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Measuring Pressure and Flow

The first key to keeping a factory floor’s compressed air equipment at peak efficiency is ensuring the system is working the way it should be. In order to do that measurements need to be taken and analyses need to be made by someone experienced with compressor system maintenance and servicing. When measuring system quality the two best indicators remain pressure (the force at which the air is delivered) and flow (the volume of air delivered).


A properly built system will have gauges attached at specific points and intervals in the system so an easy measurement can be taken. These points – usually the furthest points from the compressor and areas where pressure-sensitive tools and equipment are used – can provide a good overview of how the systems pressure is operating across the board. When measuring pressure make sure to use gauges more sensitive than the standard general purpose gauges. General purpose gauges can detect critical failures well but when attempting to maximize performance gauges with accuracy within one percent or better should be used.


Meters that check on flow come in a multitude of different variants with each suited to a specific type of system. As always make sure any manufacturer’s instructions are followed to make sure readings are correct. Flow meters should be installed in the system in areas where the flow is clean and dry – and that means after filters and dryers. This is because filters and dryers can take ample amounts of air out of the system as part of their normal processes so the readings you get will be more relevant to end-use applications.

Many plants do not have flow meters so estimates may be required to make a reasonable analysis of a compressor system. How those estimates are made will depend on the overall maintenance of the system, the type of compressor, the amount of piping, and many other factors. Making incorrect assumptions will result in a bad estimate which can have major implications on the bottom line for any fixes that may need to be made. Be sure to consult with a professional.

Pressure and flow are important to keeping your system running effectively. If you need your system checked by someone who can accurately gauge its performance contact the experts at CED today.

Measuring Pressure and Flow

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