Understanding air compressor lubrication and oils

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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