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Oil-Injected vs. Oil-Free Rotary Screw Compressors: What's the Difference?

Rotary screw compressors, also known as screw air compressors, are somewhat of an industrial staple when it comes to air compression as they are capable of long-term continuous use with minimal wear and tear. However, when it comes to rotary screw compressors, there are two primary types – oil-injected and oil-free – and understanding the differences between these two variants is crucial for businesses looking to invest in the right compressor for their specific applications.

Here we will take a look at how oil-injected rotary screw compressors differ from their oil-free counterparts and explore how each of them fits into the overall ecosystem of industrial air compressors in Singapore.


An Overview of Rotary Screw Compressors

Rotary screw compressors are widely used in industrial settings for their ability to deliver a continuous supply of compressed air with high efficiency and reliability. These compressors operate on the principle of two interlocking helical rotors that compress air as they rotate. The compressed air is then discharged at the desired pressure for various applications, including pneumatic tools, manufacturing processes, and air-powered machinery.


Oil-Injected Rotary Screw Compressors

Oil-injected rotary screw compressors, as the name suggests, use oil as a lubricant and coolant for the compression process. The oil is injected into the compression chamber to seal the gaps between the rotors, reducing leakage and facilitating smoother operation. Additionally, the oil absorbs heat generated during compression, helping to cool the air and lubricate the internal components of the compressor. This lubrication mechanism contributes to the efficient and reliable performance of oil-injected rotary screw compressors.


Oil-Free Rotary Screw Compressors

By contrast, oil-free rotary screw compressors eliminate the need for oil in the compression process. Instead of using oil to seal the rotors, these compressors employ alternative sealing mechanisms such as specialised coatings, tight tolerances, or water injection. By eliminating oil from the compression chamber, oil-free rotary screw compressors produce clean, oil-free compressed air. This is suitable for applications where oil contamination is a concern, such as food and beverage processing, pharmaceutical manufacturing, and electronics production.


Performance and Efficiency

Both oil-injected and oil-free rotary screw compressors offer high levels of performance and efficiency. Oil-injected compressors typically operate at higher pressures and capacities compared to their oil-free counterparts, making them suitable for heavy-duty industrial applications that require continuous, high-volume air supply. However, oil-free compressors excel in applications where air quality is paramount, as they eliminate the risk of oil contamination in the compressed air stream. Put bluntly, oil-injected compressors deliver quantity, while their oil-free counterparts deliver quality.


Maintenance Requirements

Maintenance requirements differ between oil-injected and oil-free rotary screw compressors. Oil-injected compressors require regular oil changes, filter replacements, and inspections to ensure proper lubrication and prevent oil contamination in the compressed air. On the other hand, oil-free compressors have lower maintenance needs since they do not rely on oil for lubrication. However, they may require periodic maintenance of sealing components to maintain optimal performance and efficiency.


Environmental Considerations

Oil-injected rotary screw compressors pose environmental concerns due to the potential for oil contamination in the compressed air stream. In applications where clean, oil-free air is essential, such as in the production of sensitive electronic components or pharmaceuticals, oil contamination can result in product defects or regulatory non-compliance, ultimately causing the wastage of output. Oil-free rotary screw compressors offer a sustainable solution by eliminating the risk of oil contamination and reducing environmental impact.


Choosing the Right Compressor for Your Needs

When choosing between oil-injected and oil-free rotary screw compressors for industrial air compressor systems in Singapore, it's essential to consider your specific requirements, including air quality standards, application demands, and environmental considerations. If you are unsure about the exact implications of your choice on your bottom line, an experienced industrial air compressor provider in Singapore, such as AirNergy Compressor Services, can help you evaluate your options and make an informed decision based on your unique needs and priorities.


AirNergy Compressor Services: Effective Solutions to Suit your Requirements


With a team of expert engineers at your disposal, making the right choice of rotary screw compressor and ensuring it continues operating at optimal efficiency is no hard task. For guaranteed results with regard to all your air compression needs, choose Airnergy Compressor Services. 


As a leading service provider in Singapore backed by decades of experience, we’ll ensure the implementation of a long-term solution that enhances your operational efficiency, from a successful installation to regular maintenance and prompt repair. Contact us today and benefit from professional assistance with your air compression requirements.

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