compressed air compressor Tel: 01480 217904
Fax: 01480 217409

Unit 2 Steel Close
St Neots, PE19 8TT

Designing a compressed air system

Compressed air is distributed from the compressor to the various usage points around a worksite. This can be achieved in various ways in a compressed air system but it is important to consider individual requirements when designing a pipework installation. The following factors affect how a system should be designed.

- Number and location of air compressors
- Output of each air compressor
- Compressed air requirement at each usage point
- Location of the compressed air system outlets

Ideally a compressed air system should be designed as a ring main. The diagram below shows the difference between a single line system and a ringmain system. If compressed air is being used at point 1 (ref. P1) this could cause a starvation of compressed air at P2 & P3. The possible pressure drop is alleviated by the ringmain system because compressed air can flow to the usage point from both directions.

compressed air system pipework installation

Another consideration is whether a fixed system or a floating system is most suitable. A fixed system is clipped directly to the surrounding walls of a building. A floating system hangs on studded rod from the ceiling purlings. Fixed systems are normally easier and more cost effective to install due to the ease of access. With a floating system our engineers will often require access equipment such as a scissor lift.

Fixed sytem with drops along each wall

ring main installation for distribution of compressed air

Floating system with drops hanging from the overhead ringmain

floating compressed air ringmain system

Hose reel system with flexible recoil hoses

hose reel compressed air system

Determining Pipe Size

In all installations it is critical that pressure drop is kept to a minimum and this requires selecting the correct pipe size. Galvanised pipe is measured in inches ranging from 1/2" up to 6" as standard. Our aluminium pipe ranges from 20mm to 80mm. These measurements relate to the internal bore of the pipe.

Maximum possible flow rates can be calculated using the following formula.

Q = (P + 1) D2


Q = Maximum flow rate

D = Internal bore of pipe in mm

Q = Air flow rate L/s free air flow

P = Air pressure in bar

Compressor siting

The following factors should be considered when siting a compressor:

- Is there adequate ventilation, if not the compressor will overheat?

- Is the compressor secure and protected from the elements?

- Will noise from the compressor affect anyone?

- Is there enough space to move around and work on the compressor?

- Is there an isolator near by to wire the compressor into?

Every pipework installation we do is different and we tailor each design to suit the requirements of the customer. We provide a free design and quotation service based on drawings/specifications or a site visit where possible. Our advice is also free and if you wish to discuss anything with our team use the contact page or call 01480 217904.

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