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When zero is hero: Class 0 oil-free versus technically oil-free air

May 21, 2019


L-R: Rand-Air’s Sales Manager, Kim Coetzee and Mpho Ngamlane, Industrial Plant Rental Account Manager together with a ZT 315 VSD oil-free compressor.

Oil-free compressed air is used throughout industry where the purest compressed air quality is critical to the end product and to the processes involved – such as in the pharmaceutical or food and beverage sectors, for example.

“As the leading provider of portable power and air solutions in the country, Rand-Air has the right solution for our customers, in that we are able to supply oil-free compressors which have a TUV Class 0 certification under the ISO 8573-1 standard. With this assurance, customers can have peace of mind that they are guaranteed 100% oil-free compressed air,” explains Rand-Air’s Fleet Manager Craig Swart.

The evolution of this stringent standard reflects the ever-increasing requirement for quality air for processes and end products. Class 0 is a more stringent industry standard where the total oil content is measured – not only aerosols and liquids but vapours as well – by the internationally recognised TUV organisation.

Rand-Air sources its oil free compressors from Atlas Copco, which put these units through the most rigorous tests available; and which is now the first manufacturer to receive Class 0 Certification for all its oil-free products.

“However, in the field of air compressors, there are two terms which need to be understood – Class 0 and technically oil-free,” continues Swart. The latter term means that oil is injected into the compressed air and then removed afterwards using a filtration process. This involves an oil separator in the compressor, coalescing filters to remove most liquid oil, and then an activated carbon filter to remove oil vapours.

With technically oil-free compressors, during the filtration process failures can potentially occur – for example, separators can break and filters can become saturated. These factors are exacerbated when the operating temperatures are high. When using a technically oil-free system, there are also other issues to consider such as ensuring that filters are regularly changed, treatment of the condensate and higher energy costs.

“At Rand-Air, all our PT-, PN- and Z- range of compressors are Class 0 oil-free, TUV-certified and we have a range of oil-free compressors to suit most applications,” he adds.

“So if your requirement is for oil-free compressed air, one has to ask: “Why take the risk of potential damage to equipment or reputation?” A Class 0 oil-free compressor from Rand-Air is your optimal solution,” Swart concludes.