Air motors: 6 steps on the road to success

Air Motors are Safe, reliable, flexible, and low-cost, but many different models and versions exist. It can be difficult to choose the right air motor for your specific needs. To help you along the way, here are six tips to make it easier for you to find the air motor that you will simply never regret.

The pneumatic or air motor has been around for over two centuries and there are a wide range of models and different technologies to choose from. So many that even the most experienced engineers and decision makers sometimes might need a little friendly advice. So, from safety, input, output and air quality to exhaust purity, weight and size, here are a few pointers we would like to share with you when you are looking to invest in your next air motor. 


1. Look for product safety features 

Safety is a must priority for any facility or project with motors. It is therefore highly recommended that you use a SAT or “Safety Air Treatment” box. This is a safety device that provides several safety features of which one is an automatic motor shot-off that eliminates any leftover pneumatic energy. Another safety advice is to regularly inspect the supply line and connections. A compressed air line not properly linked to the motor can detach making it uncontrollable and dangerous. 


2. Check for the necessary pressure in the network 

An air motor converts pneumatic power into mechanical power and with that, it is important to ensure that you have enough power at the input to ensure that the motor can operate at full capacity. Before investing in an air motor, confirm that the compressor can sustain enough air pressure and air volume to power the motor. The motor can still operate even without adequate pressure and volume, but the performance will be reduced. 


3. Check the required output 

Perhaps a bit obvious, but it always pays off to check that the air motor of interest can provide enough output for your needs. The output of an air motor depends on several factors: 

  • Maximum output (HP/kW) 
  • Free speed 
  • Maximum speed under load 
  • Minimum starting torque 
  • Maximum torque under load 
  • Stall torque 


4. Maintain the air supply line infrastructure and the air quality 

A FR (Filter, Regulator) unit for lube-free motors or FRL (Filter, Regulator, Lubricator) unit for motors that require lubrication help prevent damage to the air motor and increase their operational lifetime. The objective is to deliver clean air to the air motor at the right designated pressure. Filters ensure that any compressed air supplied to the air motor is contamination-free whereas the regulator controls the speed and precision of the flow of air. 


5. Assess the purity of the exhaust 

When using a standard air motor that requires lubrication, the air omitted from the motor includes air and particles of lubricant. This can be an issue in industries that require clean environments such as the food and nuclear industries and can be avoided in three ways: 

  • Use a lubrication-free motor 
  • Collect and remove the exhaust from the motor in an area where the level of cleanliness is less important 
  • Filter the exhaust air to the desired level of cleanliness 


6. Check for weight and size restraints 

Thanks to a higher power-to-size ratio relative for instance the electric motor, air motors can fit a wide range of application areas. But nevertheless, it is still important to be conscious of any weight and size restraints of a facility or project and select the appropriate air motor that really fits. 

Now that you are off to a good start in selecting the right air motor for your specific needs it might be reassuring to know that Atlas Copco can offer you the experience and insights you need to select the perfect air motor. With our wide range of products including unified air motor systems, individual air motors and handheld pneumatic tools, we truly know what we are talking about. 

Learn more about the Atlas Copco air motor solutions.