Mechanical equipment, such as internal combustion engines, gearboxes and transmission systems rely on oil to lubricate moving internal components, enabling them to run freely, whilst reducing wear to metallic surfaces.

In addition to lubrication, engine oil also acts as a coolant, to remove surplus heat from mechanical equipment. For example, a hot engine transfers heat to the oil, which then circulates through a heat exchanger (also known as an oil cooler), using either air or water to cool the oil.

All oils have a recommended operating temperature range and if this is exceeded, the viscosity of the oil can be weakened, reducing its lubrication qualities. Should excessive heat continue to build up, the oil’s ability to lubricate components will be significantly reduced and in extreme cases, the viscosity may break down, creating conditions where the metal components overheat, leading to premature wear. In extreme cases this could even result in a catastrophic component failure.

This situation can occur where equipment is to be operated at high speeds for extended periods, or where climatic conditions dictate higher ambient air temperatures. In such conditions, adding an oil cooler to the lubrication system, will remove the excess heat, reducing the oil’s temperature so that it remains within the correct range to protect the equipment, prolonging its operating life.

Whether an air or water cooled oil cooler is used depends on application and operating conditions.

Bowman oil coolers are water cooled ‘shell and tube designed units that are robust and reliable over a wide range of operating conditions. For more information about Bowman Oil Coolers.