PD Blowers and Vacuum Pumps: Why Replace the Whole Package?

Keeping positive displacement blowers and vacuum pumps well maintained by performing small repairs can extend the life of both pieces of equipment. But as they age and corrosion occurs from moisture inside the inlet and discharge silencers, both will eventually need to be replaced. When the time comes to replace a bare blower or vacuum pump, it’s smart to consider replacing the whole package.

Advantages to Replacing the Whole Package:

  • Energy efficiency: New packages are considerably more energy efficient and could help provide long-term cost savings for your operation.
  • Reduced noise: New packages are often quieter and can reduce pulsation issues.
  • Space savings: New smaller packages can accommodate sizing requirements that have changed since the original package was installed. They’re also easier to access for repairs.

As you evaluate your positive displacement blower and vacuum pump package needs, there are a few questions you should consider to make sure the replacement process goes smoothly.

Does the blower motor need to be replaced?

If your PD blower is showing signs of wear, how much longer do you really expect the drive motor to last? Replacing the motor before there is a serious issue can help avoid a costly breakdown.

What type of blower do you need?

New tri-lobe or helical screw blowers are more efficient than a bi-lobe blower. Upgrading your blower style can also reduce pulsation and noise.

Would you like new controllers or VFDs?

New packages can be fitted with all sorts of controllers, monitors and variable frequency drives.

Could you benefit from a new cabinet enclosure?

Upgrading or adding a cabinet enclosure could help reduce noise.

Is it time for new gauges and/or monitoring?

New packages offer intelligent monitoring solutions that can help you keep track of how your equipment is performing at all times.

Lewis Systems sells and services major PD blower and vacuum pump brands such as Gardner Denver, Powerex and Travaini. Our factory trained and certified technicians can work with you to determine the extent of your repair or replacement needs. Contact us at 800.222.4553 if you have questions or would like to discuss your equipment options. 

Air Compressor Troubleshooting Guide

air compressor troubleshooting guide to help with compressor repairs

When an air compressor goes down, productivity can immediately slow or stop. Fortunately, there are some things you can check yourself to see if you’re facing a major compressor issue or something that can quickly be resolved. 

My compressor won’t start.

You’re pressing the button but nothing’s happening. You may be experiencing an electrical issue or your compressor’s safety device may have been tripped. Check the:

  • System display for errors
  • Power supply and fuses
  • Wiring system for wrong lead connections
  • Temperature shutdown switch
  • Motor starter overload heaters
  • Oil level

My compressor starts, but it won’t stay on.

If your compressor will only run for a short time, it’s possible that the unit is overheating. Check the:

  • Discharge temperature switch setting
  • Oil level, oil cooler and oil filter
  • Thermostatic mixing valve (rotary screw compressors)
  • Temperature shutdown switch
  • Motor starter overload heaters
  • Room ventilation and ambient air temperatures

My compressor is very noisy.

A compressor that is making loud noises likely has a part that is loose, damaged or worn out. Check for:

My compressor is using too much oil. 

If your compressor is using an excessive amount of oil, you probably have a leak. Check for:

My compressor isn’t delivering enough pressure.

You need a certain amount of pressure to run a tool or complete a task and the compressor can’t seem to keep up. First look to see if there’s an air leak in the hose or piping, then: 

  • Make sure the inlet valve is not restricted or broken
  • Check for air leaks downstream
  • Check for improperly adjusted controls
  • Clean or replace the air filter
  • Tighten belts if applicable

It’s important to follow basic safety procedures when troubleshooting. Always open the main disconnect switch and remove all power from the unit before trying to determine the issue. Follow “Lock Out” or “Tag Out” procedures. Also, remember to relieve the system pressure before removing parts or breaking any lines. If you are experiencing a serious compressor issue or can’t determine why your compressor isn’t working, contact Lewis Systems at 800.222.4553. Our dedicated service team can troubleshoot your air compressor and help you determine next steps.

Rotary Screw vs. Reciprocating Air Compressors

rotary screw compressor or reciprocating air compressor

When deciding on the right air compressor for your business, it’s important to distinguish between the two main types available: the rotary screw compressor and the reciprocating/piston compressor. The first notable difference is in their operation. Rotary compressors have two screws that turn in opposite directions, trapping the air between them causing compression. Reciprocating compressors use pistons that move up and down to compress the air inside the cylinder. Although most companies have relied on the uses of reciprocating air compressors and the traditional piston model, comparing the maintenance costs, required application and individual features of both types can help you determine what’s best to help your productivity and bottom line.

