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Air Compressor Maintenance & Lubrication

In this article, we explore the importance and process of air compressor maintenance and the best lubrication solutions to facilitate that.

Table of Contents

Air compressor maintenance

Air Compressor Maintenance

Air compressors are used across many industries to utilise pressurised gas in pneumatic applications, fill gas cylinders, pump up tyres, enable the function of HVAC systems, and many other applications.

Air compressor maintenance can be costly, time-consuming and inconvenient without using the right solutions. The negligence of proper air compressor repairs or maintenance can lead to premature breakdowns, loss of product quality and physically dangerous situations.

To prevent unexpected downtimes and reduce the frequency of maintenance of the air compressors, manufacturers must tend to a few critical tasks.

Lubrication is one of the most essential tasks in air compressor maintenance, as it:

  • Reduces wear and friction – improving efficiency and preventing damage
  • Prevents overheating by regulating temperatures
  • Acts as a seal to prevent gas leakage – improving safety
  • Improves reliability and durability of compressors
  • Resists oxidation and corrosion when in contact with water
  • Minimise carbon deposits on compressor components

In addition to using the correct lubricants, it’s important to check for oil and air leaks, inspect the airend, check and change air filters, inspect the drive belts, and drain the condensation from the air receiver tanks. 

Different Types of Air Compressors

Air compressors come in various types, ranging from the rotary screw, rotary vane, reciprocating piston, centrifugal and more. The specific role of the lubricant may differ in each application, to some extent.

Rotary screw compressors require lubricants that provide thermal regulation by absorbing compressor heat, lubricate bearings and provide good sealing properties.

Reciprocating piston compressors require lubricants that minimise wear on cylinders and rings and reduce carbon formation on the valves, preventing overheating.

Centrifugal compressors require lubricants that resist and bear high wear forces, in addition to preventing varnish formation.

Top Lubricants for Air Compressor Maintenance & Repair

Lubricants for air compressors can be applied at various positions within the compressor, including the cylinders, rings, bearings and rotary screws. All of these components need sufficient lubrication to ensure the optimal operation of the air compressor.

Manufacturers that invest in these solutions early on in their compressor manufacturing or operation benefit the most.

Our top lubricant brand Molykote provides lubricants for air compressors, which provide long-term, reliable lubrication with all the key benefits mentioned in the previous section.

Here we explore our top lubricants for air compressor maintenance & repair tasks:

MOLYKOTE® L-4611 Synthetic Reciprocating Compressor Oil

MOLYKOTE® L-4611 is a synthetic reciprocating compressor oil designed for use on piston air compressors in high operating temperatures. It provides good corrosion, rust and oxidation protection, a wide operating temperature range and a diester base for its oil.

MOLYKOTE® D-6818 Anti-Friction Coating

MOLYKOTE® D-6818 is a heat-cured anti-friction coating that can be used on air compressor pistons at medium to high loads. The coating is filled with solid lubricants in an organic binder. It provides good corrosion protection, high load-carrying capability, a wide operating temperature range and high wear resistance.

MOLYKOTE® L-4646 Synthetic High Temp Compressor Oil

MOLYKOTE® L-4646 is a high-performance lubricant oil designed for screw air compressors at high temperatures. It provides good corrosion protection, good oxidation resistance and a wide operating temperature range. It is composed of a synthetic polyolester base oil.

MOLYKOTE® L-1246 Synthetic Compressor Oil

MOLYKOTE® L-1246 is a synthetic PAO-based oil that can be used in screw or piston air compressors. It provides good corrosion protection, long-term lubrication and improved compressor efficiency.


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