What is the “duty cycle” of an air compressor?

Most compressors are not designed to run continuously. The capacity for this is usually expressed as the “duty cycle.” Duty cycle is the percentage of time the compressor can run in a 10-minute period without overheating. An average piston compressor may have a duty cycle of 50 to 60 percent, meaning it should not run more than five to six minutes out of a 10-minute period. Only compressors with a 100-percent duty cycle are made to run constantly.

-Ruth Dobbins, EtchMaster

Ruth Jan 2018

Ruth Dobbins

With over 40 years in the glass business, Ruth Dobbins offers experience in all glass-etching techniques as well as in fused and cast glass. Ruth holds a master’s degree in art and has been a partner in an art glass wholesale supply and studio company in Europe, which also placed great emphasis on a training program, before joining forces with her late husband Norm. You can reach Ruth by email at or by phone at 505-473-9203.

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