Air Starters

IPU provides a full range of air starters, including starter motors and whole systems. We even offer a full installation and commissioning service. Many clients choose air starting as it is a reliable and powerful method of starting an engine. You can even use your existing air supply to minimise costs and reduce the need for large air tanks.


How air starters work

When the engine starting sequence is initiated a rush of compressed air is released. This strikes the primary turbine wheel and causes it to rotate at high speed. As the air exits the first wheel it strikes each subsequent wheel causing each to turn. Eventually the wheels reach speeds of between 25 to 40 thousand rpm. This velocity is reduced by about 10:1 inside a planetary gearbox sitting just in front of the turbine mechanism.

Typical layout for air starters

Common layout for an air starting system

Benefits of air starting

  • Guaranteed start: Guaranteed to start any diesel engine up to 150 litres. IPU’s air starters operate at pressures from 3 to 30 bar so are flexible enough to suit any application. This also allows them to use an existing air supply.
  • Performance in all conditions: IPU’s air starter motors are highly resistant to corrosion because of a cast iron casing and aluminium components. This makes them ideal for marine and offshore applications.
  • Low maintenance: Developed as an easy to install, fit-and-forget solution, Jetstream starter motors are resilient against wear and damage, needing no lubrication. They are totally maintenance-free.
  • Safe in hazardous areas: IPU’s pre-engaged hydraulic starters meet ATEX regulations for both gas and dust environments such as offshore, marine and mining.


ATEX approved

IPU’s air starter motors are ATEX approved. This means they are safe for use in an explosive environment. We achieve this by offering two key technical advantages:

  • Cast iron construction: We don’t use aluminum casings on our starter motors. ATEX regulations recommends against using aluminum as it increases the risk of a thermite reaction. IPU’s starter motors instead use cast iron.
  • Pre-engaged starter motors: IPU’s pre-engaged starters wait until the pinion has engaged with the ring-gear before rotating at high speed. This eradicates the risk of sparks being produced by traditional inertia starters.


This post is also available in: Chinese (Simplified) Korean

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