An air compressor is a device that when operated, releases air in quick bursts. This electric or gas power is kept in pumps to cater for this conversion giving air compressors two versions, that is, the oil lubed air compressors and those that do not use air compressor oil.
Because they do not require oil, the latter types tend to be more expensive and noisy though the delivered air is purer in quality. The most common use of air compressors is the filling up of tires and gas cylinders.
The main function of the air compressor oil is to lubricate the working parts of the compressor. Its other important function is to improve the sealing of the pressurized spaces. It should also cater for the cooling of the device. Using the air compressor tends to generate a lot of heat. You need then, to calculate the final temperature of the air generated at the outlet to the compression space. This will determine the quality of the air compressor oil you need to use. Note that the higher these requirements are, the higher the compressor’s oil oxidation stability should be.
Different types of air compressors require different compressor oil specs. Though widely available in auto repair shops and hardware stores, one needs to be careful when making these decisions. Some factors to consider when deciding on the right oil for your compressor are the oil’s longevity and the strength of its film. Consider also its ability to reduce or limit the wear and tear of the compressor’s parts and its inability to discharge harmful carbon deposits, keeping your valves free of these deposits. The oil you choose should also be able to reduce friction between the cylinder wall and the piston rings to maximize the compressor’s efficiency. Look also into the additives that most products promise add to their advantage.
The lubrication for reciprocating compressors is required to satisfy certain parts of the compressor, that is, the valves, cylinder, piston rings and the bearings. A lubricant with very low carbon properties is also required to prevent the pipe work from drying out. This in turn limits the accumulation of carbon in this pipe work, restricting its passages and reducing its efficiency.
Because screw compressors are either geared or non-geared versions, the lubricant for the gear version needs to be able to cater for the gears and bearings and act in between the rotors as a sealing medium. The coalescing ability of the lubricant should also be considered because the mist created when injecting the oil into the compressor has to be removed before the compressed air leaves the device. You therefore need to install a coalescing element in the receiver of the compressor. The lubricant in turn has to influence the efficiency of this element significantly. If the coalescing element is not installed then there will be a high oil carryover, which will increase the device’s oil consumption.
Some air compressors brands include Royal purple Synfilm Recip. 100 and the Ingersoll Rand brands. The price range of air compressor oils depend on the factors listed above.
Avoid using air compressor oil beyond their operational time limit. Doing so will result in the thermal breakdown of the oil and in extreme cases, the complete breakdown of the compressor due to the excessive deposits on its valves.