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The International Marine Contractors Association

Oil Lubricated Compressors

AODC 027
September 1984

Cooling water. Sampling After any major maintenance or repair work on the compressor a sample of the gas should be taken and analysed before it is used. (Statutory testing of storage cylinders is much AODC 027 – September 1984 Page 1 . If there is any doubt as to the suitable lubricant. A routine sample should be taken for analysis at a maximum interval of 6 months from the date of the last sample taken. Temperature If a compressor overheats then the oil will degrade and give off contaminants. if used. a number of points are stressed: Lubricant It is important that the only lubricant used is an oil intended for use in compressors for breathing purposes. Filtration A properly designed filtration and purification system should be fitted to the high pressure outlet from the compressor. particularly from the oil used as a lubricant. Concern has been expressed that these may introduce contaminants into the breathing gas. If an air cooled compressor is used then it should be properly ventilated. The temperature rise of the gas due to compression should be considered when arranging cooling for the compressor. After consultation with a wide variety of users. This could be an alarm or even heat sensitive paint. All compressors should be fitted with a visible means of indication of overheating. The consumable units in this system should be changed regularly using the "hours run" indicator as a basis and not on a calendar basis. Arrangements should be made to keep this as low as possible in order to protect equipment from any corrosion effects.Oil Lubricated Compressors A large number of oil lubricated piston type compressors are in use in the commercial diving industry for gas pumping and transfer. reference should be made to the compressor manufacturer. Water There is always a certain amount of water vapour present in any gas. stating clearly the purpose of the compressor. Other oils should not be used. should be monitored.

therefore. It must also be remembered that the compressor is only one part of the gas system and all other parts must be in good condition and well maintained to ensure safe operations. It is very important. Helium Recovery There are not special additional problems in using oil-lubricated compressors in helium recovery systems other than the fear that any contaminant present will simply be recirculated. that piston rings are not allowed to deteriorate. in particular. The principal problems encountered in the past have involved compressors which were allowed to overheat. Maintenance It is important that regular maintenance is carried out to a suitable schedule and. that the points highlighted in this note are carefully considered in any helium recovery system.less demanding if records can be produced showing that only dry gas has been stored). or where the piston rings were allowed to deteriorate. Page 2 AODC 027 – September 1984 . CONCLUSION These types of compressor have been used with few problems over many years and they should perform safely if the basic rules identified in this note are followed.