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Chicago Pneumatic delivers screw compressors in both variable speed and fixed speed variants. Our products range in size from 3.5 - 400 HP (2.6-298 kW). Our smaller models up to 30 HP (22 kW) are offered in both base mounted and tank mounted options, and are also offered with and without an integrated dryer.
So what is the difference between variable speed and fixed speed screw compressors?
Speed control of a compressor is regulated by variable speed drive, often known as VSD. This option uses the variable-speed drive technology to controls the speed of the compressor in a correspondent fashion, demanding from the compressor only what is needed.
One large benefit to a speed-controlled compressor is reducing power cost, minimizing power surges and delivering a more constant pressure needed for the job at hand. When there is minimal demand, the drive runs slower using less electricity. The higher the demand, the VSD runs wide open and can operate anywhere in between depending on the system demand for air.
A non-VSD compressor, known as a fixed speed air compressor, is either off or on. If it is on, it runs full demand regardless of the need. Typically, a fifth of a factory's electricity bill is credited to the production of compressed air. The VSD compressor may be a bit more expensive, but uses less energy. A fixed speed compressor is less expensive in comparison, but uses more electricity. A professional air audit is the best way to evaluate which compressor is right for you. Please contact your local distributor for additional information or to set up a time to discuss your options.