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Why does air compressor oil degrade?

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Air compressor oil in a lubricated rotary screw air compressor comes in direct contact with the air compressor inlet air and compressed air which has contaminants in it.

Because of that contact with contaminants, air compressor oil degrades quickly

Therefore it is best not to stretch the maintenance intervals of your air compressor and reduce the oil changes, especially in hot weather.  

How does the oil come in contact with contaminants in an air compressor?

When air is compressed, water and dust are picked up by the oil. 

Your products and applications are protected from these contaminants because the air compressor oil carries these contaminants to an oil sump and oil filter.

The oil also absorbs the heat produced by the compression of the air and that is carried away to the air compressor's lubricant cooler. 

What effect do the contaminants have on the oil?

  • The heat and oxygen contained in the compressed air break down the properties of the lubricant, causing excess aging if the level of heat is high. 
  • Air compressor lubricant that has lost its properties allows excessive bearing wear.
  • It also forms a varnish that coats the inside of the air compressor, reducing the efficiency of the heat exchangers and elevating the lubricant to undesirable levels — causing even more damage.

Food grade lubricant needs to be changed more frequently

This is due to the different properties of the oil. 

That is just one reason why you should keep to regular planned maintenance, or even better, sign up for AirCare✓

Here are some more reasons.

Stretching out your service intervals, and oil changes could cause your air compressor to break down which is more expensive, in repair time, parts, and lost productivity, than keeping to scheduled regular servicing.

That is why you should sign up for Compressed Air Controls' AirCare✓, our predictive maintenance schedule where servicing is conducted to the manufacturer's recommendations and has a no breakdown guarantee*.

*Conditions apply