Thursday, June 6

Compressed Air Applications in Summer Outdoor Recreation

A lot of the fun activities you may participate in when the weather warms up, are possible because of compressed air! Whether you are bringing your family to the amusement park or golfing with friends, compressed air may have been utilized to assist in your fun. Let's look at how air compressors are used in summer recreational activities in the Midwest:

Amusement Parks

Compressed air is a behind the scenes tool at amusement parks that ensures safe and smooth operation of the attractions. Various compressed air equipment can be used for different facets of an amusement park from the rollercoasters to the concession stands to the general maintenance of the parks!


Compressed air is commonly used for a handful of important safety features in rollercoasters and other amusement park rides. Including the following:

  • Automatic Gates: Many of the gates that hold the line of people back and automatically raise to allow the next group onto the ride are powered by compressed air.
  • Air Brakes: Compressed air is used to power the slowing and stopping of rollercoasters when entering the terminal for people to get off and on the ride.
  • Shoulder Restraints: Compressed air is many times used to power the automatic shoulder restraints and harnesses that come down to keep you in the proper position throughout the ride.
  • Launch Systems: Hydraulic launch systems on different rides utilize compressed air to power and control the launch.
  • Animation Props: Many animated figures or props, like on the rides in Disney World, utilize compressed air to control the actuators that allow these animated pieces to move.
  • Simulators: Some simulation rides that need to create the effects of wind, motion, or other effects utilize compressed air to operate and create the real-life feel the simulators are aiming to achieve.

Toy Kiosks

Many kiosks, whether it be at an amusement park, mall, or other event, utilize compressed air to fill their toys. Stuffed animal kiosks, like Build-a-Bear, utilize a foot pedal activated system that activates behind the scenes compressed air to fill the child’s stuffed animal with fluff! Compressed air tanks are also often used for ballon animal artists to fill their long balloons with air before tying them off and shaping them into a character.


Any inflatable structure like bounce houses, obstacle courses, and slides are inflated and deflated with compressed air!


Like many food operations, compressed air can be used for mixing, packaging, and the making of food. Many mixing type machines that are used to make amusement park treats like snow cones, cotton candy, or mixed ice cream treats rely on compressed air to operate. Furthermore, the personalized packaging for the snacks at each unique park, originated in a manufacturing facility that relied on compressed air to create the packaging and pre-package some of the snacks


Amusement parks need frequent cleaning on a large scale, as they generally cover a large area and are heavily used by people from all over. Industrial maintenance and cleaning equipment, like power washers, spray painters, and other pneumatic tools, can be used to maintain cleanliness in the parks and are often powered by clean compressed air.


Golf Courses

Sprinkler System Maintenance

Sprinkler systems are crucial to keeping golf courses lush and green. This means, that maintaining these sprinkler systems, even when not in use, is extremely important for golf courses. In the Midwest, where temperatures drop to below freezing in the winter, it is especially important to blow out sprinkler systems to clear them of any water that could freeze and damage the system.

Compressed air assists in the blow out process by forcing highly pressurized air through the pipes to clear away any stored or trapped water that could freeze within the pipes. It also can be used to blow out the system again before the warm months to clear out any water that may have settled in the pipes from ice. This blow-out process ultimately serves as a cleaning function throughout the entire irrigation system.

Pond Aeration

Many golf courses feature one or a few holes with a pond and/or fountain. We will discuss how compressed air helps power fountains later in this blog post, but compressed air also helps aerate these bodies of water to keep it clean.

Air compressors specifically power diffused aeration systems in ponds by pumping air into the bottom of the body of water to create bubbles that rise to the surface and mix the water. This helps mitigate unwater plant and bacteria growth to keep the pond clean. This process can also be performed in colder months to prevent freezing.

Regripping Golf Clubs

Smaller scale air compressors can be used to power hand tools to assist in regripping golf clubs. The air compressor usually provides under 50 PSI. This air compressor, with its air hose, connects to a golf grip adapter, or pointed nozzle, and is used to blast short, quick blasts of air into the small hole at the end of the grip to expand it so that the grip can easily slide onto the bare shaft of the club.



Before safe playgrounds can come to life in parks, they are manufactured in a factory powered by compressed air. Reliable compressed air is relied upon to control operations in manufacturing and painting of the durable and aesthetically pleasing playground equipment.


Paintball Centers

Many paintball centers are switching to compressed air equipment over carbon dioxide as a power source to their equipment. Let’s look at how compressed air is effectively used in paintball centers and in the use of recreational paintball equipment.

How It Works

Compressed air is used within paintball gun tanks. These tanks filled with compressed air utilize the pressure to push paintballs into the barrel of the gun and build pressure behind the ball to shoot it out when the trigger is pulled.

Why Use Compressed Air?

While CO2 may be the easiest way to get started in paintballing for beginners, compressed air tanks actually provide over twice the capacity of a CO2 tank, giving players with air compressor tanks an advantage. Compressed air powered tanks also provide a more consistent pressure to ensure consistency in your paintball shots. They are also less affected by hot or cold temperatures, ensuring your performance remains consistent throughout the seasons. Paintball gun tanks filled with compressed air are also easier to refill and can be refilled relatively quickly, ensuring minor downtime if a tank needs to be topped off during play.

Underwater Exploration

Compressed air is a critical component to the underwater exploration industry, specifically for scuba diving. Because it is such a critical piece to the scuba diving process, there are a few requirements for the compressed air to ensure proper functioning.

How Compressed Air is Used

Air compressors for diving and scuba activities are specialized machines that utilize the atmospheric air above water and turn it into breathable air for use underwater. This air is stored in tanks or other cylinders that scuba divers carry with them to feed them a continuous steady stream of pure air that allows them to breathe underwater. These compressors are generally equipped with filters and moisture separators to ensure no moisture or contaminants get into the airflow and thus ingested by the diver.

Types of Compressors

  • High-Pressure Air Compressors: High-pressure compressors deliver air at high enough pressures to sustain deep dives. They are generally used by both recreational and professional divers, making them the most common type of scuba air compressor.
  • Low-Pressure Air Compressors: Low-pressure compressors are utilized for shallower dives and for inflating buoyancy control devices. This type of compressor is many times used for recreational or more casual divers.
  • Nitrox Compressors: Nitrox refers to a gas mixture of oxygen and ambient air, with a higher concentration of oxygen. These specialty compressors are used to fill tanks to allow divers extended time at the bottom with a reduced risk of nitrogen narcosis.

Compressed Air Requirements

  • Pressure: scuba tanks are filled at much higher pressures than a general air compressor may provide to a manufacturing facility or other common air compressor applications.
  • Quality: Clean air is of the utmost importance for scuba divers. It needs to be breathable, clean air free of any contaminants to ensure there are no safety hazards.


Fountains/Water Parks

Places that utilize water fountains, whether it be in a waterpark, water show, or in the center of a park, utilize compressed air to propel the water up and out of the ground.



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