Compressor Maintenance

One of the advantages of the rotary screw compressor over the reciprocating compressor is the reduced maintenance requirements and costs. Rotary compressors generally require simple filter and lubricant upkeep. Reciprocating air compressors have multiple parts that require frequent checks such as valves and piston rings. As these parts wear over time, the compressors generate more heat and without a consistently high level of maintenance, can gradually lose performance value.

Compressed Air Applications

When comparing compressor types, it’s important to consider what you will be using it for. A clear advantage of reciprocating air compressors over rotary screw compressors is their ability to work at higher levels. They perform better for jobs requiring pressures above 150 psi. Because of this flexibility of use in demanding applications, they are used in a variety of industries. Additionally, they can be base mounted or mounted directly onto tanks.

Rotary Screw Air Compressors are best suited to run at pressures under 150 psi. This makes them ideal for standard plant industry applications. They are dependable and have long lifecycles, making them a more cost effective option for many medical and industrial facilities. And like reciprocating compressors, they can run on either gas or electricity.


In addition to the varying maintenance costs and distinctive differences of functional application, there are additional features of each compressor type to consider.

Rotary screw compressor features:

 Optional designs and enclosures to reduce noise levels
 More energy efficient
 Generates less heat
 Functional in extreme temperatures
 Safe and relatively small in size
 Continuous operation with no pistons to rest for cooling

Reciprocating compressor features:

 Produces both high power and high pressure
 No oil carryover
 Greater compression range
 Better for intermittent operation
 Most commonly used compressor
 Lower initial set-up cost

There are a lot of complex factors that go into choosing the right compressor for your application. To learn more about which type of air compressor is best for your business, contact a specialist at Lewis Systems. We stay aware of the latest technological advancements and seek out the most energy efficient and economically viable solutions for our customers. We also service a wide variety of compressed air systems and equipment from reliable companies such as Gardner Denver, Kobelco and Becker. Contact us today for more information.

For more updates on the latest air compressor tips and trends, follow us on LinkedIn.

A Preventive Guide to Keeping Your Air Compressor Contaminant-Free

Compressed air purification equipment is essential to modern production facilities. When selecting the right purification equipment, it’s crucial to consider the required air quality levels, overall cost and how to establish a comprehensive plan to keep your air compressor clean and well-maintained.

Although the quality of air required for your compressed air system will vary depending on what you’re using it for, there are a few main contaminants that need to be considered no matter what its function. Taking preventive action will help your air compressor run more efficiently, promote long-term dependability and reduce the need for costly repairs.

What Contaminants Are Most Concerning?

  • Water. Of all the contaminates that can create issues with an air compressor system, moisture is the number one problem. Condensed water and water aerosols cause corrosion to the storage and distribution systems, reducing performance efficiency and increasing your maintenance costs.
  • Particulates. This is a combination of rust, pipe scale, atmospheric dust and microorganisms. Despite filtration, many of these tiny particles get through, damaging equipment and diminishing the life of the air compressor system and its components.
  • Oil. Many air compressor systems use oil for lubrication, sealing or cooling. Contamination occurs when the oil is drawn into the system as vapor, aerosol or liquid. Once inside, the oil mixes with the water and becomes acidic. This can lead to rust, which damages both the air compressor system and the product itself.

How Can I Limit the Effects of Contamination?

Once you’re aware of the main factors of contamination, air compressor preventive maintenance and cleaning is your best defense for consistent and cost-effective productivity.

