Compressed air is extensively used in the food industry for a wide variety of production processes.

While the use of compressed air for powering equipment has obvious safety and cost advantages, it also means that compressed air can get in contact with the end product making it potential source of contamination.

Assuring food safety and quality is essential for the viability of any food manufacturer.

That’s why major Organizations from several countries have identified the need for universal testing and quality guidelines for the purity of compressed air when it’s used in food processing and packaging.

The International Organization for Standardization ISO, the British Compressed Air Society (BCAS), the British Retail Consortium (BRC), the US Food and Drug administration (FDA), Food Safety System Certification 22000 (FSSC 22000), all require regular monitoring and offer up guidelines for compressed air quality when used in the food, beverage, and packaging industries.

At PRESSCON/FX PREVENT, we have more than 25 years of experience designing, installing and maintaining complex compressed air installations for various industries including the food industry.

We work closely with the industry leader in air filtration, the SMC Corporation, and besides advising, designing, installing and maintaining the compressed air installations, we can also facilitate the required testing of the resulting process air needed to prove and certify compliance against the ISO 8573-1 standards.

Since its establishment, SMC has been a leader in pneumatic technology, providing industry with technology and products to support automation based on the guiding principle of “contributing to automation labor savings in industry.” Over the past 50+ years, SMC’s products have become established as a recognized international brand through sales, technical, supply and after sale services in world markets. Sales have grown to achieve a 30% global market share.

What are the main factors that influence compressed air quality?

Obviously, the main sources of contamination for a compressed air installation are the intake air and the compressor itself.
The atmospheric air feed compressor inlet can let in contaminants such as solid particles (dirt, sand, soot, metal oxides, salt crystals), water vapour, oil vapour, and microorganisms.
Therefor the placement of the compressor intake and the intake filter are of great importance, serving as a first line of defence for the compressed air installation.

Since most compressors are oil lubricated, they can also add oil to the produced compressed air, in either liquid, aerosol, or vapor form.

Any compressor that is not maintained according to the producers guidelines poses a increased risk to become a source of contamination.

Other sources of contamination include the system piping and air storage tanks.
New piping should be tested to assure that it is has been properly purged of potential contaminants such as particulates and solders or glues used during installation.
The joining method chosen for the piping should also not be overlooked, for example using fully welded piping reduces the chance of microorganism contamination through pipe joints.

Older piping can have an accumulation of water, rust and oil. When connecting new piping to an older piping distribution system, particulates such as rust, pipe scale, dirt, metal oxides can be circulated into the new piping.

Storage receivers with excess water (vapor, liquid, or a mixture of oil and water) can become a breeding ground for microorganisms.

Potential air quality problems can also arise from misuse, mishandling, inattention to maintenance, and human error.

A periodic process air test program can provide critical information about the air quality and help prevent contamination of the food supply in a timely manner.

How can PRESSCON/FX Prevent help?

In order to ensure that the compressed air complies with the standards included in ISO 8573-1:2010 , several parameters need to be constantly monitored, including solid particle, water content and oil content.

Air contact with food Impurities (Solid particles) Max Number of Particles per m3 Humidity (Water Vapour) Total Oil (Aerosol + Vapour) ISO 8573:1 2010 of equivalent
0.1 – 0.5 micron 0.5 – 1.0 micron 1.0 – 5.0 micron
Direct contact ⋜ 400.000 ⋜ 6.000 ⋜ 100 ⋜ -40° C PDP ⋜0.01 mg/m3 Class 2.2.1
Indirect contact ⋜ 400.000 ⋜ 6.000 ⋜ 100 ⋜ +3° C PDP ⋜ 0.1 mg/m3 Class 2.4.2
Class 7:4:4

Depending on the compliance class required, PRESSCON/FX Prevent can recommend and supply the correct configuration of cascading air filters and design and install complete compressed air installations that fully comply with the industry standards.

We also recommend that all customers using process air in the food industry undergo a baseline air quality risk analysis, created around ISO 8573-1 :2010 requirements. The tests are also tailored according to the specific usage of compressed air and industry requirements.

The risk analysis should be undergone at a minimum of once annually. (two maintenance interval cycles)

Do you have technicianS that can come to my location(s)?

Aside for our own highly skilled team of technicians, over the past 25 years, PRESSCON/FX Prevent has built an international network of distributors and service suppliers so that we can efficiently serve our customers needs internationally, to the highest level.

Would you like to learn more about the HACCP/ ISO 8573-1 2010.04.15, our compressed air testing capabilities or about our compressed air installations, please don’t hesitate to fill in the contact form bellow and we will get in touch with you as soon as possible.

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