Each manufacturer’s make and model of rotary screw air compressor gives specific guidelines for preventative maintenance in the operations manual sent with the air compressor. You’ve invested a good deal of money in your new compressor, to protect your new investment it’s a wise idea to follow these preventative maintenance procedures. Keep in mind this is not a comprehensive list, but it’s a good start and will help give peace of mind knowing you are not neglecting your air compressor.
Every manufacturer of rotary screw air compressors provide an Operators Manual with specific guidelines for preventative maintenance. You’ve invested a good deal of money in your new compressor, to protect your new investment it’s a wise idea to follow the preventative maintenance procedures. Some compressor designs may require more steps and checks, but here is a good place to start to get the longest life out of your investment.
Daily: Check for abnormalities (unusual sound, vibration, leaks, warnings or alarms on the controller, etc.)
- Check oil level
- Monitor temperature and pressure
- Check control panel for any alarms or maintenance lights
Monthly: Perform Daily checks
- Clean inlet air filter and enclosure filters.
- Check operation (load and unload, low and high pressure set-points, maintaining pressure, etc)
Quarterly: Check hour meter and check the maintenance schedule to determine if its time for maintenance to be scheduled. Your compressor may require lubrication change at 2,000, 4,000 or 8,000 hours depending on the manufacturer’s recommendations.
- Take oil sample if needed
- Check separator scavenger line flow (if applicable)
- Check v-belts (if applicable)
- Perform daily and monthly checks
Semi-Annual or 4000 hours: Perform Quarterly Check list.
- Change air/oil separator filters (spin on or drop in type)
- Take oil sample and sent to compressor vendor
Annual or 8000 hours: Start by checking annual maintenance list for manufacturer’s recommendations:
- Change lubricant
- Change air / oil separator (drop in type)
- Perform quarterly checks
Keep in mind; these are the basic maintenance items needed to keep an oil flooded rotary screw compressor in good operation. This preventative maintenance program is designed for a standard condition, but as we all know most installations for air compressors would be considered dirty and dusty environments.
Another factor that is critical to the life of a compressor is the actual run time. All rotary screw compressors underlying guideline for maintenance is hours of operation. Most installations never operate 24 hrs per day / 7 days a week. There are only 8760 hours in a year and anything less than 24 hours will result in lower hours, which affect the amount of maintenance needed for each installation.
So, with all of these factors to consider, what does an owner of an oil flooded rotary screw compressor do to properly maintain the air compressor to ensure long reliable operation?
To answer this question we need to look at several factors:
First the environment is the one factor that governs all of the others. If your compressor is running in a dirty environment where you have to keep cleaning the coolers externally to keep the compressor cool and the air filter is continually dirty when you inspect it periodically; then you have a dirty environment. Use the monthly recommendations and not the hours of run time.
2) Hours of operation (less than 4000 hrs per year)
In this case the recommendation would be to follow the time frame set out for preventative maintenance as described in the operations manual. Use monthly intervals for filter changes and not the hours of operation as your guide. This means air and oil filters changed every quarter (or more frequently) as well as air/oil separators changed per instruction manual. Please note if you are running 24 hrs / 7 days then air and oil filters will need to be changed in accordance with OEM recommendations.
Costs of preventative maintenance should be only considered as a last resort as it has been proven in many studies that preventative maintenance saves money. A proper preventative maintenance program will translate into more reliable operation and less down times for the owner. This will create a more efficient production process for the owner which generates income on a consistent basis.
In all other instances the OEM manual should be used as a guideline for changing all filters for the proper maintenance your rotary screw compressor.
A properly maintained air compressor can be accomplished by following several practical guidelines and discussing your needs with an FS-Curtis compressed air professional. To learn more download the product information or contact your local FS Curtis distributor.