Dental & Health Care

Dental & HealthAs a dentist, you know you need a dental air compressor for your practice but you might not know exactly which one you need. If you would like a quick overview, you can take a look at our Help Me Choose guide.

If you’re doing NHS dental work it is mandatory that your air compressor conforms to HTM 2022. ABAC develops its own compressors so we can make sure that our range of HTM 2022 air compressors meets all the requirements.

You will need to choose a silent or low noise air compressor because no one wants to visit a noisy dentist! The other important things to consider are how often you will use your compressor, where you want to have it installed and how easy it will be to maintain.

What is the Right Size Air Compressor for a Dental Practice?

The first question to ask is how many dentists work in your practice at the same time? You need an idea of how many people will be using air simultaneously. You don’t want to have to ask your patients to wait for their next dental procedure while another dentist finishes a job! As a rule of thumb, each chair needs approximately 50 l/min or 2 cfm. The capacity of a compressor is measured in cubic feet per minute (cfm) or litres per minute (l/min) so a surgery with 3 dentists should allow 3 x 50 l/m or 3 x 2 cfm. When you look at the descriptions of our Dental Compressors, click the “additional information” tab to find these technical details.

You also need to check the duty cycle of a compressor. This tells you how much usable amount of working time your compressor will give each hour. Some dental compressor suppliers only tell you how many chairs a compressor will support but this doesn’t give you the full picture. Two compressors might have the same capacity but they might not have the same duty cycle. This is really important because if you demand more air from your compressor than it was designed to deliver, it will become less reliable, cost more to run (replacement parts) and delay treatments for your patients.

Installing and Maintaining Your Air Compressor

If you don’t have a reliable air compressor in your dental surgery, it will cause you a serious headache. No one wants to tell patients that they will have to wait for their next procedure, especially if they are in pain. ABAC air compressors have an outstanding reputation for reliability and sensible running and maintenance costs.

You can scroll down for more information on choosing the right dental air compressor for your practice. We also have generic guides to buying an air compressor and how to install a compressor. These general overviews cover all our compressor ranges but they should help you understand a bit more about your equipment so you can buy an air compressor with confidence. You can also look at our tips on air compressor safety and fault finding.

For friendly, helpful, expert advice, contact our LiveChat team during office hours. Our LiveChat is run by our in-house sales team who know our product range and understand our customers. They will be pleased to help you choose.

The Technical Bit

The product literature might state pump displacement but this does not tell you true capacity. The capacity of your air compressor is a combination of actual volume output, duty cycle, and tank size. Look out for the Free Air Delivery (FAD) figure, which is the figure showing how much air the compressor will actually deliver, but this still doesn’t take into account the duty cycle.

Capacity and reliability are related because many air compressors are designed with a limited “duty cycle”. The duty cycle is the percentage of time a compressor can run without cooling off. For example, some dental compressors have a 30% duty cycle. This does not mean it can run three hours straight in a 10-hour day, but more like 2 minutes running followed by four minutes stopped and 10 starts in an hour.

The key point is that two air compressors may have the same cfm (cubic foot per minute) but you will reduce the service life of the one with the lower duty cycle if you run it as much as one with a higher duty cycle. Duty cycle varies widely among compressors, so if you are not sure – ask our LiveChat team!

Where will you put your air compressor?

Before you buy an air compressor you should decide whereabouts in your surgery you will put it. You must make sure there is enough ventilation for the compressor not to overheat. If it is close to the point of use, most dentists choose a silenced or low noise air compressor. This will be far more pleasant for your patients and staff.

Is your air quality high enough?

The quality of the air you put into your compressor is important. The quality of your compressed air will depend on the inlet air and what the compressor adds to it. Both oil-less and lubricated compressors are used in dentistry. Both require particulate filters to remove any airborne contaminants (dirt and dust) to conform to HTM 2022 legislation. If you have a lubricated compressor, your system must also include reliable coalescing filters, which will need to be checked regularly, to ensure patient safety.

Another important safety feature required by HTM 2022 is that dental compressors systems must include a dryer. This must remove moisture to a dewpoint of at least -20 ºC . Our units exceed this. They achieve a -40°C dew point and, as bacteria cannot grow below -26°C, we remove another source of contamination (in conjunction with the use of a sterile filter). Most dental air compressor dryers are either desiccant or membrane. Both types use air to purge the saturated desiccant material or membranes which reduces the air available chair side. A membrane dryer will purge continuously to ensure the default dew point is achieved. This is effectively like having a permanent leak that reduces the amount of air available from the system. Desiccant dryers will purge once the compressor switches off, in essence back flushing the desiccant column with clean dry air to purge any water. Typically this process takes around a minute, which is why we need to respect the duty cycle. If the machine doesn’t stop, we don’t back flush, we don’t remove the water and we don’t achieve that all-important -40°C dew point!

