What Is an Oil Free Compressor?

In a traditional compressor, oil is used to seal, lubricate and cool. This leaves oil content in the compressed air that must then be removed through separation or filtration.

In industries where air purity is critical (particularly, in sterile environments), even the tiniest drop of oil brings the risk of contamination. This can result in product spoilage, rework, production downtime, and even damage to brand reputation if the problem is not discovered and corrected.

Oil free compressors use an alternative sealing/lubricating/cooling medium such as water, or the compression takes place in multiple stages. This reduces or eliminates the risk and associated costs of contamination.

Applications for Oil Free Compressors

Oil free compressors are used in industries and applications where even the slightest bit of oil carry-over is unacceptable. These can include:

  • Medical / Hospitals
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Food & Beverage
  • Life Science
  • Chemical
  • Power Generation

Oil Free Compressor Technologies

In oil free compressors, the air is compressed through the action of the screws, without the need for an oil seal. As a result, they generally have lower maximum discharge pressure capability. In multi-stage oil free compressors, however, the air is compressed by multiple sets of screws.

The types of technologies used in oil free compressors include:

  • Water injected compressors
  • Two stage dry screws
  • Single or two stage oil free pistons
  • Centrifugal compressors

The Future of Compressed Air

As operational facilities must meet their own increasingly stringent quality standards and keep in compliance with expanding regulation, we may well see oil free compressors play an increasingly important role in the future of compressed air.

If you want to know more about the benefits of oil free compressors, and if they might be the right fit for your production needs, contact the C&B Equipment sales and service team today.


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