Choosing the Best Technology for Your Medical Facility

An extensive needs analysis is key to ensuring the ideal technology for any optimised medical grade compressed air system. The design of a compressed air system for medical use must be geared to meet the need every time.

Even in the medical sector, a compressed air system has to be cost-effective, including ensuring low installation and running costs. Highly efficient energy-saving technologies combined with control, monitoring and display concepts ensure seamless interaction between all system components.

Medical Compressor Uses

Compressed air is used for assisted breathing, in medical devices, physical therapy, laboratory use and to power air tools. Medical compressors are an absolute necessity to the medical industry. Clean safe air needs to be delivered to the patients quickly on demand.

When determining the best technology to choose for your specific healthcare facility application there are a set of questions that should be answered. These questions are not all encompassing but they will help guide you down the path of choosing the correct technology best suited for the client.

  • What’s the demand profile look like;
    • Constant
    • High/low peaks
  • What’s the budget criteria, are they willing to invest upfront?
  • How will maintenance be practiced, internally or outside service provider?
  • Are there any plans for future expansion?
  • Are energy savings and consumption considerations in affect?
  • What about the sustainability of the facility?

Coupled with ever-changing Health and Safety regulations and legislation, The Medical industry can rely on specially designed Pattons compressed air equipment to provide the perfect solutions for your compressed air demands.

Let’s start by reviewing the Pro’s and Cons of the different types of technologies available for the medical air systems.

Reciprocating Compressor

A Reciprocating compressor has a long life airend. They are robust having around 30K to 50K hours of life. They are cost effective per HP. They are flexible and allow for intermittent cycles.

However they require a large footprint and have a noise level that may reach upto 84db. They require quarterly maintenance of their belts and pistons which once worn out will result in temporary shutdown or malfunction.

A Reciprocating Compressor is used wherein interruption in operation does not harm the patient directly.They can be ranked as Category 3 Care Devices.

Rotary Scroll Compressor

Rotary Scroll Compressors are equipped with inter meshing spiral scrolls and after coolers that make them perfect for continuous medical application with minimum noise levels. An enclosed scroll system offers the advantage of reduced noise levels also it permits ducting in cooling air and exhaust the hot air. These compressors are compact demanding lower footprint requirements. They are low maintenance. However, it should be remembered that these compressors need annual maintenance. They have a lower air end life when compared to the reciprocating compressors and lower SCFM per output. In short, they have a lower operating costs and extended service intervals.

An oil less scroll compressor do not generate excess heat and they offer reliability even after completing their full duty cycle.

Rotary Screw Compressors

Oil-free rotary screw compressors are robust having a long life airend. The rate of SCFM output per HP is higher. They operate in minimum noise levels. They are best suited for applications that require a higher SCFM output that is greater than 300.

However rotary screw compressors occupy large footprint. They are costlier when compared to the scroll compressors. Specialist maintenance personnel is required and the cost per maintenance interval is also higher.

The following chart shows the variable costs per SCFM, Life Span, Noise dB, Energy Consumption.

Technology Cost
Life Span
Noise Maintenance Cost Energy Consumption (CFM/HP) Additional Considerations
Reciprocating 798.5 20,000+ 84 dB High 3.5 What is facility capabilities
Scroll 729.2 10-20,000 73dB Low 3.2 What is facility capabilities
Screw 789.1 30,000 69dB Medium 4.2 Environmental Considerations

Choose the Correct Air Compressor Today

In conclusion each healthcare application may have its intricacies based on the space available or location elevation for the medical gas systems. Whether you’re designing a new facility or renovating an existing building you’ll find the basic questions will be beneficial to your technology selection.

Pattons Medical has a team of medical gas consultants and engineers who are experienced in the technology selection. Please give us a call early in your project and we would be happy to guide you in the medical gas design.