail guns. The diesel compressor’s portability is particularly beneficial in construction sites, where access to power might be restricted.


Mining often involves operations far from power grids and requires dependable, high-powered equipment. Diesel air compressors are used to power the heavy-duty machinery employed in mining operations, such as drilling rigs.


How Is the Air Compressor Used in the Mining Industry?

Diesel air compressors play a vital role in the mining industry, providing a reliable and efficient source of compressed air for various critical applications. From drilling and blasting to powering pneumatic tools and machinery, air compressors are indispensable in enhancing productivity and ensuring safety in mining operations.

Oil and Gas

In the oil and gas industry, diesel compressors are regularly used for tasks that need air under pressure. These include cleaning out wellbore holes, pneumatic drilling, and air-operated valves and pumps.

What Are The Benefits of Screw Portable Diesel Air Compressors?

Screw portable diesel air compressors bring a significant array of benefits, making them a preferred choice for many industries. Here are some of the key advantages:

High Power Output and Efficiency

As these compressors are equipped with robust diesel engines, they can deliver high power output. This results in efficient operation, significantly reducing energy waste.

Continuous Operation

Unlike some other types of compressors, screw compressors deliver a continuous flow of air. This results in smoother operation and facilitates applications that require a constant air supply.


Diesel-powered compressors are reliable and can operate effectively in various conditions. They are built to work for extended hours, making them ideal for heavy-duty applications.

Easy Maintenance

While regular maintenance is vital for all machinery, these compressors are designed to make the process straightforward. The components are typically easy to access, and basic maintenance tasks can often be performed without the need for specialized tools.


Screw diesel air compressors are designed to be portable. This makes it easy to transport them to different job sites, increasing versatility and convenience. Particularly for industries like construction, where mobility is a necessity, the portability of these compressors is of paramount importance.

How to Maintain Diesel Air Compressors?

The longevity and efficient performance of diesel air compressors greatly depend on regular and proper maintenance. Here are some steps you can take to maintain your diesel air compressor:

Regular Inspections

Regularly inspect the whole system for any signs of wear, leaks, or damage. Check hoses, connections, and seals to ensure they are tight and in good condition.


Regularly check and change the oil to keep the compressor’s moving parts well-lubricated. Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for the recommended oil type and change intervals.

Air Filter Maintenance

Clean or replace the air filter as per manufacturer’s suggestions. A clogged filter can decrease performance and cause strain on the compressor, shortening its lifespan.

Clean Fuel Tank

Regularly clean the fuel tank to prevent the buildup of residues which can negatively impact the functioning of the engine.

Coolant Level Check

Regularly inspect the coolant level, and refill it as required to prevent the engine and compressor from overheating.

Separator Element Monitoring

The separator element should be monitored and changed according to the manufacturer’s schedule.

Regular Diesel Engine Service

Regularly service the diesel engine, following the guidelines provided by the manufacturer. This includes checking the fuel injectors, diesel particulate filter, exhaust gas recirculation system, etc.

Prompt Repairs

If you notice a drop in performance or any other issues, get your compressor checked and repaired immediately to prevent further damage.

Remember, preventative maintenance is less costly than reactive maintenance. By taking steps to proactively care for your diesel air compressor, you can ensure it continues to work efficiently for years to come.


Air Compressor Spares: How Often Are Consumables Replaced?

Air compressor spares include more than dozens of parts. In this article, we mainly discuss consumables that need to be replaced regularly, including the following:

Compressor Air Filter
Air Compressor Oil Filter
Oil Separator Element
Air Compressor Lubricating Oil

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