What is a dual speed compressor? Understanding the new compressor type.

Atlas Copco recently launched the GA FLX, a completely new compressor type – the dual-speed screw compressor. But what is, why do we need it and where does it sit with fixed speed and variable speed drive compressors? Let’s take a look…


What is a dual speed compressor?

A fixed speed compressor has only one motor speed, 100% on, a dual speed compressor has two. Having two speeds means that it can operate at maximum capacity, but then reduce to a minimum speed during unload. The ability to switch to this lower speed means that it significantly reduces the energy used during the unload phase. So, compared to a fixed speed compressor it is more efficient as it has lower transient and blow-off losses.

Reducing transient losses

Transient losses refer to the energy that a compressor consumes without producing usable air as it goes through operational phases. In the case of fixed-speed compressors, this can be up to 20% of their total energy usage. No matter how efficient a fixed speed compressor is, because of the way it works, it won’t be able to meaningfully reduce transient losses. But a dual speed compressor can reduce the transient losses because of the minimum motor speed and its ability to start up more quickly against a pressurised system.

(Extract from the Atlas Copco GA FLX brochure showing the energy consumption of a fixed speed compressor compared to the dual speed compressor)


How does it fit with fixed speed and variable speed drive compressors?

Within the Atlas Copco range of compressors there is now fixed speed, dual speed and variable speed options.

But how do you know which one is right for your application?

In most cases the answer will be a variable speed drive (VSD) compressor. They are the perfect partner for when your compressed air demand varies, through the shift, during the week or with seasonal demand. The latest GA VSDS technology offers potential energy savings of 60% compared to a fixed speed machine. Their low energy use means they offer the lowest lifecycle cost of the compressor technology available, but they are also known for their reliability, connectivity and ease of operation.

Fixed speed machines, running at only one speed, are best suited to operations where there is a consistently high compressed air demand. Relatively, they have a lower purchase price to a variable speed drive compressor so are sometimes viewed as a starter machine for workshops and smaller operations. However, with VSD compressors now available in smaller sizes and with energy efficiency considerations and lifecycle costs taken into account, even these scenarios might be better suited to VSD compressors.

So, the dual speed?

A bit of both, the best of both worlds, an ideal combination, the ultimate fusion – however you word it, it gives you a combination of the two.

It has a lower purchase price than a VSD but 20% energy savings over a fixed speed machine.

The GA FLX also allows for free pressure setting without loss of air flow or FAD, so you might be able to select a smaller-sized GA FLX than the fixed-speed GA alternative, saving even more on operational and investment costs.


Things you will love about the GA FLX

  • Unique dual speed

Invented and developed by Atlas Copco, it is a unique market offering. Always innovative, Atlas Copco is the first to make this type of compressor technology available and give you benefits no fixed speed ever can.

  • Reduced energy costs

Using 20% less energy than the fixed speed equivalent, the savings will really add up over the lifetime of the compressor – especially when you consider energy makes up about 80% of the total lifecycle cost of the compressor.

  • Flexible pressure setting

As noted above, with a GA FLX you can set any pressure without loss of air flow or FAD. This could mean a smaller sized machine and lower investment cost.

  • Smaller footprint

It is half the size of a fixed speed Atlas Copco GA compressor! When space is at a premium on a factory floor this is a big win. Giving you more flexibility of where to place your compressor.

  • Customisable

The GA FLX is available with a lot of options so you can tailor your compressor to your application, environment and operational goals.

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