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How do oil free air compressors work?

When exposing your process to oil, it becomes difficult to keep air clean, which can result in rising costs, especially if you use more and more air. As compressed air is only as good as its purity, more companies are turning to oil-free air compressors. So, how do oil free air compressors work? Continue reading to discover their uses and why oil free air compressors have become so popular.

How do oil free air compressors work?

Oil free air compressors either have no mechanical contact inside a compression chamber, or use alternative materials to protect the mechanism with no lubrication. Most oil free air compressors use other materials like Teflon coating or water to keep the mechanism running smoothly and efficiently.

The lubrication of gears and bearings are external to the compression chamber, so proper sealing prevents oil from contaminating the compressed air. This results in 100% oil-free air supply.

Some oil-free designs have removed metal-to-metal contact within the compression chamber, thus eliminating the need for oil-based and synthetic lubrication altogether.

This leads to reduced costs, which is another reason as to why oil free air compressors are so popular.

What is oil free air?

The degree of air purity required varies depending on the risk tolerance for an industrial process. The International Standards Organisation (ISO) created ISO 8573-1 to give manufacturers the chance to define the level of tolerance for air purity in a compressed air system.

ISO 8573 “specifies purity classes of compressed air with respect to particles, water and oil independent of the location in the compressed air system at which the air is specified or measured.” It also provides information about contaminants in compressed-air systems, either for the measurement of compressed air purity, or the specification of compressed-air purity requirements.

Benefits of using oil free air compressors

There are many benefits of using oil free air compressors, including these four main advantages:

– Removes risk of contamination
– Reduces environmental impact
– Lower maintenance costs
– Lower energy costs

Removes risk of contamination

The best way to prevent the risk of contamination when compressed air encounters the end product is to never introduce oil into the airstream. Class 0 air allows manufacturers to avoid contamination risks that would lower product quality, increase the risk of product recalls, and result in unnecessary downtime. Contamination can harm your reputation as a company, your bottom line and even worse, the health of your customers.

Compressors that are lubricated by oil will always have trace amounts of oil in the air that’s produced. It can build up on equipment over time, eventually leading to increased maintenance costs.

Reduces environmental impact

Compressors that use oil require 55 gallons every six to 12 months for an oil change. This must be properly disposed of following the appropriate government regulations.

In contrast, oil free air compressors don’t require oil as part of the compression process, so only need oil changes every two to three years.

Lower maintenance costs

Another benefit to using oil free air compressors is because of the reduced maintenance costs. Switching to an oil free air compressor provides operators with much lower maintenance requirements, because of the following:- Fewer ancillary air system components to maintain

– Longer time periods between oil changes
– Elimination of expensive oil filters to clean the compressed air
– Elimination of oily condensate management
– Longer desiccant life of downstream air filters
– Minimised downstream labour and outage-related costs

Lower energy costs

The more energy-efficient the compressor, the lower costs it incurs to run. Energy costs are around 60-75% of the life-cycle cost of air compressors, so reducing this as much as possible is a key target for any company.

Oil-flooded machines require several oil filters and oil separators to clean the manufactured compressed air. Each of these items can cause a pressure drop across the filter, resulting in lower air pressure delivery downstream in the plant. The decrease in pressure means the compressor has to work harder, creating lower efficiencies and higher energy costs.

Oil free air compressors at Glaston

Oil-free compressors are used in various industries requiring the highest air purity standards. Designed for compressed air applications where air quality is essential for both end products and production processes, Glaston can provide businesses in the North West of England with high-quality oilless air compressors from leading manufacturers.

Oilless compressors deliver 100% oil-free compressed air, provide an economical system and produce lower maintenance costs than oil-filled compressors

If you require any more information or assistance regarding oil free air compressors, contact Glaston today on 01695 51010, or email us at

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