Why is an Oil Heater Important?

During the operation of a screw compressor under low load or frequent start-stop cycles, the oil temperature continuously heats up and cools down. Therefore, an oil heater is crucial to keep the oil warm and prevent condensation inside the compressor.

What is an oil heater?

An oil heater is a device used to heat the oil that lubricates the screw compressor. Screw compressors are machines used to compress air using two rotating screws. To ensure that these screws work efficiently and reliably, it is important to maintain the correct temperature of the lubricating oil. Why? With the help of an oil heater, you can maintain a constant temperature and remove concerns about corrosion or condensation in the compressor.

When the oil is heated to the correct temperature, the screws work more efficiently and with less energy, which can lead to increased energy efficiency.

Three ways to prevent condensation

Condensation can present significant challenges in the operation of screw compressors, potentially leading to unexpected damage and reduced efficiency. Fortunately, there are three solutions to effectively deal with condensation in screw compressors.

By choosing one or more of these solutions, you can effectively combat condensation in your screw compressor.

Oil heater

Installing an oil heater in your screw compressor can make a big difference. It maintains the optimal temperature of the oil, prevents condensation, ensures trouble-free operation and extends the life of the screw compressor.

Larger tank capacity

A larger tank provides more storage capacity for oil, reducing the risk of condensate. This simple solution reduces moisture-related challenges associated with smaller tanks and improves the operational reliability of your screw compressor.

Variable Speed Drive (VSD)

Choosing a variable speed screw compressor is a strategic decision. VSD technology allows your compressor to work at variable speeds and adjust performance to air demand. This reduces start-stop cycles, thereby minimizing temperature fluctuations and condensation problems.

Internal image of C43 VSD

How does an oil heater work?

The oil heater is installed inside or around the oil tank of a compressor. It is crucial because it prevents the oil from getting colder than 40 degrees Celsius, which means that the oil does not become too viscous (thickness).

The oil heater is equipped with a thermostat that regulates the operating temperature of the compressor oil. When the temperature falls below the set level, a heater is activated to increase the oil temperature. After the heater is activated, it begins to generate heat, which is transferred to the oil. This gradually heats the oil and brings it up to the desired operating temperature.

When the oil reaches the set temperature, the heater switches off automatically to prevent the oil from getting too hot.

Benefits of an oil heater

Benefit Explanation
Prevents condensation An oil heater helps keep the oil at a constant temperature, which prevents condensation in the oil tank. This is essential as condensation can lead to corrosion, contamination of the oil and reduced lubricity, potentially causing damage to the compressor.
Prevents damage The oil heater helps prevent damage that can occur due to cold and thick oil in the compressor, especially in cold environments.
Increases energy efficiency Properly heated oil has a lower viscosity, which reduces the energy required to drive the screw compressor. This can result in improved energy efficiency and potential cost savings.
Increases reliability With an oil heater, the screw compressor can run continuously and reliably under different temperature conditions. This stability eliminates unexpected downtime and costly repairs, ensuring continuous productivity.

Find out more about screw compressors here