Seals are small parts, but they're vitally important components of any air compressor. They also can be expensive to replace if they break -- even though they are small. If you run a manufacturing or industrial facility that uses air compressors and has hot areas, reduce downtime and maintenance costs that arise from broken air compressor seals by installing bronze seals rather than aluminum ones.
The Real Cost of Replacing Broken Air Compressor Seals
Seals are inexpensive, especially compared to larger and more complex parts used in manufacturing and industrial complexes. In many cases, seals are so cheap that it's not worth repairing the broken seal. Replacing it with a new seal is cheaper than welding the broken one back together or bending it back into shape.
Replacing seals in air compressors, however, isn't a cheap proposition. It takes time -- often lots of time -- because many other parts must be removed to get at a seal's location. During every moment spent disassembling an air compressor, replacing the broken seal and reassembling the machine, facilities incur three costs:
- the lost opportunity costs of ceased production
- the wages of workers replacing the broken seal
- the salaries of employees who aren't able to work while the air compressor is down
When these expenses are added up, the real cost of replacing a broken air compressor seal is much greater than just the price of the piece. In a bustling manufacturing or industrial facility, the true cost of replacing a broken seal can be hundreds of dollars per hour. Your facility's precise cost will depend on its typical production and employees' salaries. Whatever it is, though, it will be significant.
The Advantage of Aluminum Air Compressor Seals
Aluminum air compressor seals have one distinct advantage over bronze ones: aluminum seals are less expensive than bronze ones. At the time of writing, InfoMine listed the price of aluminum at $0.684 per pound. Copper, which is the primary metal used in bronze according to Metal Supermarkets, was selling for $2.11 per pound per InfoMine's data. Since copper cost so much more, seals made of bronze must be priced higher than aluminum ones.
The price difference between an aluminum and a copper seal, however, is insignificant to a manufacturing or industrial facility that only needs one or two air compressor seals. Air compressor seals are small, weighing only a fraction of a pound. The most your facility would save by opting for an aluminum seal instead of a bronze one would be a few cents.
The Advantage of Bronze Air Compressor Seals
Bronze air compressor seals have a significant advantage over aluminum ones: bronze seals can withstand much higher temperatures than aluminum, which melts at 1,220°F. Bronze alloys melt at slightly different temperatures because the ratios of metals that make up bronze differ from one alloy to the next. In general, though, bronze alloys have a melting point close to 1,800°F. In a manufacturing or industrial setting that sees high temperatures, having an additional 580°F before a seal's melting point could make a difference in how long it lasts.
By using bronze seals in your facility's air compressors, instead of aluminum ones, you'll be able to reduce how often they wear down or break from overheating. Investing in these seals may cost you a little more initially, but it will only be a little. That investment in a higher-quality seal will quickly pay off if the seal keeps your air compressor running longer than an aluminum one would. After all, the real cost of replacing an air compressor seal isn't the seal itself but other associated costs. For more information, consider contacting a professional like those at Compressor-Pump & Service, Inc.