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Technology, Oil-Free Air Compressors

What does it really mean to be ‘oil-free’?



From our morning bowl of cereal and the clothes we wear to the smart phone in our pocket, compressed air touches many aspects of our daily lives. Compressed air plays a central role in many industries, including food, automotive, textile, packaging and electronics manufacturing that deliver goods to consumers every day. While all reputable manufacturers employ strict quality control measures to ensure their products meet and exceed the highest standards, manufacturers can completely eliminate variables that contribute to contamination by choosing the right compressor for the job.

Oil-injected compressors require multi-stage filters.

Air compressors have come a long way to ensure that the air used in critical manufacturing applications is as pure as possible. Consider the modern lubricated screw compressor; technological advances have ensured that the oil content in the air is very limited. Oil content can be further reduced by using a multi-stage filter solution.

However, it is difficult to control the amount of oil present in the air after filtration due to factors such as temperature, which has a significant impact on the separation process. Unfortunately, the process of filtration is never really fail safe. Failure of any component in the filter chain could lead to large amounts of oil contaminating the process and the compressed air distribution system.

Oil-free air compressors eliminate the need for in-line oil filtration.

An oil-free screw compressor virtually eliminates the need for in-line oil filtration and in most cases will eliminate the risk of oil contamination completely. The need for costly filter replacements, large sump tank oil changes and ongoing maintenance due to oil residue is eliminated and can result in substantial compounded savings over the life of the compressor. The result is life cycle savings that are much greater than the initial cost of choosing oil-free over oil-injected compressors.

For these reasons, many manufacturers in critical applications industries choose ISO 8573-1 Class Zero oil-free compressors  that provide clean, 100 percent oil-free air. ISO 8573-1 standards define air quality levels and methods for determining contaminants in the air system. Class Zero is the industry standard in industries that require 100 percent pure air.

The Risk of Contamination

If contamination were to occur, manufacturing operations would have to be slowed or stopped altogether, resulting in downtime, product waste, loss of productivity and a damaged reputation if product recalls become necessary. When it’s time to replace your air compressors, be sure to consider the benefits of oil-free air compressors, including the complete elimination of potential product contamination from lubricating oil in the compressed air, and consider the security and peace of mind that oil-free air provides.

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