Air Compressor Oil Maintenance Best Practices
Is Your Compressor Maintenance Keeping Up with The Times?
The compressed air experts at CAGI (Compressed Air & Gas Institute) warn users that “the methods, tools and quality of maintenance used in the past are no longer adequate in a contemporary production environment.” CAGI’s warning begs a very important question. Has your compressor maintenance kept up with the times and are your methods, tools, and quality of maintenance still adequate in today’s competitive environment? If your company is still following “preventative maintenance” practices, then the answer is NO!
What are the best maintenance practices and tools available to insure maximum reliability of your oil-injected rotary screw air compressors? To answer this question and more, it’s helpful to provide some historical context to see how industrial maintenance has evolved over the half-century in response to the changing demands and developing technologies of the times.
Reactive Maintenance (run-to-failure)
The earliest industrial maintenance dates back before World War II when manufacturing and competition were relatively sparce and demands on equipment maintenance were minimal. In those days, rotating equipment was much less complex, and generally slower speed, heavier-duty, and inherently more reliable. At that time, maintenance technologies and tools were rather limited, and maintenance was mainly “reactive”, with components getting repaired or replaced after they had failed.
This “run-to-failure” approach did nothing to prevent or predict failures, and often led to catastrophic breakdowns that resulted in extended downtime and lost production. This was problematic and before long manufacturers recognized the need to find a better way to maintain their plant’s equipment.