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Air Quality

Validation of System for Air Quality

Contaminants in Compressed Air

Three Contaminants in Compressed Air:

  1. Oil
  2. Water
  3. Particles

Air Quality is the measure of presence of these contaminants in the compressed air.



Where do the contaminants come from?

  1. Oils are used as lubricants in the compressors.
  2. Water is present naturally in the air in the form of relative Humidity.
  3. Small particles usually measured in Microns are present naturally in air.
  4. Corrosion particles flake off due to high flow rate.

What can these contaminants do?

  1. Health of Machinery & Piping:
    • One cubic meter of untreated compressed air contains almost 200 million dirt particles and a lot of water, oil, lead, cadmium and mercury. These contaminants can:
    • Corrode your piping system which in turn causes pressure losses.
    • Cause constrictions and blockages.
    • Reduce the life of filters and drains.
    • Reduce the service life of your machines
    • Reduce the functionality of your machines.
    • Cost additional energy
  2. Health of Product:
    • Moisture can provide the suitable environment for microbial growth.
    • Corrosion Particles when flake off, can be transported along with air to the final product, where they can be a health hazard for the consumer.
    • Dirt particles contain pipe scale which can accumulate in your final product.
    • Oil contains hydrocarbons, that can be hazardous for health.

The ISO 8573-1 Standard

ISO 8573-1:2010 is an international standard that:

  • Categorizes air quality into different classes.
  • Specifies maximum permissible Contamination levels for each class.
  • Each class refers to certain Industrial applications.

Table of Air Quality : Quality Classes According to ISO 8573-1 2010 

Air Quality for Food & Pharma Industry

  • Food & Drug manufacturing facilities require higher quality of air
  • Since these products are to be ingested by Humans or Animals
  • Therefore air must be Completely oil free and must contain very few parts of water vapor.
  • So air quality of class 1 or 2 is essential for food & pharma Industries.
  • It brings a great responsibility on the manufacturer of food & pharma Industry to take care of air quality

According to “BCAS-British Compressed Air Society”, The following air quality standards should be followed by a food & pharma Manufacturer:

  • Direct Contact of air with the product: Particles : water : oil = 2:2:1 (as per ISO 8753-1)
  • Indirect Contact of Air with the Product: 2:4:2

BCAS Food & Beverage Grade Compressed Air Guideline

Oil in Compressed Air

  1. Affects of Oil in Compressed Air
    • Oil can contaminate the whole plant in a very short time
    • Oil has very low vapor pressure, so bringing the plant back to clean condition is a big challenge.
    • Cleaning of piping choked with Oil is very expensive.
    • Oil contains hydrocarbons that are hazardous for health.
  2. Instruments Available for Oil Monitoring

Moisture in Compressed Air

  1. Affects of Moisture in Compressed Air
    • Moisture can be hazardous for compressed air especially for food industry.
    • Moisture provides the right temperature and environment for microbes to grow.
    • Moisture will lead to blockages in valves and pneumatic components.
    • It causes the piping to corrode.
    • Remember your compressed air system is deigned for air – not water
  2. Instruments for Moisture Monitoring
    • AirSecure : Monitors dew-point • Alarms when critical value is reached
    • dewguardPRO: Monitors dew-point and network pressure.

Download Brochure

Particles in Compressed Air

  1. Affects of Particles in Compressed Air
    • The small particles (Dust, pipe scale, Microbes and rust) present in the compressed air may clog, block or constrict the piping.
    • These particles reduce the service life of filters and other equipment a great deal.
    • Compressed air applications such as packaging, cleaning, Food Filling require 100% clean air.
    • Continuous monitoring of particles is necessary.
  2. Instruments Available for Particles
    • Monitoring : PC 400 by CS-Instruments, Particle counter upto 0.1μm

Download Brochure

Moisture is Dangerous yet Inevitable!

  • Corrosion is something, that can prove to be the most hazardous problem for your system.
  • The corrosion can cause pressure drops, air contamination and leakages.
  • Since moisture is everywhere, and we cannot avoid it.
  • The best possible solution is to use piping that does not corrode easily.
  • GI Pipe is cheap yet prone to Corrosion, Use Aluminum piping to avoid corrosion.

The Solutions

  1. Monitor your system for moisture, oil and particles.
  2. Identify in-efficiencies, air Leakages & pressure drops.
  3. Use oil free compressors
  4. Decrease the RH factor of your intake air
  5. Use Aluminum or Stainless steel piping that does not corrode easily
  6. Keep the environment of your intake area clean.