Guide to Air Compressor Oil – How to Get the Best One

Guide to Air Compressor Oil – How to Get the Best One?

Selecting the appropriate oil for your air compressor is a critical maintenance decision that directly influences the performance and longevity of your device.

Oil serves multiple purposes in an air compressor, from reducing friction between moving components to dissipating heat and sealing internal parts against air leakage.

Poor oil selection can lead to increased energy consumption, equipment damage, and even total breakdown.

Understanding Oils and Lubricants for Air Compressors

Understanding the role and types of air compressor oil constitutes the first step towards optimised compressor performance. 

Oil in air compressors serves several functions, including lubrication to reduce friction, cooling to dissipate heat, sealing to prevent air leakage, cleaning to eliminate debris, noise reduction, corrosion protection, and wear prevention.

There are various types of air compressor oils available on the market. The primary ones are mineral oils, synthetic oils, semi-synthetic oils, and food-grade oils.

Your choice between standard air compressor oil and synthetic-based oil will depend on your specific needs, the compressor’s specifications, and the operating conditions.

Choosing the Right Oil

Choosing the best air compressor oil involves considering the type of compressor (rotary, reciprocating, screw), the operating conditions (temperature, pressure), and the air compressor manufacturer’s recommendations.

Atlas Copco offers a range of the best air compressor oils tailored to different compressor types and conditions.

The right oil can extend the compressor’s lifecycle, enhance heat absorption and oxygen reduction, and ensure optimal performance and energy savings.

Atlas Copco’s Air Compressor Oils

Atlas Copco offers a wide range of speciality oils designed to meet the needs of different oil-lubricated air compressors.

For example, the Atlas Copco Roto-Inject Fluid is a long-life, high-performance synthetic air compressor oil created for the Atlas Copco GA, GX and GR range of rotary screw compressors.

Another notable product is the Atlas Copco Roto-Xtend Duty Fluid, a super high-performance synthetic oil designed for high-pressure screw compressors operating under severe conditions.

For food and beverage industry applications where accidental oil contact with food or food packaging can occur, Atlas Copco offers Atlas Copco FDA-approved Food-Grade Oil. This synthetic compressor oil is tasteless, odourless, and formulated with ingredients that comply with FDA regulations.

In applications that use older or high-usage air compressors, Atlas Copco Roto-Z oil is an ideal choice. This mineral oil-based lubricant offers good resistance to oxidation and protects against rust and corrosion in any air compressor pump, effectively extending the lifespan of your compressor parts.

Choosing Atlas Copco oil means getting a product that has been rigorously tested and proven to perform under the designated operating conditions.

As always, consult your manufacturer’s guidelines and seek expert advice when selecting the most suitable oil for your air compressor.

Oil Maintenance and Change Frequency

Just as important as choosing the right oil is maintaining it appropriately. How often will you need to change the oil? That will largely depend on the type of oil and compressor usage patterns.

Regular oil analysis is a proactive maintenance approach that can help identify potential issues before they turn into costly repairs. Following the manufacturer’s maintenance intervals will aid in extending the compressor’s lifespan and maintaining its peak performance.

Recommendations Based on Applications

Given the range of Atlas Copco oils, here are some recommendations tailored to specific air compressor applications:

Heavy Industrial Applications

Atlas Copco Roto-Xtend Duty Fluid is an excellent choice for heavy-duty applications involving high-pressure compressors operating under severe conditions.

It is a super high-performance synthetic lubricant that offers superior heat absorption and oxidation resistance, ensuring optimal performance and extended compressor lifespan.

Its ISO Viscosity Grade is 46, with a flash point of 260°C, indicating its excellent resistance to extreme temperatures.

Food and Beverage Industry

Atlas Copco’s FDA-approved Food-Grade Oil is the ideal choice for applications in the food and beverage industry where accidental oil contact with food or food packaging must be avoided. This oil complies fully with FDA regulations and is odourless and tasteless. It has an ISO Viscosity Grade of 46 and a flash point of 270°C, providing optimal lubrication and protection against corrosion even under high operating temperatures.

High-Usage or Older Compressors

Atlas Copco Roto-Z is recommended in the case of older or frequently used air compressors. This mineral oil-based lubricant offers oxidation resistance and protects against rust and corrosion. Its ISO Viscosity Grade is 32, and it has a flash point of 210°C, offering excellent stability and protective qualities to extend the lifespan of compressor parts.

General Applications

Consider Atlas Copco Roto-Inject Fluid for general applications. Specifically created for Atlas Copco’s GA, GX, and GR range of rotary screw compressors, this long-life high-performance synthetic oil has an ISO Viscosity Grade of 46 and a flash point of 230°C. It offers high resistance to heat, and superb lubrication under most operating conditions.

