Air Compressor Rentals: Keep Operations Up & Running

By: Randy Finck, Compression Technologies & Services, Ingersoll Rand

At some point in time, most manufacturing facility managers will find themselves renting air compressor equipment to keep their operations running smoothly. In fact, according to a recent market research study released by Technavio, a global technology research and adviso­ry company, the global air compressor rental market is expected to generate approximately $4 billion by 2020. 

Compressed air is critical for most industrial pro­cesses, and temporary requirements for compressed air can come up at any time. When this need occurs, fast action and the highest levels of responsiveness and reliability are essential. Utilizing compressor rentals strategically and effectively require industrial facility and utilities operators to do their homework before the need arises. 

Compressor rentals allow manufacturing plants to access reliable, temporary compressed air to keep their production and critical processes continuously up and running. Additionally, by selecting the rental equipment producing the appropriate air quality, companies can avoid system and process contamina­tion and the resulting process waste and expensive clean-up of contaminated process equipment. In fact, the cost of running older air compressors or select­ing the wrong rental might be more expensive than renting newer and more appropriately equipped and performing compressors. 

Reasons why companies rent air compressors 

Unexpected equipment failure 
It is always wise to expect the unexpected. Emergencies inevitably happen, whether they come from a natural disaster, human error, or from equip­ment failure. Ensuring production lines are continu­ously running with clean and reliable compressed air is absolutely critical. Compressed air equipment breakdowns can have serious consequences, and minimizing the costs and delays caused by unsched­uled repairs is a priority. 

When an air compressor stops working, every minute production is down creates a loss of money and time, and increases stress and frustration. To reduce the risk of financial and productivity loss, a rental will maintain the air capacity needed to keep a process operational while issues with the current system are being addressed. 

Planned outages and maintenance 
When facility changes are underway, the last thing needed is for product quality and productivity to be at risk. During plant upgrades, renovations, or routine maintenance, temporary compressed air solutions facilitate continuous operations, keeping production running at peak efficiency. When planning for facility changes, air compressor rentals can sustain critical processes while new equipment and other changes are being adopted. 

Seasonal peak demand 
Seasonal events often necessitate additional compressed air capacity beyond a facility's existing capability. So, it is not uncommon for special product runs to place increased demands on resourc­es that exceed normal operations. To get jobs com­pleted efficiently, a company may need to temporarily increase its compressed air capabilities with additional equipment. When manufacturers experience high product volumes during seasonal periods, renting additional temporary air compressors can efficiently and cost-effectively fulfill seasonal high-volume orders. 

Existing compressor performance can also decrease with seasonal weather conditions. For example, air compressors may not be able to keep up during the summer's high-temperatures. Appropriately selected, performance-rated rental systems can answer the need.

Optimize productivity
Beyond emergency and seasonal conditions, renting com­pressor equipment offers operators secondary benefits, such as lower equipment maintenance costs, the ability to closely match air compressor performance to specific processing needs, and reduced capital investments. 

If the manufacturing plant has an older system, it is likely that production, and therefore, the system, needs have changed since the initial purchase of the air compressor. The system's performance may not meet the manufacturer's current production require­ment, which would result in the need to increase capacity, pressure or upgrade the air quality. If the existing air compressor's performance is not the best fit for the application, productivity will be lower than with a system that has the proper performance. A new system rental can provide greater capability to increase production over older equipment with constrained performance. 

Renting a newer system can deliver more com­pressed air to increase production. Increasing the quality of compressed air from a low pressure, or con­taminated air compressor, is a good business deci­sion, as higher quality and increased air pressure will increase product quality and reduce waste. 

Capital constraints 
Renting air compressors allows companies with restricted capital budgets to efficiently meet their financial needs while ensuring consistent manufac­turing productivity and uptime. For example, they may not have sufficient funds in their capital budget to purchase a new compressor after an unexpected equipment breakdown. The company can rent the equipment and pay for the rental out of its operating budget rather than the capital budget. 

Renting air compressors guarantees the use of equipment for specific periods of time and with a fixed cost. Additionally, manufacturing companies may benefit from maintenance support services that are automatically included with rental equipment. 

Availability is essential
When a compressed air system goes down, time is of the essence, and minimizing the time from phone call to delivery of temporary equipment is essential. Procuring temporary equipment quickly will reduce operational downtime and lost productivity. When there is a requirement for a temporary air compres­sor, having immediate access to the appropriate types and sizes of compressors is important. 

While there are many variables that can impact the delivery, it is good to take a proactive approach and locate a responsive provider that has units that are near­by and readily accessible. Ingersoll Rand has increased its fleet of compressed air rental equipment by 50 per­cent during the last two years, making a variety of com­pressors and dryers available for mid- and high-capacity manufacturing needs. A rental provider that offers a diverse range of air compressor equipment that can meet specific needs and has the necessary accessories will get operations up and running faster with less stress. 

Stay ahead of emergencies with a contingency plan 
There are many advantages to a comprehensive contingency plan, in case something unforeseen happens. An air compressor rental service may be able to help plan for future emergencies. Having a contingency plan can help: 

  • Reduce the risk of financial lost
  • Decrease time needed to install temporary equipment
  • Shorten delivery time by completing paperwork ahead of time 
  • Make employees aware of their roles 
  • Schedule building modifications for temporary solutions in advance 
  • Identify weaknesses in the compressed air system
  • Plan for scheduled maintenance and new equipment installation

Renting can be a cost-efficient approach to keep air-driven plant operations working efficiently. For companies with constrained budgets, or those that need temporary equipment that requires additional air supply beyond the facility's exist­ing compressed air capacity, renting can be a great option. Temporary compressed air systems facili­tate continuous operations for maintaining the air capacity needed to keep a process operational.

Source: ProcessingMagazine.com

"Renting air compressors allows companies with restricted capital budgets to efficiently meet their financial needs while ensuring consistent manufacturing productivity and uptime."