Screw Compressors, Built to Last

Screw Compressors, Built to Last

Rotary screw compressors used for refrigeration and air conditioning applications are categorized as “wet” screw compressors. A significant amount of oil is circulated through the screws, and the oil acts as a seal between the two mating rotors and also between the rotors and the housing bores.

This design allows screw compressors to be much more forgiving of situations where liquid refrigerant is introduced to the suction side of the compressor.

In contrast, a reciprocating compressor can be damaged when smaller amounts of liquid refrigerant are introduced to the compression cycle.

For greater efficiency, screw compressors operate at a higher rpm. This allows less time for the refrigerant to find a leak path during the compression cycle. The rotors are suspended on precision rollers and ball bearings. Many of the motors are two-pole, at 60hz the motor is turning at 3500 rpm, and a set of internal gears operate the rotors at even greater speeds.

Screw compressors have fewer moving parts than their reciprocating counterparts, and fewer parts generally translate to greater reliability. The reed valves, piston rings, and crankshaft bushings of reciprocating compressors are generally the items that determine the lifespan of the reciprocating compressor, and their screw compressor counterparts contain none of these items.

The operating envelopes of these two types of compressors are not identical but they do overlap, and when they do, the consideration of a screw compressor for an A/C or refrigeration application is time well spent.

Whether your choice in compressors are screw or reciprocating, CMP is your partner for both! Check out our new models and pricing by visiting

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