Air Compressor Lubrication: 4 Helpful Tips

Posted by ICS on Mar 30th 2018

Air compressor systems are seen in various commercial and industrial applications across the globe and serve a purpose in air transfer, cleaning operations, and tool attachments.

Preventative maintenance and regular system monitoring play a huge role in extending the lifespan of the compressor system.

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Another critical factor in an air compressor's performance is its oil and lubrication.

Lubrication serves two primary purposes: to reduce wear on cylinders and rings and to minimize carbon formation on the valves while preventing overheating. Air compressor lubricants are available in different variations based on what is most suitable for the compressor and the conditions the system is used in.

Although the choice of lubrication is dependent on the system type and use, there are still some general properties that are indicative of adequate lubricants to improve air compressor performance.

Considering specific factors and choosing a suitable lubrication can have long-term effects on system maintenance and costs.

Here's what to examine for your air compressor system's lubrication:

  1. Lubrication is a huge aspect of effective wear protection as this helps keep components in motion and reduces the risk of system malfunctions, and as a result, reduces the need for air compressor repair services. While wear protection is necessary, protecting the system from rust and corrosion is equally essential to make sure components aren't damaged, and filter blockage is minimized.

  2. Low oil carryover is also another significant lubricant property to look out for. To find lubricants that can reduce oil carryover, look for low volatility and vapor pressure and low foaming lubricants. Choosing a lubricant with such properties will avoid wasting oil and money for the system. With this in mind, lubricants should have high thermal and oxidative stability to extend the lifespan of the oil and to ensure compressor operations are not being impeded. Although all oils eventually degrade by oxidation, slowing down this process with a lubricant that has a more stable oxidation rate is beneficial to the system's survival and efficiency.

  3. Because air compressors are also subject to extreme operating temperatures, a lubricant with a higher viscosity index will allow for proper performance over a wide range of temperatures. Being able to adjust to the temperature spectrum is a practical way to analyze whether a lubricant is suitable for your system's purposes.

  4. The last property to consider when looking for lubrication is efficient water separations, also known as demulsibility. Often, air compressors produce a decent amount of water through condensation and a lubricant with good water separability will reduce water-related issues like rust and corrosion.

By keeping in mind these key factors, a lubricant's service life can potentially increase while also improving the capabilities of the overall air compressor system.

Industrial Compressor Solutions offers a variety of replacement lubrication options for nearly all air compressor systems. For more information on our compressor lubricants, contact an expert today.