Air Compressors for the Electronics Industry
When compressed air is so common in industrial settings, it’s hard to imagine it featuring in electronics manufacturing, where we envisage gleaming, high-tech facilities staffed by gowned and masked technicians, and robotic machines. But it’s the humble air compressor that makes it all possible. Behind even the most sophisticated electronics and semiconductor manufacturers, compressed air will play a key role.
There are three core reasons why compressed air is so important, and shared with other sectors.
First, compressed air is incredibly versatile. Depending on installation and user needs, it can fulfil a variety of functions. We have seen the same air compressor installed by two different clients, and both used in unique ways.
Second, compressed air is very efficient. Air compressors have a high energy conversion efficiency: there isn’t much energy lost to heat, noise, or vibration, but instead it’s transferred into the compressed air. And from that, directly into the task it fulfils.
Third, compressed air is incredibly cost-efficient. A combination of its versatility and efficiency. Your compressed air system can perform several tasks, minimising the systems you must maintain, and reducing the complexity of your processes.
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Getting oil-free compressed air
Most air compressors will use oil as lubrication. By reducing friction, it can improve the efficiency of the compressor as well as reduce the wear and tear that can cause problems and shorten it’s service life.
Inevitably, oil gets into the compressed air. However, with filtration, you can still achieve an incredibly high purity of air. Oil-injection air compressors can be rated to ISO class 1, which means that the air contains less than 0.01 mg/m³ oil.
But if you need to guarantee certified oil-free air, or class 0, then you can opt for an oil-free compressor. As there is no oil in the compressor, oil contamination is simply impossible.
Combined with filtration and air drying to remove other potential pollutants in the air, this means that the compressed air or nitrogen is incredibly pure. This makes oil-free air compressors ideal when working with electronics, where even the smallest contaminants can affect sensitive electronic components manufactured to a minuscule scale.
Using air compressors in semiconductor and electronics production
The cleanliness standards in electronics manufacturing can be many times higher than in an operating theatre. Despite their sophistication, intricate semiconductors integrated circuits can be surprisingly delicate, and even a single mote of dust in the wrong place during production can result in the failure of electronic devices.
Compressed air plays a critical part in maintaining a cleanroom environment. From removing contaminants as part of an entry protocol, to serving as a contactless tool to move components, or even using the highly filtered pressurised air to regulate temperatures inside.
Customised compression for the electronics industry
We have seen air compressors deployed to power almost any task imaginable. Our design team can create a custom installation that meets your requirements.
Common uses of compressed air can be as straightforward as powering a conveyor and a picking and packing process after manufacture, something that even at that stage requires a delicate touch. However, we can also make an installation that helps you to automate more complex tasks. This might include automated parts of the production process, cleaning of electronic components used during manufacturing, and even testing.
It’s important to design systems for the use you need. You might want class 0 compressed air in a cleanroom, but can use a much lower standard to drive the conveyor belt in your final packing process. An Anglian Compressors’ custom design means you have a system that is perfect for your manufacturing process, and it means you never have to pay more for a higher specification of air than the task demands.
Generating nitrogen on-site
Nitrogen generation is a popular use of air compressors in many industrial sectors. Nitrogen constitutes about 80% of the air we breathe (and compress), and as well as being harmless to humans, it is unreactive. This makes it useful for electronics manufacturing since the lack of oxygen also prevents oxidisation during soldering processes.
But on-site nitrogen generators are not just about convenience, it is cheaper than relying on bottled supplies. Not only do you avoid having to pay for costly deliveries because you control the generation, but you also get exactly the specification and volume of gas that you need.
And it’s safer, too, as you no longer have to manage, store, and move heavy compressed gas cylinders. Plus, it’s all done without any harmful by-products, the ‘waste’ from generation is ordinary water and oxygen.
A crucial part of electronics manufacturing
Compressed air has been used in manufacturing and industry for over a hundred years — even longer if you include the bellows used in forges — and it might feel out of place in high-tech sectors like electronics.
However, it is becoming more, not less, essential as technology advances.
The need to ensure that semiconductors are manufactured without the slightest bit of contamination, or that printed circuit board solders are effective, or that components are placed accurately, and with the correct level of force, means that high-quality, calibrated equipment is essential. And compressed air can power all those uses and more.
But when your processes rely on this, you need to be able to rely on your air compressor.
Anglian Compressors has been installing and servicing air compressors for electronic manufacturing for decades. Our team can design and install a system using one of Atlas-Copco’s award-winning range of compressors that will meet your needs exactly. And if you already have a compressor, our engineers can service any model of air compressor.
Our service plans range from call-out options to full servicing and maintenance programmes. We audit and test equipment at every visit, so you can be sure that your compressor is working exactly as you need, and that the air or gas you rely on meets the standards you require, however demanding they might be.
Just get in touch with our team and find out how Anglian Compressors can help you with your compressed air needs, both now and in the future.