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The customer insisted that the compressor was only used when needed and was turned off when not in use, this was the problem. The screw compressor was not being used enough and was not regularly serviced. Therefore the compressor never reached its correct working temperature and could not evaporate out the water vapour that’s compressed along with the air.
An industrial rotary screw compressor can run 24/7 without a break; in fact, it’s better for them. Other compressor types like the piston compressor function better under an intermittent duty cycle with regular breaks and short bursts of energy.
The rotary screw compressor is designed for consistency in running time and does not like stopping and starting. Rotary screws are some of the most energy efficient compressors on the market, however, low usage or poor maintenance can result in damage from accumulated condensation. Low Hour Compressors Still Need Servicing.
During times of lower demand, the compressor may not reach and keep a consistent and sufficiently high working temperature to maintain suspended condensate as vapour in the air. When air is hot it has a far greater ability to hold higher water content.
Screw compressor systems have many areas that are specifically designed to remove condensate such as; dryers, filters, receivers and auto drains. The dryer is the key to the system, it’s the coldest part, therefore, most of the water vapour suspended in the air is condensed into a condensate and removed.
However in low use compressor systems often the above drying process occurs inside the compressor due to long cooling periods of no use. The compressor oil sits on top of the condensate resulting in key components being exposed to an aggressive corroding environment.
Regular inspection and maintenance of your compressor are essential, recognising this problem and carrying out a simple oil change could save catastrophic failure in one of the most expensive parts of the compressor.
Rotary screw compressors are more complicated than other compressor types and should be serviced and checked out regularly by a certified technician, especially if the compressor has low operating hours. Unfortunately in this case because of the damage, the compressor needed multiple parts replaced; a cost that far outweighed the initial cost of regular maintenance.