Inappropriate Uses of Compressed Air

Why Compressed Air?

Compressed air is generally one of the most expensive forms of energy in a plant, however it is also clean, available and easy to use.  This is why many people opt to use compressed air even though there are more economical energy sources and technologies available to them.

Common Inappropriate Uses


  • Using  compressed air vortex tubes instead of air conditioning/fans to cool electrical cabinets
  • Using compressed air instead of blowers to provide cooling, aspirating, agitating, mixing, or to inflate packaging
  • Using compressed air instead of  brushes, blowers, or vacuum systems to clean parts or remove debris
  • Using compressed air instead of blowers, electric actuators or hydraulic blasts to move parts
  • Using compressed air instead of low pressure air for blow guns, air lances and agitation
  • Using compressed air for tools and actuators instead of efficient electric motors (although electric tools can have less precise torque control, shorter lives and lack of safety of compressed air power tools.)

When to use Compressed Air

Overall, compressed air should only be used if the following benefits are arrived:

  • Safety enhancements
  • Productivity Gains
  • Labour reductions


Compressed Air Systems Challenge, Inappropriate uses of Compressed air, Office of Industrial Technologies.

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