First Break Compressed Air Systems

Quincy Compressor

Quincy Compressor makes and services the most reliable compressed air systems to meet the demands required by mining operations.


Compressed Air Usage in the Mining Industry

Working deep underground, mining for the precious natural resources of the Earth can present fierce challenges for workers even with the advancements of modern technology. With the dawn of the first motorized air compressors in the early 1800s, the mining industry has greatly benefited from the improvement of compressed air systems, which have provided value to workers and the development of more efficient methods for resource extraction.

Because of the demands and dangers of working underground, or in areas where water can pose a threat, compressed air has been an invaluable source of both energy and safety equipment for the hard-to-reach places were minerals and fossil fuels reside.

Mining companies depend on high-quality equipment to provide longevity in performance and in reliability. Through the use of industrial air compressor systems, electric and pneumatic tools are used in drilling, material handling, transportation, mineral extraction and complex ventilation systems. Selecting a compressor that is built to withstand the wear and tear of mining, as well as stand up to the demands of continued use in the long term is important for your bottom line. Depending on the resources desired, compressed air needs may vary in mining operations.

While underground compressors may be needed for some mining processes, which can reduce the need for complex piping systems and lower the amount of leakage, it is more common to find compressors at the surface, which reticulate compressed air through the use of steel pipes.

Compressed air is used as an energy source frequently in mining because of its flexibility over the use of diesel and electric power in locations underground. However, low capacity applications such as drilling short holes, pumping and pneumatic tools such as wrenches and saws are more commonly used with compressed air systems at sites. In some cases, compressed air may be used in ventilation systems. Ventilation is important in all situations, especially ones where methane can build since it can be easily ignited by a spark of static electricity.

It is imperative that all compressed air systems or equipment used in these situations are specifically designed to prevent static electricity build-up and are grounded properly. This includes hoses, which can be made of fire retardant and anti-static materials. In addition to being more restrictive in terms of availability, underground compressors can also become fire hazards, which is why surface compressors are more often used.

Common Mining Applications for Compressed Air

Mining applications where compressed air is especially useful include:

Pneumatic Tools – Compressed air is an excellent source of energy for power tools such as drills, wrenches, hack saws and other vital mining equipment that needs to be used in the deep underground stretches of the mines.

Blasting – Compressed air systems offer safer mediums for use in blasting operations. High velocity compressed air streams can be vital in some mining situations.

Material handling – Materials like coal dust can be better handled when compressed air is mixed, allowing for fluidization. In addition, compressed air can be used in conveying material in mining as well.

Cleaning – Compressed air can also be used for purging unwanted particles from filters and other spaces amid the dirt and dust of the mining operation. It is a clean source of air and can be used effectively without the need for additional cleaning materials. This can help extend the longevity of critical mining equipment and reduce any downtime needed for maintenance.

Ventilation Systems – As mentioned above, compressed air has a long history of providing ventilation to increasingly deep mine tunnels. It is a safe and breathable source of air that can be used in hazardous mining environments. In addition, displacement blowers can also utilize compressed air systems for ventilation. In coal mining for example, displacement blowers are used to provide the needed air ventilation to mining sites.

Methane Gas Extraction – Methane gas build up in a mine can be lethal. The risk for a static electric spark igniting methane as well as actually breathing the gas are both dangers for miners. Compressed air systems properly fitted and designed for use in dangerous environments can help extract the gas through the use of blowers and vacuum pumps for coal mining operations.

Quincy Compressor products


Rotary Screw

Rotary Screw

Quincy Compressor is your one-stop source for hard-working rotary screw air compressor products in a wide range of horsepower and configurations. Rotary screw compressors are the ideal choice for heavy industrial applications requiring large amounts of high-pressure air.




Quincy Compressor's range reciprocating/piston air compressor products is well-suited for many industrial applications including mining. Options include pressure lubricated, splash lubricated, single stage and application-specific models.


Oil Free

Oil Free

Quincy oil-free compressors can provide the high-quality, contaminant-free air that is essential in critical environments. They’re also designed to comply with the ISO 8573.1 Class Zero standard while delivering superior performance and world-class efficiency.


Vacuum Pumps

Vacuum Pumps

Quincy vacuum pumps are used by companies around the world due to their uncompromising reliable and unbeatable performance. There are many Quincy vacuum pump models to choose from, ensuring you’ll be able to find the right one for your applications.


Air System Piping

Air System Piping

The Quincy AIRnet system piping products are highly advanced and feature a broad selection of engineered polymer fittings. These 100% modular systems are easy to install, require lower loading pressure and provide a constant, low friction factor. The reduced power consumption will also lower your energy costs.


Air Treatment

Air Treatment

Quincy Compressor's range of air treatment products includes an assortment of refrigerated and desiccant dryers; air filtration products, including standard filters and high-pressure filters, mist eliminators and preferred elements; and condensate management units, including drains and condensate purifiers. 


Natural Gas

Natural Gas

Quincy Compressor offers rotary screw and reciprocating models for natural gas applications. The rotary screw options feature slow-turning, large-diameter motors that provide maximum operating efficiency. You’ll also find single-and two-stage reciprocating units that provide the strength and durability that is essential for natural gas use.


Genuine Quincy Parts & Fluid

Genuine Quincy Parts & Fluid

Quincy offers numerous air compressor replacement parts and fluids to keep your equipment operating at peak efficiency. Using genuine Quincy parts and fluids will also extend the life of your product and maintain the associated warranty.

Energy Efficiency in Compressed Air Systems Used in Mining

While compressed air is indeed a valuable resource in mining, it can also be costly, especially if leaks are not addressed, and proper maintenance is not conducted routinely on the system. Up to 20 percent of the total costs of underground mining can come directly from compressed air. In addition, nearly 20 to 40 percent of all energy costs for compressed mining can be from compressed air usage.
The costs of compressed air can be high if the system is not running efficiently because of the amount of electrical horsepower needed just to generate one HP of compressed air. On average, anywhere between seven to eight HP of electrical power to produce just one HP of compressed air power. Additionally, only about 19 percent of the total power used in a compressed air system is converted into compressed air flow. The other 81 percent is lost as heat.

If you combine that with any leaks in your mining operation, the costs could rise substantially, which is why system efficiency is so important in reducing your overall expenditures. Researchers found that up to 70 percent of compressed air usage is wasted in leaks for certain underground mining operations. In some cases, a single half-inch diameter leak could contribute to annual loss of more than $12,800 for a one shift operation. In addition, the numbers could range near $48,000 for a three-shift operation. Even a single, tiny leak in an entire system that measures 1/16 of an inch could result in a $750 loss annually.

Routine maintenance and proper inspections of your compressed air system can help minimize these leaks. In most typical operations studied, wasted energy costs nearing $100,000 annually have been attributed to inefficiency in compressed air systems. By creating a maintenance and leak management program for your mining operation, you can have qualified professionals inspect and conduct any necessary repairs to help mitigate these types of expenses over the long term.

Also, a more efficient system benefits the longevity of an air compressor by lowering pressure demands as it puts less strain on the machine’s parts. Maintaining correct operating pressure will reduce your service costs as well since it’s likely less maintenance will be needed.