Different Types of Air/Oil Separators

Jul 20


Nikolai Paloni

Nikolai Paloni

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Review key differences differences between air/oil filters: Conventional Wrap Style Air/Oil Separators Pleated Air/Oil Separators Deep Filter Air Oil Separators Spin-on Air/oil Separators Refrigeration and Natural Gas Air/oil Separators


What is an air/oil separator?

Rotary screw compressors and rotary vane compressors inject compressor oil right into the compression chamber with the air being compressed. The oil serves as both a coolant and lubricant,Different Types of Air/Oil Separators Articles absorbing the heat of compression.

The main benefit of using compressor lubricant as a coolant is a steady air compressor operating temperature no matter what duty cycle, thus creating a continuous duty air compressor. But injecting the compressor oil into the compression chamber also creates a problem — when it leaves the compressor air end, the compressed air is full of oil.

In order to protect the air system, the compressor lubricant needs to be removed and returned to the oil sump for reuse. The oil separator is the component that separates the compressor lubricant from the compressed air and returns it to the main oil sump.


Conventional Wrap Style Air/Oil Filters

Most wrap-style oil separators are glass fiber elements with a consistent pore size. The wrap style oil separator was the original design to remove oil aerosols from compressed air streams. In general, a pleated or deep air oil separator retrofit will add service life and reduce oil carryover.

Pleated Air/Oil Separators

A filter pleat that looks a little like a wave is added to the air/oil separators media during manufacturer. Pleated filter media increases the air/oil separators capacity. Pleated oil separators can handle on average two times the airflow of a conventional air/oil separator.

Deep Filter Air/Oil Separators

Deep filter air/oil separators have several grades of glass fiber filter media wrapped on them. The benefit of a deep filter separator is increased airflow capacity similar to a pleated separator, while maintaining a low initial pressure drop and residual oil content. These separators can handle more oil aerosol than a conventional or pleated separator.

Spin-on Air/Oil Separators

Typically a spin-on air/oil separator is a deep style air/oil separator placed inside a spin-on filter can. Spin-on air/oil Separators are extremely easy to change out but are limited in application because of airflow capacity restrictions.

Refrigeration and Natural Gas Air/Oil Separators

Special materials of construction are used in these oil separators to ensure chemical compatibility with gases including Freon, ammonia, and natural gas. These gases and other material often present in natural gas are not compatible with standard air/oil separators, therefore the need for special refrigeration and natural gas air/oil separators.