Compressor Oil Analysis—Basic and Advanced Tests
It would be hard to find an industry that doesn’t rely on air compressors in some capacity. For power plants, mining, construction and many others, compressors are critical and so is the compressor lubricant. In order to ensure smooth operation a compressor’s pistons, rings, screws, bearings, lobes and/or vanes all need to be lubricated.
Since compressed air generates a lot of heat, one of the most important roles of a compressor lubricant is heat removal. In order to maintain that cooling function and prevent rapid equipment failure, the oil needs to retain its original viscosity as much as possible. This makes regular viscosity testing imperative along with other basic tests such as spectroscopy, acid number, particle count, and Karl Fischer water. More advanced tests include varnish, RULER, filter debris analysis and material identification analysis.
TestOil Field/Data Analyst Dwon Ruffin explains, “Other concerns with compressors include verification of the product and/or specifications and lubricant compatibility. It is important to know the type of oil you are dealing with, to match the right product and additives with the demands of the equipment. Another big concern is contamination, especially with gas.”
Compressor lubricant is susceptible to contamination because of inlet air containing high moisture, particles and chemicals from nearby processes, combustion exhaust, and environmental contaminants in general. Dwon adds that, with compressors in particular, it can be a challenge just getting access to the lubricant in order to test it—to find a good sample location. This is something TestOil can help with.
In addition to the tests previously mentioned, compressor OEMs also recommend analytical ferrography, which TestOil offers free of charge (some oil analysis labs don’t offer it at all).
With more than 30 years of experience in the oil analysis industry, TestOil focuses exclusively on assisting industrial facilities with reducing maintenance costs and avoiding unexpected downtime through oil analysis program implementation. As industry experts in diagnosing oil-related issues in equipment such as turbines, hydraulics, gearboxes, pumps, compressors and diesel generators, TestOil provides customers with a guarantee of same-day turnaround on all routine testing. With in-house, certified training professionals, TestOil offers lubrication and oil analysis training, private onsite training, certification training and exams, and educational webinars. For more information on partnering with TestOil on oil analysis programs or training opportunities visit www.testoil.com.