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Cast Iron vs Aluminum: Which is a Better Auto Shop Compressor?

Compressed air plays a crucial role in the automotive industry. It is used in every aspect, like manufacturing parts with pneumatic equipment, air brushing paint onto the bodies of the cars, and efficient vehicle maintenance, among others. That is why it is not at all surprising that every body shop and auto service center makes use of a fully-functioning and reliable compressed air system.


For auto shop uses, what we often see are piston compressors, and in these compressors you can only find aluminum or metal around the piston and as the pump. Auto mechanics still argue about which material is better for compressors – aluminum or cast iron? Of course, these two have their pros and cons. The question is, does one prove better than the other when it comes to powering auto repairs?


In the history of automotive service, in general, cast iron compressors are more commonly used if not preferred. It is perhaps because they are heavier, larger and a lot denser than compressors of other materials. Due to these characteristics most people believe they are tougher and more durable. It is true that cast iron really, especially if you are going to compare it to aluminum. However this also becomes a problem. Cast iron’s structure is naturally more brittle than other metals. Aside from that, it could be susceptible to rust that can easily weaken its structure. Its weight could also pose a problem especially when you have to move it around or when you are working in a small space.


Aluminum, on the other hand has low density, so it’s considerably lighter than cast iron. This characteristic makes it more mobile than cast iron. Another edge of aluminum over cast iron is the fact that it does not rust making it non-corrosive. If you are exposed to harsh environment this property is priceless. Aluminum has high electrical and thermal conductivity, which enables it to cool down faster after compression. One of its drawbacks is that it’s not as durable as cast iron.


Both metals have their own pros and cons and it all boils down to performance and your personal choice. If you cannot decide what would be better for your requirements, give us a call and we’d be happy to help you figure out your best options. We have ranges of both aluminum and cast iron compressors that you can choose from for your business.


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