What is a Screw Compressor?

Most refrigeration and air conditioning systems rely on refrigerant pumped from the evaporator unit to the condenser unit. In order to keep the refrigerant flowing, a compressor acts as the pump. However, compressors come in several designs and while some have pistons (like an internal combustion engine) you will also find screw compressors in many commercial applications like Copeland refrigeration compressors. But what is a screw compressor and what kind of benefits does it have to offer? Let’s take a closer look and see.

The Marvel of Rotary Engines

Have you ever seen a rotary engine? They first became popular in the 1970s when Mazda introduced them. These engines were lacking something almost all other auto engines had, pistons and components related to pistons. So what does this have to do with screw compressors? A screw or rotary compressor works on the same basic principle.

How Rotary Screw Compressors Work

When you think of a screw compressor, completely forget about piston driven compressors, because rotary compressors are nothing like their piston driven counterparts. There are no pistons, valves, crankshafts and related parts. Instead, the main components of rotary Copeland refrigeration compressors consists of two screw type mechanisms intertwining with each other as they rotate.

Have you ever seen a screw conveyor? It works by twisting and turning and moving material along the spiral mechanism. Now imagine two screw conveyors side by side inside of a sealed chamber. One end is the suction side and it pulls Freon gas into the mechanism (compressing it) and moves it along, until it is expelled out the exhaust end of the compressor.


Does this seem very simple and easy to understand? The truth is, the principle is actually quite simple and comes with a wide range of benefits. For example:

 * Simple maintenance – there are very few parts to be concerned with.

 * Less heat generation than reciprocating compressors – because friction is kept to a minimum, the unit stays cooler.

 * Minimal leakage – there is very little opportunity for oil leaks.

 * Less shock and vibration – the operation of a screw compressor is very smooth and steady and there is very little vibration. This makes for a quiet operation and if you have an environment where noise is an issue, this is a big selling point.

 * Long life – when you choose cooling units powered by rotary Copeland screw compressors you enjoy dependable service. These compressors are designed to run continuously 24 for hours a day for many years without any problems. This makes for greater efficiency and lower maintenance costs.

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