Vane Compressors Lubrication

By 21 May 2018

Two kinds of vane compressors are available, oil-free and oil-flooded. In the former kind, adequate lubrication is necessary to minimize friction and wear on the vanes and/or wear ring, and to assist in sealing. Quite high bearing pressures can be generated by the force of the vanes on the slots, calling for a lubricant forming a tenacious oil film.

Bearing lubrication is normally independent by means of a force-feed lubricator. Oil for lubricating the vanes may be fed to the casing via the air intake, direct to the casing or through the shaft. The first method is usually preferred, loading the air with oil from an atomizer; air at discharge pressure may be used to inject oil into the intake. The other two methods involve force feeding, either direct to the ends of the rotor or through a hole in the centre of the shaft. In the latter case, interconnecting radial holes drilled along the length of the shaft throw out oil under centrifugal force. The vanes in these compressors are usually made from cast iron which has good self-lubricating properties.

In the second kind of vane compressor, the compression chamber is flooded with oil, for the purpose of removing the heat of compression. Much more oil is supplied than is needed for lubrication or for sealing. Vanes in this type of compressor are usually made of a reinforced resin material, and are much lighter than metallic vanes, reducing the centrifugal bearing forces.

Rotary compressors of the dry type do not require internal lubrication because the rotors operate with a positive clearance. Only shaft bearings and the timing gears require lubrication; plain bearings may be lubricated by ring oilers and timing gears by splash lubrication. When rolling bearings are used, bearings at the timing end may be lubricated by oil and those at the other end by grease.