Air compressors and food-grade oil: FAQs

You’ve probably heard about food-grade oils. What if you have questions? They deserve answers. You’ll find them with our FAQs.

Estimated time to read: 5 minutes

March 10, 2023

What is food-grade oil?

There are certain sectors that have a zero-tolerance policy for pollutants in their products. Think about the food, pharmaceutical and medical industries. It makes a lot of sense.

Any lubricant used in these sectors needs to follow the zero-pollutant rule. These lubricants are known as food-grade lubricants. All these food-grade lubricants do basically the same job as other lubricants. They just do it more safely.

If you’re using an air compressor in the production of products for a zero-pollutant sector, you’ll need to use a food-grade lubricant in your air compressor. It’s the only way to ensure you won’t leave any trace of contaminants or any nasties in the product you produce. 

What does a food-grade oil do in an air compressor?

When you use them in your air-compression system, food-grade oils or food-grade lubricants need to perform certain tasks:

  • Provide protection against wear, friction, corrosion and oxidation;
  • Offer sufficient cooling to prevent the air compressor from overheating and failing;
  • Create a seal in your air compressor to offer optimum energy efficiency.

What are the requirements for food-grade oils?

Food-grade lubricants need to meet certain requirements that other oils and lubricants do not need to. They must:

  • meet nutrition, health and safety requirements.
  • be physiologically inert. This means they aren’t toxic and won’t act as anaesthetics or do anything to your heart or the haemoglobin in your blood if you consume them.
  • be odourless and free from taste.
  • have been awarded an internationally recognised certificate of approval.  

What are the different classes for food-grade oils?

Rotair Foodgrade oil

Food grade lubricants are classified in three classes:

H3 lubricants are described as soluble or edible lubricants. No, this doesn’t mean you’ll want to add them to your coffee. They’re usually used for cleaning and preventing rust on hooks, trolleys and similar tools.

H2 lubricants are used in machinery and tools in locations where there is no chance the lubricant will come into contact with food – or even surfaces where food is processed. They must not contain any heavy metals. There may be additional requirements for their ingredients.

H1 lubricants are used in food-processing environments where there is a possibility of incidental contact with food. If an incident occurs in which the compressed air (which may contain oil vapours) comes into contact with the end product, your end product is still safe from contamination. Rotair Food Grade oil is NSF H1 certified, halal and kosher.

Do you have other questions about food-grade oil, compressed air or air compressors? We have experts full of answers at ALUP. Contact us today for all the info you’ll ever need. 

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