Selection Guide: Lubricated or Oil-Free Air Compressor Which One is The Best

Selection Guide: Lubricated or Oil-Free Air Compressor Which One is The Best

When the time comes to determine the type of air compressor that suits best for the requisite application, it’s very easy to get confused – as there is a wide variety of machines to choose from. Hence, it can become difficult to know where to look and even where to start from.

Choosing which system is best depends on the type of industrial application

There are diverse factors one has to remember in the scenario of purchasing an air compressor. Putting aside factors like – the size, bar (for air pressure), and rating indicated in CFM (for airflow), one has to decide between an oil-lubricated and oil-free compressed air system.

The decision of choosing a particular system type is based on the various types of applications where the air compressor will operate. This is the sole reason it is advisable to have a good understanding of the ways in which such compressed air systems operate and also the exact applications for which they are required. Research the top air compressor suppliers in the market to garner more information.

Oil-lubricated air compressors

The oil injection used in such compressors facilitates in keeping the entire system cool by dispersing the heat and also performs the task of a lubricant between the moving parts, thereby reducing the amount of friction. The oil present here also provides sealing and aids in reduction of noise.

Along with the rotary screw type, oil-flooded or oil-injected air compressors come equipped with piston technology. The robustness, the capacity of these machines to work silently and their top notch efficiency make them ideal for a plethora of pneumatic tools and accessories.

The concern of oil carryover exists among many customers, and so certain lubricated air compressor(s) – specially therotary screw types – are designed optimally to deliver compressed air with the least oil carryover. The use of additional downstream filters diminishes the chance of oil carryover to obtain high quality compressed air, befitting for industrial applications. Employing this process helps in the generation of industrial grade air for sectors like – manufacturing, recycling, construction, quarrying and waste management.

Oil-free air compressors

As is easily understandable from the name, these machines do not require oil on the compression chamber or cylinder walls. A material like PTFE is used to coat cylinders – making them pre-lubricated, which enables the piston to slide easily inside.

Due to the permanent lubrication, the pressurised air produced by these oil-free compressors have a similar quality of input air; hence, the output air stays  oil-free.

Oil-less or oil-free air compressors are required for certain sectors where the air has to be totally free from any oil vapour or moisture. They are deployed for very sensitive applications like :

  • Food & beverage processing.
  • Pharmaceutical manufacture.
  • Surgical machines, operating ventilators, inhaled medication systems (breathing air certified machines) and other vital equipment in hospitals.
  • Electronics, semiconductor and manufacturing.
  • Automotive spray painting.
  • Textile manufacturing.

The oil-free mechanism ensures the reduction of carbon footprint of such air compressors.

The primary pros and cons of oil-free and oil-lubricated air compressor:

Oil Free Compressors Prevent Air Contamination

Certain niche industries requiring absolutely clean air are where oil free compressors are required. The food and beverage, electronics and medicine industries demand zero air contamination in their product range. Though filters can be placed with oil lubricated compressors, still most people go for an oil free system.

Oil Free Compressors Need Less Maintenance

For lubricated compressors, oil changes at regular intervals amount to stringent maintenance in comparison to the oil free ones. With less oil and lesser moving parts, the potential scenarios of problems arising are reduced, meaning less requirement for a service. However, a regular and systematic maintenance of air compressor system should be maintained at all times to prevent unwanted downtimes.

Oil Lubricated Compressors Have a Longer Life Span

For heavy industrial cases where longer working hours are involved, lubricated air compressors have the upper hand owing to their durability and longer service span. Oil free compressors are known to cater to only small amounts of usage and come with shorter life spans, and hence are ideal for domestic applications.

Oil Free Compressors Have Low Cost and Weight

Oil free compressors usually have less number of parts than their oil counterparts, and therefore they are lighter in weight – and surprisingly, are priced lower too. The structural designs and internal blueprints are also simpler in nature.

Oil Lubricated Compressors Generate Less Heat & Noise

Oil lubricated air compressors make very less noise and also maintain a cooler temperature owing to the lubrication. The presence of oil dissipates the heat from the compression process, whereas oil free air compressors generate more heat and sound during the operational process.

Zentech Systems & Solutions are one of the top air compressor suppliers providing a wide range of both oil free and oil lubricated air compressors along with full scale consultation and solutions at very competitive prices for all your applications.

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