Cost-effective and pro-ecological – the replacement of oil in air compressors

Cost-effective and pro-ecological – the replacement of oil in air compressors

Acting on a worker’s idea, Rawlplug has changed the type of oil used in five air compressors at the manufacturing plant in Wroclaw (Poland).

A seemingly small change can lead to significant financial savings and at the same time have a positive impact on the environment. Changing the oil in the compressors from mineral to synthetic was proposed by an employee in the Maintenance Division at the Rawlplug factory in Wroclaw, as a part of the Environmental Employee Ideas initiative.  “Previously, mineral oil had to be changed every 4000 hours, had a short lifespan and led to the compressor operating  at a high temperature,” says Jerzy Maj, manager of Rawlplug’s Maintenance Division. “It also had an impact on the efficiency of machines and high energy consumption. Its frequent exchanges resulted in a huge amount of oil waste.” The compressors concerned supply air to machines at the factory, where Rawlplug produces plastic and metal fasteners which are greatly valued around the world by specialists in the field.

Why synthetic oil?

Synthetic oil allows the machinery to maintain a lower operating temperature, resulting in higher efficiency and a reduction in failure rates. The use of this type of oil also has a positive impact on electricity consumption and it is replaced less frequently, which minimizes the amount of oil waste. It is worth noting that the synthetic oil can be filtered, which prolongs its life.

The following table is a comparison of the lifespans and effects of synthetic and mineral oil at the production plant in Wroclaw:



(with filtration)
12 000 h
(+ 6 000 h)
4 000 h    
Separators which need replacing
after 18 000h of compressors’ work 
1 4
Amount of oil waste
after 18 000h of compressors’ work
70 l 280 l
The fabrication temperature
on the compression ratio
70-80°C 95-102°C

Rawlplug for the environment

Changing the oil in the compressors has allowed us to cut down the amount of generated heat by 15% and reduce energy consumption. It has also resulted in a reduction in the amount of oil waste. These positive changes contribute directly to minimizing the impact of the Rawlplug production facility on the ecosystem. Compressor operation is now even safer, as the change has improved the quality of compressed air produced – better working oil separators have an impact on its purity. In 2016, the Maintenance Division plans to implement a system for monitoring real production demand of compressed air, which will contribute to further savings. These changes create higher machine availability; thus Rawlplug can manage production in a more sustainable way.

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