Product Report: Ingersoll-Rand AirSource compressors

While air compressors with a 185-cfm rating are by far the most popular with contractors, 90 percent of respondents to an Ingersoll-Rand survey said they don’t need that much air volume to do their work. So in May, when the company launched a redesigned 185-cfm, portable, rotary-screw air compressor, it also introduced a 160-cfm model.

“The 185 has been the benchmark of the portable compressor market for decades; making this product even better was a great challenge for us,” Marc James, product manager, single-axle compressors, says of the first complete redesign of the 185-cfm compressor since the 1970s.

James says the company wanted to find out how customers were using the compressors and what they wanted before its engineers put pencil to paper. Through research the company found the majority of its customers’ applications required 150 cfm or less. Most of the time contractors were using only one pavement breaker, for example, at a time, even though a 185-cfm compressor can power two 90-pound breakers.

Customer input also led to several new features for both the 160-cfm AirSource and 185-cfm AirSource Plus compared to the company’s former P185 model.

An aerodynamic design conserves fuel during towing, and the compressors’ canopy is made of thermoplastic polyolefin, a composite material the company says is virtually indestructible. It’s similar to the material used to make vehicle bumpers. The canopy of the previous model was made of sheet metal. “We’ve even taken a baseball bat to the new canopy with little or no damage at all.” James says. “I’d hate to see what a sheet metal canopy would look like after the same testing procedure.”

The canopy now has two opening positions – 45 degrees for everyday maintenance and tool storage, and 90 degrees to access all service points. Engineers removed the separator element from inside the separator tank so there’s no need to enter the tank during oil changes. James says you can easily change the remote, spin-off separator element in the AirSource models.
All service valves and the operator control panel are curbside, and the large pressure gauge is visible from a distance.

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With the introduction of the 160-cfm AirSource, Mike Saad, commercial marketing manager, says customers will benefit by having the opportunity to match the compressor to the application, as opposed to a one-size-fits-all approach. “We estimate one-fifth of customers will opt for the 160-cfm AirSource,” he says.