Should Your Healthcare Facility Use an Oil-Less Air Compressor?

group of surgeons in operating room at hospital

If you’re at all familiar with the medical industry, then you already know that medical facilities have to operate under more stringent rules and regulations as a means of keeping patients as safe as possible while under their care. And while proper cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting are perhaps some of the key measures that may initially come to mind, there are plenty of other things that doctor’s offices, hospitals and healthcare facilities need to be mindful of as well.

For instance, equipment.

Healthcare facilities rely on compressed air to power a variety of tools and instruments utilized in surgeries and for patient treatment. But such facilities can’t just rely on any type of air compressor to be the source of this air flow. They need the right type of compressor. And the right type of medical compressor in a healthcare environment is certainly one that is oil-less or oil-free. In this post, we’ll further discuss the difference between oil-based, oil-less and oil-free air compressors as well as the benefits of the latter variety when it comes to operation in a healthcare setting. Read on to learn more:

Oil-Based vs. Oil-Less vs. Oil-Free Air Compressors: What You Need to Know

Let’s start by discussing the difference between oil-based, oil-less and oil-free air compressors. The main difference, as you might expect, is quite simple. Oil-based air compressors rely on oil to operate. To be more specific, oil-based compressors rely on oil to lubricate the inner workings of the device and aid in heat transfer. Though ideal for many industrial applications for their reliability and longevity, oil-based compressors typically require more maintenance (i.e., oil changes) and don’t tend to be as portable and as versatile as other air compressor options.

Oil-less air compressors don’t have any oil within the compressor package and oil-free compressors don’t contain any oil in the compression chamber (the oil is housed in a separate chamber). While these types of compressors also have their fair share of pros and cons, the biggest benefit that you can realize from oil-less and oil-free compressors is these compressors never have the chance for oil-contamination since the air is never exposed. In other words, if air quality is important in the environment you need an air compressor in – and this is certainly the case in healthcare environments – you’re going to want to take every measure you can to reduce the risk of any type of contamination.

In a healthcare environment, some of the common end use applications that involve air compressors include:

  • Hand-held medical tools
  • Breathing devices
  • Filtration systems
  • Tool and instrument sterilization
  • General lab use

What do most of these applications have in common? The compressed air that they run on must be void of any contamination in order to deliver the best care. Oil-less and oil-free air compressors are the best options for achieving this. Oil-based air compressors may deliver air with oil contaminants, which can be unhealthy.

Key Benefits of Oil-Less and Oil-Free Air Compressors

Aside from a reduced risk of contamination, here’s a look at some of the other key benefits of oil-less and oil-free air compressors and why they’re ideal for healthcare settings:

  • More maintenance friendly: These types of air compressors are much easier to maintain than oil-based ones, which can lead to long-term cost savings and increased productivity.
  • Portable: Oil-less and oil-free compressors tend to be more portable and flexible than oil-based compressors. Not only do they tend to take up less overall space, but they can be moved more easily than oil-based ones.
  • Easier to use: In addition to generally being more portable, these types of air compressors are also often easier to use. An additional benefit is that some may be cheaper than oil-based compressors.
  • No chance of oil carryover: In a high precision application, a 99.99% chance of no oil carryover simply doesn’t cut it. Even a tiny amount of oil could be catastrophic for an application involving electronics, food & bev, medical devices, manufacturing etc. That’s why the most notable benefit of oil-less and oil free compressors is the peace of mind knowing absolutely no oil will contaminate your application.

Contact JH Foster Today

If your healthcare facility is looking for a new medical compressor, it’s important to select the right type – and oil-less and oil-free are definitely the best options for any such environment. Additionally, it’s still important to select the right model compressor, weighing other important details like air requirements, duty cycle and pressure. For more information on the type of air compressor your healthcare facility should acquire and how to go about selecting the right one, contact JH Foster today.