Compressed air: flexible, safe, efficient

This 7-kW air compressor with dryer from Atlas Copco is among a range of solutions that are ideal for workshops, body shops and light industrial users.


The development of electric power tools, such as saws and drills, has gone hand in hand with the advancement of wood product manufacturing. These tools have made many everyday carpentry tasks much simpler.

Among these traditional equipment are lathes, chisels, and saws which are essential for shaping and crafting timber. However, efficiency in woodworking has been enhanced with the use of pneumatic tools and the best air compressor for woodworking.

Compressed air is utilised in a variety of tasks in the woodworking process, including nailing or framing wood, finishing and sanding, blowing away excess sawdust, and even starting the painting process.

Both, large carpenter’s workshops and smaller businesses, utilise compressed air throughout the entire woodworking process, including cutting, drying and finishing activities such as sand-blasting, grinding, painting, sawdust removal, and operating pneumatic tools or large machinery.

Energy savings

Due to the significant electrical consumption associated with using compressed air on a large scale, it is crucial for the woodworking industry to rely on compressors that can ensure maximum energy savings.

Furthermore, the most significant challenge faced by the woodworking industry is air contamination caused by dust and wood residues. This is particularly critical for processes such as painting, which require extremely clean air.

Furniture industry compressors compress the air they draw in from the environment, so they must have a high-performance filtering system to prevent damage to the machine’s operation and the finished product.

There are many applications of compressed air for the woodworking industry, so it is important to choose the right woodworking air compressor. Consider the factors below to ensure you choose the right equipment:

Air pressure

Air pressure is measured in pounds per square inch (PSI) and refers to the amount of compressed air that the compressor can produce. While most tools run at a maximum of 90 PSI, it is wise to choose a compressor that can produce more than that, as the air pressure will drop as it is being used.

A general guideline is to select a compressor with at least 35% more PSI than what is required for the tool, which amounts to around 120 PSI. This ensures that the pressure remains consistent throughout the operation of the tool(s).

Air flow

The output of a compressor can also be measured by the volume of air it produces per minute, known as cubic feet per minute (CFM). It is important to have a sufficient volume of air for tools to operate at peak efficiency; insufficient air can lead to poor tool performance.

Moreover, when high-demand tools are operated with a compressor having a low CFM rating, the compressor may need to run more frequently, resulting in faster wear and shorter pump life.

Therefore, selecting a compressor with an appropriate CFM rating is crucial for maintaining optimal tool performance and compressor longevity.

Storage capacity

Along with PSI and CFM, the size of the buffer tank/ air receiver is also an important consideration when selecting a compressor. The tank size determines the amount of compressed air that can be stored in it.

A larger tank means more compressed air is available for the tool(s) to use. A smaller tank would require the compressor motor to work harder to meet the compressed air demand.

With a larger tank, the motor will not have to run as frequently. Herein, optimal size of the air receiver is to be chosen to meet the application demand and to run the compressor efficiently.

Noise levels

Noise levels of compressors vary based on the technology used for compression. Reciprocating/piston compressors are generally louder than  rotary screw compressors.

Atlas Copco has been providing the woodworking industry with dependable woodworking air compressors for many years, tailored to the requirements and conditions of sawmills, wood shops and furniture makers.

As a provider of solutions, Atlas Copco has developed various air compressors with the unique difficulties faced in wood processing and manufacturing facilities in mind. For more information, write to

 – The writer is Business Marketing Manager (Industrial Air Division: Compressor Technique) at Pune-based Atlas Copco India Ltd.




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