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Understanding air compressor lubrication and oils

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article image Sullube’s non-varnishing performance eliminates risk of airend failure
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Lubricants play a major role in the operation, reliability, performance and longevity of air compressors. Lubricants not only lubricate the moving parts of the compressor but also provide sealing and cooling to the airend, resulting in greater efficiency of the system. Correct lubricant selection can, therefore, lead to a wide range of benefits for the user including higher reliability, reduced maintenance, wider operating temperature range, improved energy ratings and better safety. Lubricants are broadly classified as mineral oils or synthetic oils.

Mineral oils are naturally occurring non-vegetable oils derived from crude petroleum through the process of distillation. Widely used for over 100 years, mineral oil delivered good performance but also came with some inherent limitations such as quick oxidation and exposure to high temperature and water contamination reducing oil life.

Synthetic oils are chemically engineered manmade products that are formulated with specific characteristics to suit the particular application.

In compressors, a lubricant has to handle high temperatures, high pressures, presence of water, and dust exposure. A wrong grade of lubricant can lead to reduced equipment life resulting in breakdowns and loss of valuable production time for the user.

Sullair Australia has been using Sullube as the primary lubricant for their compressors for over ten years. A synthetic polyglycol lubricant designed specifically to combat issues associated with operating an air compressor under extreme conditions, Sullube delivers several advantages in compressed air applications.

Sullube’s non-varnishing performance eliminates risk of airend failure. Existing varnish build-up can be removed using the lubricant by performing a flush conversion, decreasing energy demand, improving cooling, and extending the life of the airend.

Sullube lubricant’s higher thermal conductivity helps the equipment run cooler and allows for easier stabilisation of operating temperature. The biodegradable condensate from Sullube can be directly discharged into sanitary sewer systems.

Sullube has a high flash point (263°C), which combined with good cooling ability, promotes safe and reliable operation. Sullube offers excellent film thickness in all temperatures; even at 105°C, the lubricant provides adequate bearing lubrication.

Sullube has very low carryover (less than 1 ppm), requiring less fluid for top off. Sullube also offers benefits such as corrosion protection, non-foaming properties and inhibited oxidation for longer life.

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