Which single component of a rotary screw air compressor has the greatest impact on your maintenance costs?

Compressor Fluids have the single greatest impact on compressor maintenance costs. High quality synthetic compressor fluids can be very expensive, and the fluid’s performance impacts the reliability and service life of all the compressor’s most costly components (Air-end Bearings and Seals, Coolers, Air-oil Separators, Oil-stop Valves, etc.).

What is the #1 cause of compressor oil failure and replacement?

Acids are the #1 reason compressor fluids fail and need to be replaced. Acids are found in all compressor fluids and are destructive catalysts that reduce the fluid’s useful life by accelerating oxidation, additive depletion and the degradation that impacts fluid performance. Maintaining low fluid acid levels is proven to slow these destructive forces and dramatically increase fluid service life.

What are the three main sources of acids found in rotary screw air compressor oils?

Oxidation, Ingestion from the atmosphere, and Residual Contamination from the previous oil fill, are the three main sources of acids found in compressor fluids. Fortunately, successful acid prevention and removal strategies exist which are extremely effective at controlling fluid acid levels.

When a compressor oil reaches its condemning limit for high acids (TAN), what percentage of the oil has been effected?

Less than 1% of a compressor fluid has turned acidic when the oil reaches its condemning limit for TAN (Total Acid Number). This means that when most compressor fluids are replaced, more than 99% of that oil is perfectly fit for continued use.

Can a compressor oil be made to remain in service indefinitely?

Yes, most high quality synthetic compressor fluids operating in normal environments, and if properly maintained, can be made to remain in service indefinitely. With proper contaminant controls and lubricant conditioning techniques in place, a compressor fluid’s physical and chemical properties can be safely maintained within its normal acceptable limits.

What is the best method for determining when a compressor oil has reached the end of its useful life and needs to be replaced?

Oil Analysis is the only method for determining when a compressor fluid needs to be replaced. Oil analysis provides critical information about the oil’s actual physical and chemical condition, and enables users to know precisely if, and when, their oil has reached the end of its useful life and needs to be replaced. Time-based methods that recommend changing the fluid based on runtime or the calendar, are only a best guess at the oil’s condition, and ignore reality and the impact of each compressor’s unique operating environment.

Why do compressor manufacturers recommend replacing their oils every 8,000 hours, or once a year?

To Sell More Oil. OEM oil sales is the most profitable portion of their business, and the OEMs’ long standing business model is designed to maximize oil sales (user oil purchases). The OEMs are opposed to any maintenance strategies or technologies that increase oil service life and reduce their oil sales.

Which three compressor components are most negatively impacted by solid contaminants found in the oil?

The Compressor Fluid, Bearings and Air-oil Separators are the three components most negatively impacted by solid contaminants found in the oil. The ultra-fine metal solids commonly found in all compressor fluids accelerate oil degradation, bearing wear and separator fouling, prematurely reducing their useful life, and driving up compressor maintenance costs.

What size solid particles are the most destructive to compressor internals?

The Ultra-fine clearance-size particles less than 15 microns are the most destructive to compressor internals. Unlike the larger solids that are too big to fit into tight bearing clearances, the smaller Ultra-fine solids are able to penetrate these clearances and interfere with the oil films where lubrication occurs. Studies show that Ultra-fine solids left in the oil by the OEM’s full-flow filters can dramatically increase bearing wear rates, and reduce bearing (Air-end) life as much 75%!

What type of compressor maintenance is proven to minimize maintenance costs by maximizing component reliability and service life — Reactive, Preventative (time-based), or Reliability Centered (condition-based)?

Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM), also known as Condition-based or Proactive Maintenance is the leading maintenance strategy for companies wanting to minimize their compressor maintenance costs. Adopted by many of the world’s largest compressor users, RCM strives to proactively eliminate the root causes of component failure, and perform maintenance based on a component’s actual condition, or need, instead of a predetermined time schedule recommended by those trying to sell more fluids and parts.

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