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Air Motors vs. Air Starters

April 15th, 2016

The terms air motor and air starter are often used synonymously, but do they actually mean the same thing? What are the differences? Over the next few installments of the blog, we will be covering similarities and differences as well as some unique properties and applications for both air motors and air starters.

Basic Air Motor and Air Starter Definitions

Air Motor:

An air motor provides rotary force by using pressurized air to turn a vane or turbine style motor.

Air Starter:

An air starter is a type of air motor, combined with a set of gear reductions, that is specifically designed to start an engine. In terms of the most basic definition it should be understood then that air starters are a subset of air motors that are used for engine starting, whereas air motors describes a broader category of air powered devices that are used in a wide array of applications.

Ingersoll Rand Series 92RA RB Air Motor

Ingersoll Rand Series 92RA RB Air Motor

What Does an Air Motor Do?

While air starters are designed to accomplish one basic function: starting engines, air motors can be used in any application in which a customer requires a power source to accomplish a task and has compressed air on hand to power the air motor. That may seem like a pretty broad definition, but air motors are more-or-less a custom fit tools produced in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and torque / power ratios in order to meet each customer’s unique needs. Next week, we’ll begin to look at some of the common applications for air motors in order make more sense of the definitions and begin to talk about how air motors compare to electric motors.

If you are interested in learning more about air starters, air starting systems and air starting applications, take a look at our posting What is Air Start.

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