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Choosing the Right Air Compressor for your Dental Office

04/01/2024

Choosing the Right Air Compressor for your Dental Office

 

Understanding Dental Air Compressors

The dental air compressor is a fundamental machine in any dental practice. Along with the dental vacuum system, the compressor forms the heart of your practice: unseen by patients, but essential for their care. A compressor creates high-quality, high-pressure air, which is delivered through dedicated lines to operatories, where it powers handpieces, milling machines, and other tools. Without the high-quality dry air provided by a good compressor, your dental handpieces and other equipment will not perform at their highest level, and patient care may be compromised.

As technology advances and choices continue to expand, selecting the correct dental air compressor has become increasingly important. If a new machine is improperly sized for a practice or does not have the features that align with optimal dental care, your practice may face costly equipment downtime.

In this article, we explore the key factors to consider when purchasing a new air compressor, including size, connectedness/interactivity, noise level, motor types, reliability, and types of drying systems. We also provide tips to maintain the longevity of your new equipment and to minimize downtime.

 

Factors Influencing Air Compressor Selection

 

Size of Your Dental Practice

Size is a fundamental consideration when selecting the correct dental air compressor for your practice. Larger practices with multiple operatories, a high number of users, and a variety of tools require higher capacity compressors, while smaller practices can opt for more compact units.

Along with the overall size of the practice, CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) ratings are an important factor when choosing a compressor. A CFM rating indicates the compressor's capacity to supply the required amount of air for various applications. This helps determine whether a compressor can meet the demands of specific tools or equipment in terms of air flow and pressure.

Ramvac compressors come in a range of model options to accommodate multiple practice sizes and CFM requirements. The chart below provides guidance for choosing a model based on the number of users. You can also contact your representative to explore the compressor size that is appropriate for your practice.

Dental Air Compressor Sizing Guide

Connectivity and Monitoring Features

When making an investment in a new dental air compressor for your practice, it is important to consider whether the system has an available smart monitoring system. Compressors without smart monitoring may lack advanced diagnostic features and will rely on staff members to manually inspect and track equipment performance. This can result in a reactive approach to maintenance and increase the risk of costly downtime. Smart systems allow for a proactive approach to maintenance, reducing the risk of downtime.

Ramvac compressors are equipped with Aeras Intel, a smart system that tracks the performance of the compressor, predicts potential problems, provides maintenance alerts, and allows for remote monitoring and power options right from your phone. The system provides a comprehensive and user-friendly dashboard that gives a birds-eye view of a practice’s entire back-office operation. Aeras allows for automated scheduling, where practices can set daily system activation and shut off parameters. The smart system also senses after-hours activity and maintains power until treatments are completed.

 

Drying Systems

Having a reliable supply of high-quality, dry air is crucial for any dental practice. Dry air prevents bacteria growth, promoting infection control. There are two main types of drying systems for dental air compressors: membrane and desiccant systems. Membrane systems use semi-permeable substances to allow water vapor passage, which offers only moderate drying capability. These systems can call for regular downtime to allow the system to purge excess moisture.

Ramvac compressors feature dual desiccant systems to absorb moisture, allowing for superior drying with lower dew points: these compressors run at a -40 degree dew point. The Ramvac desiccant system allows practices to run the compressor at 100% duty cycle, with no need for regular downtime. In these systems, air is filtered to 0.01 microns, trapping most airborne microbes.

 

Motor Types

When selecting a new compressor for your dental practice, the type of motor is another important consideration. Systems that use piston rings have the potential to generate increased heat, which in turn causes more wear, leading to a higher risk of failure.

Ramvac motors incorporate a rocking piston design which reduces heat and wear compared to piston rings, extending the life of the motor and reducing the risk of equipment downtime.

 

Noise Control

Dental air compressors generate sound as they produce the high-quality dry air needed to power operatory tools. All compressors require a mechanism to reduce the audible sound coming from the equipment. Many compressors come with a sound cover—usually a bulky hood or box—which takes up valuable space in the utility room and impedes maintenance access.

Ramvac compressors feature an integrated, internal Sound Shield that reduces noise in the clinic, without the need for a cumbersome sound cover. The Sound Shield produces a sound level that is as quiet as a conversation, while saving space in the utility room and enabling technician access.

Air Compressor Decibel Scale

 

Reliability and Warranty Terms

When purchasing a new dental air compressor, it is important to ask about warranty terms to safeguard comprehensive protection for your practice’s new investment. Key questions to ask include the duration of the warranty, the parts that are covered, and any conditions or limitations.

Ramvac compressors offer an industry-leading six year warranty.

Maintenance and Best Practices

Performing regular preventative maintenance for dental air compressors is crucial to maintaining their safety, performance, and longevity. It’s important to be proactive, finding and resolving potential equipment issues before they require a repair. Aeras Intel systems—included with all Ramvac compressors—proactively alert you and your dealer service technician to your compressor’s maintenance needs.

As with all dental equipment, be sure to follow all the maintenance guidelines in the user guide for your particular model.

In general, dental air compressors require regular inspection, testing, and parts replacement, as summarized in the table below. When you activate the Aeres Intel system in your Ramvac compressor, it will alert you to all these tasks, and others as needed.

Maintenance Task Timing
●      Test for air leaks First week, then annually
●      Replace the air filters

●      Replace the filter element

●      Inspect dryer

●      Test safety valve

●      Wipe it down

Annually or when the maintenance light comes on
●      Replace desiccant cartridges Every 5 years

 

To learn more, read our detailed guide on maintenance for dental vacuums and air compressors.

 

Integrating the Chosen Air Compressor

Once you have selected the dental air compressor that’s right for your practice, what’s next?

Your installer will follow your compressor’s Preinstall Guide to make sure that your unit is installed safely, following all local codes and laws.

With many compressors, detailed staff training on maintenance and operation is required after installation. If your practice chooses a Ramvac compressor, there’s no need for time-consuming training: Aeras Intel makes it easy to integrate the new compressor into utility room operations. Along with your service technician, one staff member in your practice will be the Aeras Intel point person, responding to maintenance alerts, setting the system’s power schedules, and managing the Aeras dashboard. Knowing all the features and benefits of Aeras will help your practice enjoy the full potential of your new investment.

As for any piece of equipment in your practice, always follow the instructions provided by the user manual for your specific compressor model. Keeping up with scheduled maintenance tasks and responding promptly to alerts are the best ways to maintain your new compressor and extend its lifespan.

Ready to learn more about choosing the best dental air compressor for your practice? Contact your local Ramvac dealer representative today.

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