Better quality air compressors are better for your practice

Like all the equipment you choose for your dental surgery, you will find that air compressors vary in price and quality. Your experience has probably shown that good quality equipment pays for itself. In the long run, a better quality compressor will be more reliable. The last thing you want is to be wondering if your compressed air supply will hold out while you finish a procedure on a patient. You will also find a good quality air compressor will last longer, need fewer repairs and have lower service costs. Is it really worth the extra costs and the worry of a lower quality compressor?

The ABAC Air Compressor Range for Dentists

You can be confident that all our compressors for dental surgeries operating within the NHS Sector meet or exceed all the requirements set out in HTM 2022.

The CLR piston range

Our cleanAIR oil-free piston compressors produce air of the highest quality, suitable for dentists, laboratories, surgeries, food packaging, drink dispensing and many other applications where hygienic and clean air is a must.

The comprehensive range is available with an adsorption dryer, a water separator and a sound insulation cabinet. These compressors go from 1.5HP to 2.5HP so they supply air to up to 5 dental chairs. The air receivers are treated internally with epoxy coating to avoid corrosion, extend lifetime and assure a safe operation.

Our range of CLR piston compressors have a 50% duty cycle, meaning that the compressor can run continuously for 5 minutes but must then rest for 5 minutes.

Air compressors for dental surgeries

The SPR – oil-free compressors – scroll range

SPR oil-free scroll compressors provide 100% oil-free for critical applications in industries such as R&D laboratories, hospitals, universities, dental applications, food & beverage. These ISO 8573-1 CLASS 0 certified compressors are easy to operate and maintain, and have a minimal footprint to save space in your facility. SPR compressors eliminate the risks of oil contamination and provide an efficient, reliable and highly cost-effective source of pure oil-free air.

The SPR air compressors use the orbital motion of 2 spirals. One spiral is static and the second is mobile. Their interaction continuously pulls air into the compression chamber. As the spirals never make contact, this process does not require lubrication, making the spiralAIR range 100% oil-free.

This range can meet air demands from 6.1 to 63.6 CFM (Free Air Delivery). These are available as either floor or receiver mounted. There are integrated dryer options and a prefiltration kit is available.  Please ask our LiveChat team or contact us to find out more about SPR air compressors.

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Oil Free HTM 2022 – Government regulations

Dental air is supplied via a compressor, which should be fitted with an air-intake filter and a post compression filtration and dryer system. This ensures that the air is clean and dry, minimising the risk of contamination of the system by micro-organisms and improving the efficiency of dental instruments.

The dryer system should be capable of producing air with an atmospheric dew-point not less than –20ºC.

The filter system should provide dust filtration down to 1 µm with a DOP (aerosol) efficiency of not less than 99.97% and bacteria filtration down to 0.01 µm with a DOP (aerosol) efficiency of not less than 99.9999%.

Wet and dirty air eventually damages and corrodes instruments. Oil-free compressors are a simple, cost-effective solution to the problem of oil contamination. However, if you a looking for an air compressor for a larger dental practice, the capital costs will be higher and so are the noise levels.

Whatever compressor system you use, it is extremely important to carry out proper maintenance on a regular basis. If you don’t maintain your air compressor thoroughly, you will make it less reliable and less effective. It is essential that you change filters at least annually and more frequently if recommended by the manufacturer.

When you conform to the regulations, you are not only protecting your patients and your practice, but you will ensure the longer life of your equipment.

Applications; Medical, University & Laboratory?

ABAC air compressors can supply hospitals with the standard of compressed air they need. If you rely on an integrated and stable source of compressed air, we can help. We know you often need a constant supply of medical air for patient areas and surgical air for operating theatres and our air compressors are up to the job.

Medical air is used for a variety of patient applications. Many patients sensitive to oxygen toxicity are delivered air to lower their exposure to oxygen. Many of these patients have extremely delicate respiratory systems or processes which rely on a pure, accurate concentration of medical air. Some examples of patients dependent on a reliable, quality air supply would be neonates and those patients suffering from adult respiratory depression syndrome. Medical air is also used during anaesthesia as a substitute for nitrous oxide to reduce the high concentration of oxygen exposure. While the source of medical air may be a manifold with a bank of compressed air cylinders, most hospitals use a compressor system.

Compressed air is used in Laboratories and Universities for a whole range of applications from automation and analysis to resistance training. For some applications your system may need to adhere to ISO 8573 which is the internationally recognised standard that defines major contaminants in compressed air and presents a comprehensive system for air purity designations. The implementation of this standard supports accurate testing of the major contaminants in compressed air – particles, water, oil, and microorganisms. ISO 8573 is used widely throughout the compressed air industry, acting as a common language available to the manufacturer, compressed air system supplier, and compressed air testing laboratory.