  • Location. Installing your compressor in the right location makes everything else easier. Your system should be installed in a clean, well-lit and ventilated area with ample space all around for ease of maintenance. Select a location that provides a cool, clean, dry source of air. In some cases, it may be necessary to install the air filter at some distance from the compressor to obtain proper air supply.
  • Temperature. Overheating will shorten the life of compressor lubricant and cause premature wear and tear. Weekly checks of the coolers are important to prevent future issues. Check for dirt accumulation on the oil or aftercooler core faces and cooling fans. If cleaning is required, clean the exterior fin surfaces of the cores by blowing compressed air carrying a nonflammable safety solvent in the direction opposite to the cooling fan air flow. This will keep the exterior cooling surfaces clean and ensure effective heat dissipation to help avoid the warm conditions that allow microorganisms to thrive.
  • Filter. Spending extra time and money on an advanced filtration system will likely result in financial savings in the long run. The inlet air filter element is your first line of defense in keeping your oil, oil filter and air/oil separator clean and performing properly. Maintain a regular schedule of checking and replacing your inlet air filters. Dirty or clogged air filters reduce your compressor’s efficiency and over time, they can tear, letting contaminates such as larger particulates into your compressor. Newer compressors can help you with preventive maintenance by monitoring inlet air filters and will advise you when a filter requires servicing. Another helpful option is to choose an oil-free air compressor, which not only eliminates the possibility of oil contaminates altogether, but is also better for the environment and helps reduce energy costs.
  • Oil. If your compressor is oil lubricated, nothing will shut your system down faster than running low on oil or exceeding your lubricant’s life. Having a regular oil analysis program in place and checking oil levels daily ensures that your compressor is maximizing its efficiency. And always remember to never mix lubricants in your system.

Lewis Systems would be happy to review your compressed air needs. Whether you have an oil-free, rotary screw or reciprocating air compressor that needs cleaning, regular maintenance or repair, contact us today for the finest factory trained and certified technicians and 24/7 service. Our four convenient locations are ready to serve you. For more updates on the latest air compressor tips and trends, follow us on LinkedIn.

Proper Maintenance of Gas Detection Equipment

No matter the size of your gas system, failsafe operations are always a top priority. Checking and maintaining your hazardous gas monitoring equipment on a regular basis is essential for the safety of employees and for optimum equipment performance. A sensor that has not been properly maintained could lead to false atmospheric readings, which can jeopardize your staff and your investment. With new regulatory standards evolving all the time, how do you know you’re getting the most accurate readings? The answer isn’t just performing periodic bump tests. Only through routine calibrations and careful record keeping can you be sure to maintain the highest standards of safety for your business.

Bump Tests vs Calibration

A simple bump test, or function check, can be performed frequently to verify that the gas detector sensor and alarms are working. A bump test involves briefly exposing the sensors to a higher concentration of gas than normal in order to set off the alarms. This is quick and easy, but bump tests alone aren’t enough to ensure the safety of your facility and staff, as they only check for functionality. Although they can detect the presence of gas in the air, it’s important to remember that they don’t check for instrumentation accuracy or make adjustments to the sensor itself. That’s where the importance of consistent calibration maintenance comes into play.

Regular calibration is crucial to maintaining the overall working condition of the gas monitor. How often you need to calibrate depends on many factors, including the type of equipment, operating conditions, environmental factors, instrument use patterns, sensor replacements and many other variables. Over time, the sensors become less accurate at reading the level of gas. This is known as calibration drift, and occurs with all gas detection systems, no matter how new or well-maintained they are. The best way to guarantee consistent safety is to have a bump check and calibration routine in place in your company’s policy standards. This will ensure you can rely on your detector to alert you in the event of toxic leaks or exposure.

Know Your Records

Keeping accurate and updated records of sensor replacements, equipment updates, bump test results and calibration dates is the best way to predict costs and maintain safety standards. Know the typical lifespan of the sensors in your monitor and note these dates so you can plan ahead. This record will also help your bottom line by allowing you to identify any parts of your equipment that have a history of excessive maintenance costs or often make inaccurate readings. Included with these documents should be the user manuals for all parts and equipment. This will help support a regular maintenance schedule, since equipment manufacturers often include information about the recommended calibration frequency, the parts needed for calibrating your equipment and the calibration procedures. To complete your records, online resources are often available, such as ENMET’s Equipment Video Page or the ENMET YouTube channel, which provides the specific calibration instructions for their gas detection equipment.

Lewis Systems is an authorized distributor for ENMET and can help your company with the right combination of new or replacement gas detection parts and calibration services to ensure your company stays protected. To find out more about the importance of gas detection equipment maintenance, or to get a recommendation for how often to calibrate and check your equipment, contact us online or call 888.382.8077.