To operate correctly and efficiently, dedicated air compressor motors need to be lubricated with built-for-purpose air compressor oils. The main purpose of this specialised oil is to reduce the friction occurring between different components as they interact within in the motor. The resulting benefits of this usage include lower levels of energy consumption, reduced heat production and extended service life for both mechanical devices and their individual parts.
Defining air compressor oils
Employed specifically in air compressors to prevent both wear and tear, air compressor oil is a specially formulated lubricant designed to specifically answer the challenges of this type of equipment. Air compressor oil can be either synthetic or natural, and it varies greatly in terms of viscosity and the kind of additives included within them. This specialised oil differs from conventional motor oil, as it has no detergent added to its formulation, and it is designed with a much lower ratio between its carbon to sulphur levels.
Properties of air compressor oil
Air compressors will typically ship with express guidelines issued by their manufacturers. This information should provide users with not only the essential details regarding the equipment, but also the best-suited air compressor oil that will guarantee optimum performance.
In the guidelines, some of the basic properties that users will see listed can be found below:
Air compressor oil viscosity
Most equipment manufacturers will recommend either SAE20 type compressor oil or SAE30. In a similar way to how motor oil works, if an operating environment is colder, a SAE20 compressor oil will be a better option. SAE30 oil, on the other hand, is more viscous, allowing it to coat parts more effectively when equipment is working a warmer area.
Viscosity is a critical quality to consider. If oil consistency is either too thin or too thick, it can slow performance, hampering productivity and leading to air compressor damage.
Air compressor oil additives
Most oils available to buy contain an additive package of some kind, and the type of additives used must be examined closely to ensure they never harm equipment in the short or long-term.
The most advantageous additives in air compressor oil will assist in preventing corrosion and contaminants rusting the motor. For this reason, these kinds of additives are often included in numerous commercial varieties sold today.
Air compressor oil temperature range
The temperature range of an air compressor oil is a feature that also must be considered. High-viscosity oils can sometimes be unpredictable when exposed to drastically different temperatures. An oil may react quite differently within areas where temperatures are below freezing point compared to those above 120°F.
Fortunately, the temperature range of an air compressor oil is typically mentioned on its packaging to inform users of its capabilities. If your operating environment is likely to experience extreme temperatures, ensure the viscosity and temperature range of the product you select are appropriate.
This is vital, as the compressor oil will also produce heat, so to keep working efficiently, it must be able to withstand the operating temperature range.