Air Quality checks, what they are and why you need them.

November 18, 2019 2:05 pm Published by



In many production environments it is important that the compressed air used is of the right quality. Air in the atmosphere always contains moisture in the form of water vapor. Some water vapor is included in the compressed air and can potentially cause problems both with contamination of the end product and with machinery performance. Of equal concern is possible presence of oil vapour, microorganisms and wet or dry dust.

ISO8573 is the group of international standards relating to the quality (or purity) of compressed air. Part 1 specifies the quality requirements for compressed air, and parts 2 to 9 outlines the testing methods for a range of contaminants. This standard is designed to ensure that air supplied for critical functions is safe to use and will not damage your air distribution system.

BCAS, The British Compressed Air Society, have developed a Code of Practice for Food Grade Compressed Air. This works with existing food industry hygiene guidance such as HACCP and ISO22000 to prevent unacceptable levels of contamination being present in the production of food.

The required quality of breathing air is stated in BS EN 12021. It is critical that respiratory air produced by a compressor is purified, and that air quality is measured and monitored regularly. Requirements are specified in the standard for permissible levels of oxygen, lubricants, odour, taste, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and water content in compressed breathing air.

Similar standards, some of them even more stringent than those above are in place for pharmaceuticals and for electronics, where the presence of foreign objects in air used for cleaning of components, tools and material transport could have catastrophic effects on production quality. Maintaining air quality not only safeguards production, it also reduces the maintenance requirements and improves the longevity of the compressed air system that is critical to keeping that production running.

Harrier Pneumatics offer a comprehensive set of air quality testing services, including the specialist tests required for breathing air. We have a clear understanding of the requirements of the relevant standards. Our engineers can work with you to install the necessary equipment to help you ensure compliance with your particular industry regulations and put in place a regime of regular ongoing testing. We will return to the subject of air quality in future blogs, but in the mean time please get in touch with us to learn how we can help you ensure your compressed air quality.

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This post was written by Hilary Dean