Air compressors and pneumatic technology are the industry standard in the majority of heavy manufacturing and heavy transport applications for decades. The fact that compressed air is significantly more efficient and more powerful than many other electricity sources and creates less waste has made them extremely popular with big industrial operators.
As such the technology has always been improving for over a century now. Some of the simple air compressor technologies still in use today were originally developed around the beginning of the twentieth century, but there has been a continuous effort to enhance the technology; enhancing its efficiency, its cost, its portability, and its overall effectiveness.
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One of the important challenges for air compressor growth has been getting more pressure from the same general technology.
By way of instance, a standard rotary screw compressor or a fundamental piston compressor can only squeeze as much air in every one of its cycles, and while more compressed air can be piled on top of it at the storage tank; after the stored air reaches a certain level, the technology simply can't squeeze in any more.
Sometimes the answer was to alter the process in some respect, like the inclusion of oil in the air. While this does improve efficiency and fewer air leaks – enabling more to be piled to the tank – air/oil mixtures are inappropriate for many applications, like the generation of medical or breathable air.