How to Install your Air Motor

No matter its application, the installation of an air motor can be achieved in a few simple steps. The installation process will vary slightly as both application and motor types will not always remain constant. However, with the right information, you’ll find installing your air motor to be a straightforward process.  

In this article, we’ll cover every aspect involved in installing your air motor, including air lines, air preparation, control valves, and more. There is a lot to go over, so let’s dive right in! 

Airline and hose connectors

All air motors require a specific amount of air and pressure to function. The supply and exhaust hoses determine these two factors. Incorrectly dimensioning either of the hoses can lead to anticipated pressure drops and power losses.  

As a rule of thumb, the exhaust line should always have a larger dimension than the supply line. This is crucial because the exhaust air occupies a larger volume than the supply air. To find the specific dimensions of your air lines, see the recommendations listed in the introductory section for each motor type.  

The dimension recommendations accommodate hose lengths up to 3 meters. If the hose length falls within the range of 3 to 15 meters, opt for a hose diameter one size larger. For hoses ranging from 15 to 50 meters, select a diameter two sizes larger.

Since vane motors possess compact dimensions, it is advisable to always use specialized hose connectors. These come available with small key width and make for a much easier installation.  

Air Preparation  

Before choosing an air preparation package, ensure that all components possess adequate flow capacity relative to the motor’s demands. In this context, it’s important to note that the filter must eliminate over 90% of liquid water and any solid particles exceeding 15 microns in size.

To ensure dependable operation, it is advisable to install both an air filter and lubricator (unless the motor is lubrication-free) within 3 to 5 meters of the motor in the inlet airline. Furthermore, alongside the air filter and lubricator, it is recommended to include a pressure regulator as a standard component of air preparation. As a part of the air preparation package, a pressure regulator will help maintain the desired working pressure and modify the output of the motor when necessary.  

It should also be noted that the use of compressed air with a maximum dew point of +10 degrees Celsius is recommended for optimal performance.  


Some vane motors are lubrication free. When the application requires it, lubrication can certainly still be applied even to air motors with lubricated free vanes. However, in such a case, the motor would not be dependent on lubricated air, like it would with traditional vanes. 

To achieve optimal performance with your specific application and model, you’ll need to consider the type of motor, vanes, output power, and service life. Depending on the model, running an air motor with 100% dry air and no lubrication may be detrimental to that motor’s performance.  

As a general rule, 50 mm³ of oil for each cubic meter of air consumed should be supplied to the air motor. This will help prevent accelerated vane wear and reduce the chance of poor performance.  

To gain a better understanding of how reduced lubrication can impact the service life and power for a lubricated vane motor, take a look at the following table:  

Lubricant Quantity  Lubricant Free Vanes  Conventional Lubricated Vanes 
mm³ oil in m³  Service Life Hours  Output Power %  Service Life Hours  Output Power %  
50  1000 – 2000   100  1000 – 3000   100 
10  1000 – 2000   100  500 – 1000   100 
500 – 1000   85 – 95   200 – 500   90 
0.1  500 – 1000   85 – 95   100 – 300   80 
500 – 1000   85 – 95   10 – 30   30  

Directional control valves  

Directional control valves are used to start or stop a motor. They are also often used as a method of changing the direction of a motor’s rotation (in the case of a reversible motor). In most cases, what is called a 5/3 valve is used to control a reversible motor, while what is called a 3/2 valve is used to control a non-reversible motor.  

The labels given to the respective valves mentioned above are derived from the number of connection ports and operating positions each valve provides. A 5/3 valve has 5 connection ports and 3 operating positions; a 3/2 valve has only 3 connection ports and 2 operating positions.  

As it was the case in choosing an air preparation package, in the selection of a control valve, it should always be ensured that the valve has a flow capacity sufficient to adequately supply the requirements of the motor.  

For some specific air motor models, it’s essential to place an inlet restrictor upstream from the inlet. It must be placed in such a way to ensure that the exhaust is not affected at reversible running. To accomplish this, the inlet restrictor should be placed before the control valve, not after it.  

In summary 

The air motor proves to be a versatile, durable, and efficient power source for a wide array of applications. Installing the air motor for one of those applications can seem complex without the right information. In all reality, the installation of your air motor can be broken down into a few key elements: air lines, air preparation, lubrication, and directional control valves.

Each element is as crucial as the next, but by following the guidelines set out here and in your own catalog, you can rest assured that your air motor will be installed correctly. If you are looking for more information regarding how to install your Air motor, feel free to reach out to us anytime.