Compressor week continues, swash and wobble plate compressors

Opposed Axial/Swash Plate Compressors

(figure 1 Sanden swash plate compressor)

These compressors usually contain six or ten pistons. The pistons in an opposed axial compressor are connected together by a solid piece that keeps them at a fixed distance from each other. A rotating device called the swash plate causes the pistons to move. The swash plate is an elliptical disc that is mounted at an angle to the compressor drive shaft. The rotation of the swash plate moves the pistons parallel to the drive shaft. Another component called a slipper disc slides on the swash plate, and a ball rides in a socket in the slipper disc. The ball also rides in a socket in the piston, in effect connecting the piston and slipper disc.

Single Row Axial/Wobble Plate Compressors

(figure 2 Four Seasons wobble plate compressor)

The single row axial compressor has five, six or seven pistons connected to a wobble plate. The piston’s connecting rods have a ball mounted on each end, and these balls fit into sockets on each piston and the wobble plate. The wobble plate is held in place by anti-rotation gears, and a cam rotates behind the wobble plate. The combination of the rotating cam and the stationary wobble plate causes the pistons to move in a plane parallel to the compressor drive shaft.

When having your mobile A/C system professionally serviced, insist on proper repair procedures and quality replacement parts. Insist on recovery and recycling so that refrigerant can be reused and not released into the atmosphere.

You can E-mail us at or visit to find a Mobile Air Conditioning Society repair shop in your area. Visit to find out more about your car’s mobile A/C and engine cooling system.

Thank you to MACS member Sanden International for the photo of the swash plate compressor in figure 1.

Thank you to MACS member Four Seasons  for the photo of the wobble plate compressor in figure 2.


About macsworldwide

Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide Founded in 1981, MACS is the leading non-profit trade association for the mobile air conditioning, heating and engine cooling system segment of the automotive aftermarket. Since 1991, MACS has assisted more than 600,000 technicians to comply with the 1990 U.S. EPA Clean Air Act requirements for certification in refrigerant recovery and recycling to protect the environment. The Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide’s mission is clear and focused--as the recognized global authority on mobile air conditioning and heat transfer industry issues.
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