Remember, these are general guidelines and specific needs can vary. Always consult the manufacturer’s guide or reach out to an expert for personalised advice tailored to your situation.

Guide to Air Compressor Oil – How to Get the Best One
Guide to Air Compressor Oil – How to Get the Best One?

Risks of Using the Wrong Oil

Using the wrong oil poses risks such as equipment damage, increased energy consumption, and, in extreme cases, total breakdown.

Environmental factors like temperature and humidity can also affect oil performance, accelerate oil ageing, and increase compressor wear and tear.

Technical Differences Between Motor Oil and Air Compressor Oil

You cannot use standard motor oil in air compressors. The essential difference between motor oil and air compressor oil lies in their respective viscosities and operating environments. Viscosity, measured in units of centistokes (cSt) or square millimetres per second (mm2/s), is a crucial parameter that influences how effectively an oil lubricates, cools, and seals.

Motor oil typically has a viscosity range from 5W-40 to 20W-50, where ‘W’ stands for winter. This multidimensional viscosity ensures that the oil remains fluid in cold temperatures (for cold starts) and retains its thickness at high temperatures to protect the engine.

Air compressor oil is generally single-grade with a viscosity range of 32 to 46 cSt at 40°C because air compressors operate in a much narrower temperature range compared to vehicles, and they require oil that can retain an optimal thickness across this range.

Oil-Free Compressors

Control Gear supplies oil-free compressors that provide a viable option for applications where oil contamination is a concern, such as the food and beverage industry, pharmaceuticals, or electronics manufacturing.

Atlas Copco’s oil-free compressors eliminate the need for oil in the compression chamber resulting in pure, clean compressed air.

Compressed air line filters can further enhance air quality by removing particulates, oil mist, and vapour.

Learn more about Control Gear’s range of oil-free compressors.

Atlas Copco Oil-Free Compressors: Product Highlights

Atlas Copco’s oil-free compressors are a testament to the company’s commitment to technology, innovation, and sustainability. 

Here are a few product highlights that offer clean, high-quality compressed air:

ZT/ZR Series

The ZT/ZR oil-free rotary screw compressors provide 100% pure, clean air that complies with ISO 8573-1 CLASS 0 (2010) certification. With an output capacity of 5.5 – 55 kW, these compressors are suitable for sensitive applications such as food & beverage production, pharmaceuticals, and electronics manufacturing.

SF/SFX Series

These oil-free scroll compressors offer silent operation and high energy efficiency. The SF/SFX series, with an output capacity range of 1.5 – 22 kW, is perfect for demanding applications that value low noise levels and minimal maintenance.

ZD Series

The ZD high-pressure, oil-free reciprocating compressors offer a flexible, reliable, and high-quality source of compressed air up to 70 bar. With an output capacity of 6.7 – 37.5 kW, they are ideal for applications like PET bottle blowing and nitrogen generation.

ZS Series

The ZS series of oil-free positive displacement screw blowers is a perfect choice for applications requiring high-capacity air. With an output capacity of up to 22.5 – 160 kW, the ZS series is popular in wastewater treatment plants, pneumatic conveying, and power generation facilities.

These oil-free compressors by Atlas Copco are designed with the user’s needs and environmental sustainability in mind. They assure users of high-quality, contaminant-free air, and significantly reduced energy costs.

Final Thoughts on Air Compressor Oil Types

Choosing the right air compressor oil can significantly enhance your compressor’s performance and extend its lifespan. Always refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines before you change air compressor oil. Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Investing in the right oil for your air compressor is not just a choice – it is a necessity. The performance and longevity of your equipment rely heavily on the lubrication you choose. The wrong selection could lead to costly repairs or, worse, the premature failure of your air compressor.

Oil-free compressors by Atlas Copco offer a dependable solution for industries where air purity is paramount, such as food and beverage, pharmaceuticals, or electronics manufacturing. 

These compressors ensure the delivery of clean, high-quality compressed air with a range of products designed for various output capacities and applications.

Remember, using the correct lubricant is not just about maintaining equipment. It is about ensuring efficiency, safeguarding operations from costly downtime, and contributing to a sustainable future. In the world of air compressors, the correct oil is the lifeblood of equipment.

Contact our experts 

Finding the perfect oil can be quite a challenge which is why our team of experts at Control Gear is here to offer personalised advice and guide you in selecting the ideal oil for your unique needs.

Get in touch with us today and experience the difference!