Compressor rental: 7 myths and facts

A flexible approach to air requires fresh thinking.

By Ryan Cook, Ingersoll Rand Compression Technologies and Services October 23, 2018

Frequency of maintenance equipment is one common myth about the rental compressor market. Courtesy: Ingersoll Rand Compression Technologies and ServicesThere are many misconceptions about compressed air rental. Here are a few commonly-held misconceptions and some new thoughts on each topic:

1. MYTH: Air compressor rental is only for emergencies.

FACT: Compressor rental should be planned.

While compressed air rental services can be a savior during emergencies, they are also helpful during planned maintenance or downtime. For instance, if the facility team knows that every year, at a certain time, a compressor must undergo planned service, it can incorporate air rental into its production process to prevent a decrease or halt in production. During plant upgrades or renovations, short-term compressed air rental solutions allow for continuous operations, keeping production running efficiently.

2. MYTH: Only certain industries need compressed air rental services.

FACT: All industries that use compressed air can benefit from rental services.

If production requires an air compressor, it will need to undergo planned or unplanned maintenance at some point. During compressor repair or maintenance, the implementation of a rental service can ensure that the temporary loss of a compressor does not diminish the production output.

3. MYTH: You can only rent compressors. 

FACT: Along with air compressors, you can also rent the associated components as part of the service.

In ideal situations, the service provider offers a full rental fleet that includes compressors, dryers, and other air treatment components to ensure proper capacity and air quality based on the facility’s needs. All of these items are critical to a good compressed air rental service.

4. MYTH: Summer is the only time compressed air rental is necessary.

FACT: Increased production needs can happen at any time.

Just as seasonal events may require additional compressed air capacity to keep up with output demands, there are times when compressed air is needed unexpectedly. To complete jobs efficiently during unexpected downtime, a facility can implement additional rental equipment to maintain production levels. This implementation can eliminate manufacturing interruptions and help facilities meet business goals.

5. MYTH: Nothing can be done to prevent unexpected downtime; it’s inevitable.

FACT: Proper maintenance can reduce the likelihood of unplanned downtime.

Air compressor maintenance should follow a regimented schedule. This means maintenance should take place during the recommended time highlighted in the manual and should not be put off until the last minute or conducted only when something breaks. Regular maintenance such as changing the oil/lubricant at the recommended periods helps compressors run better so they are not overworking and running the risk of a breakdown.

6. MYTH: Compressed air rental makes the most sense for facilities that deal with a lot of production or product issues.

FACT: All facilities experience these issues and can benefit from air rental.

At some point, a compressor at any facility will require some repair. Air rental service can help keep production running seamlessly. Additionally, renting air compressors allows companies with smaller budgets meet their financial needs, while ensuring consistent manufacturing productivity and uptime. If a facility does not have the budget to purchase a compressor, they can rent the equipment over a long term to maintain efficient production and stay within their financial budget.

7. MYTH: Contingency planning isn’t necessary when it comes to compressed air rental because it doesn’t change anything.

FACT: A contingency plan can change the outcome during an emergency.

Having a contingency plan in place can significantly impact a facility’s response to unexpected downtime and get production up and running faster. Every manufacturer is encouraged to have a contingency plan to prepare for unexpected and even planned downtime. Having the contingency plan for the deployment of short-term rental equipment helps get that equipment in place faster and more efficiently because all the decision making has already taken place.

Manufacturers can coordinate with a service partner to create customized contingency plans based on specific needs that offer the following benefits:

  • Significantly decreases time needed to install temporary equipment
  • Schedules building modifications for temporary solutions in advance
  • Identifies any existing weaknesses in the compressed air system
  • Provides flexibility to schedule maintenance and new equipment installation
  • Reduces the risk of financial loss.

Ryan Cook is portfolio manager for the global aftermarket business at Ingersoll Rand Compression Technologies and Services.