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Food Processing
Oil-Free Air Compressors

Oil in My Food? Food Processing, Food-Grade Oil, and Oil-Free Air


When you’re in the food-processing industry, you’re faced with a choice: should you select an oil-injected or oil-free air compressor to power your application? We provide information on both options below.

Food Grade Oil: Safe to Consume?

If you choose an oil-injected/oil-lubricated air compressor for your food processing application, you’ll need to use food-grade oil to lubricate the air compressor. However, food-grade oil is a mineral oil, petroleum-based derivative – meaning that unlike olive oil or coconut oil, it isn’t meant to be eaten, drank, or otherwise consumed by humans. In fact, the MSDS (material safety data sheet) for food grade oil notes that skin contact and aerosol inhalation should be avoided, as serious health problems can occur. Proper filtration mustbe regularly maintained to prevent this oil from traveling downstream and contaminating the final product. This all needs to be taken into account when using an oil-injected compressor in the food processing industry.

Why Choose Certified Oil-Free Air

Alternatively, choosing an oil-free air compressor eliminates the use of any oil from the equation. The benefits of using Class-0, 100% oil-free air for food processing include:

  • Avoid the need for food-grade oil
  • Save on recurring filtration costs
  • Extended maintenance intervals
  • Avoid the need for condensate treatment
  • Avoid any risk of end-product contamination

This means you will not risk your product’s taste or quality, face losses from downtime, or encounter an injured company reputation from damaged products.

Oil-Free Compressor Options

Atlas Copco offers a variety of oil-free compressor options, including the SF Scroll Compressor. The general benefits of using the SF compressor are:

  • Quiet
  • Small Footprint
  • Simple Design
  • Extended Maintenance Intervals

If you’d like to explore Atlas Copco’s full range of oil-free air compressors, please click here.


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