Please note that this article is based on Episode 2 of What Floats Your Bubble?, our aeration blowers podcast. Listen to Episode 2 here.
Did you know that for any type of rotating equipment or equipment with motors, oil is the hero? That’s right! Oil plays an extremely important role in most types of machinery, given that its role as a lubricant helps to ensure equipment efficiency and longevity. This is also true for blowers, which are oil-free – even though we bet oil-free doesn’t exactly mean what you think it means! We cover this below, as well as explore the impact that oil has on system integrity and system temperature.
Wait – Oil is in Oil-Free Blowers? Explain!
Correct! Blowers are typically oil-free technologies, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t oil in the in the larger blower system (that would be oil-less). Instead, oil-free indicates that the blower is ISO Class 0, which implies that there is no oil in the air stream; i.e. the air is free of oil-related contaminants. However, oil is present in the blower itself, being used to lubricate bearings and gears (if gears are present in the blower). The oil should be kept as clean and cool as possible in order to ensure that it has the longest lifespan possible.
Oil Replacement in Blowers
The oil in your blower has reached the end of its life – what next? Oil replacement, that’s what! The typical schedule for a blower oil change depends the technology and equipment design, and keep in mind that all oils are not created equal. Rather, different oils are made for different things, and the oil you select for your blower is heavily dependent upon your specific application needs. For example, in harsh environments, you might need to use a thicker, more viscous oil, whereas less-harsh applications might require a thinner oil that would be able to do more than simply lubricate parts. This means that it’s essential to select an oil that is purpose-built for your unique process!
Why Is Oil Important to Blower System Integrity and Temperature?
Oil is composed of small particles that form a cushion that buffers metal to metal contact. As time passes, these particles are continually mashed together, making this buffer “decrease.” Eventually metal to metal contact will occur, which leads to excess heat and friction, and eventually will result in the destruction of gears and bearings. It’s normal for oil to degrade over time, especially with organic oil (synthetic oils are less prone to degradation). The temperature and dirtiness of your oil also impact the oil’s degradation rate, as well as the overall quality of your blower’s lubrication of gears and bearings. The worst-case scenario is the catastrophic failure of equipment.