Oil, screw compressors and air quality

It’s easy to have two out of three, but how do you balance oil, screw compressors and air quality?

Estimated time to read: 2 mins

January 18, 2024

Oil, screw compressors and multi-tasking

Oil is a brilliant multi-tasker. In a screw compressor, oil performs several vitally important tasks, all at the same time. It lubricates the rotors and other moving parts in your compressor. It stops wear and tear and makes things run ever so much more quietly. It helps to cool the compressor element, and removes heat produced during the compression process. Finally, oil creates a seal that stops leakage in the compression chamber.

Oil, screw compressors and contamination

In an oil-injected screw compressor, the oil ends up in the air you’re compressing. There’s probably only a trace amount left after the air has passed through an oil separator or an oil filter. And in most cases, it’s not a problem. But even the slightest trace of oil is too much if you’re using compressed air in food products, for medicines or in other situations that require superior air quality.

How do you respond to this? If you’re working with food, you may be able to replace your oil with food-grade oil. It performs all the oil-related tasks listed above. Plus, it’s generally approved for use in the food industry. You’ll still need to check that the food-grade oil you want to use is compatible with your air compressor and the rubber and seals in your system. 

Alternatively, you may be able to use an oil-free compressor. An oil-free screw compressor is timed to perfection to ensure the screws do not come into contact with each other. An oil-free reciprocated compressor – which uses a piston instead of screws or rotors – has permanently lubricated bearings and parts that are made from carbon fibre or coated in Teflon to overcome the need for oil. Of course, if you’re using an oil-free compressor, you’ll want to clear a bit of time in your agenda for extra maintenance.


Questions, advice and help

Do you have questions about oil? Do you have questions about air compressors? Are you looking for advice or help? Contact us today and we will be glad to assist.

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