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A study of the unique characteristics of rotary screw compressor oil
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Home :: Preventing Oil Contamination:

Preventing Oil Contamination

Preventing oil contamination is critical to ensure long lubricant life. A compressor acts as a large vacuum cleaner, ingesting air and dust and all other pollutants. The first step to reducing contaminants is to verify that the air inlet filter to the compressor is changed regularly. In high dust application, an air inlet filter may need to be changed far more often than the oil or the separator. Many compressor manufacturers offer high dust inlet filters for environments, such as wood working shops, cement plants and dusty locations. If conditions are extreme, a filter box can be installed on the inlet of the compressor made up of rectangular inlet filters. The filters must be changed regularly to ensure that the compressor is receiving an adequate flow of air. Clogged filters that restrict the air flow can prevent the compressor from getting adequate cooling, which will greatly decrease oil life.

Also, compressors should never be installed in areas where they can ingest harmful pollutants. This includes areas near diesel exhaust fumes, or other combustion areas. Also chemicals that are used in cooling towers like chlorine and bromine are often ingested into compressor intakes, and can form acids that can quickly deplete the additives in your oil.
Additionally normal wear in a compressor from bearings and gears can form wear particles. With proper oil changeovers, the harmful effects of these particles as well as ingested foreign particles can be reduced. Oil must be tested regularly through routine oil analysis to ensure that the lubricant is still functioning well. Oil that is in operation beyond its useful life can cause oil varnishing and metal to metal contact.

Synthetic compressor oil can lengthen time between oil changes, but steps still must be made to guard your compressor against harmful contaminants. Proper oil analysis can verify that your oil is performing well, and can greatly increase the life of your compressor.

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