Why is Compressed Air Quality important

Why is Compressed Air Quality Important?

Understanding the crucial role of compressed air quality in various industrial processes is fundamental to optimising performance, safety, and cost-effectiveness. 

Our simple guide not only illuminates the factors that differentiate high-quality compressed air from its substandard counterparts but also offers practical insights on how to enhance your compressed air system.

Compressed Air Quality – What Is It?

You may have heard about the different types of air compressors that are available to buy, but have you stopped to consider compressed air quality?

The difference between high quality air and poor air quality can have a huge impact on your systems, processes and even energy costs. So what is a high quality compressed air system?

In short, a high quality compressed air system is one that has the least contamination possible, ensuring that you get the best quality compressed air each time you use it.

If you aren’t sure how to pick the right air compressor design to get the best possible compressed air, then all you need to do is reach out to the Control Gear team, who will be happy to advise.

ISO Air Quality Standards – What They Are

Once air treatment has been completed, the air quality can be deemed safe and clear. However, compressed air purity is not just assessed on how free of solid particles it is, but also how dry it is.

Air purity is calculated per one cubic metre of. It looks at the number of solid and liquid impurities there are present, the dew point of the air and how much oil content and vapours there are in the compressed air.

With this calculation, you can then truly determine whether you have high quality air before using it in your setting.

To understand what makes good air quality in your compressed air system, there has to be some level of international standard to follow. The International Organisation for Standardisation or ISO, develops the standards required to assess compressed air quality.

The international standard for compressed air is known as the ISO 8573-1.

This standard takes three specific measurements to assess the level and types of contaminants, including:

  • Water Vapour
  • Oil
  • Solid Particulate

It is also worth noting that these standards do not factor in any gases or microorganisms.

Once assessed, the compressed air quality is set according to the ISO 8573-1 standard, helping you to understand whether you have the right air quality class and whether you will need to upgrade your compressed air system or not.

The ISO standardisation offers a clear hierarchy, working from the least contaminated compressor design to the most, allowing you to understand which type of compressed air system is right for your compressed air needs.

The Role of Compressed Air in Various Industries

Compressed air is in demand across many industrial applications, such as food production and medical production, leaving business owners in need of high quality air for a range of different purposes.

Some of the key industries that use compressed air treatment solutions include:

  • The Food Industry (Food Processing)
  • The Manufacturing Industry
  • The Textile Industry
  • The Mining Industry
  • The Healthcare Industry
  • The Pharmaceutical Production Industry
  • And More!

The Impact of Pure Quality Compressed Air

Getting the best air quality standard is vital for every industry, so that air contamination does not cause specific quality issues that need to be addressed. This means that compressed air purity is one of the most important parts when working with a compressed air system.

To find the right quality compressed air, you should only ever use Class 0 classified solutions. While this does not mean that there is zero contamination in Class 0, it does mean that the air quality of compressed air is the best it can be, providing you with the right product for your critical processes.

If you need to produce the cleanest air possible, you will need to consider all the compressed air equipment needed that, includes oil filters, drying equipment, compression chamber and more.

Plus, you will also need to consider the operational costs of your equipment to ensure that it is affordable for your needs.

Understanding Compressed Air Contaminants

When an air compressor gets to work, it collects air and other particles, working to create compressed air that can be used for a number of purposes. However, when there are a high number of particles taken into the compressed air, it can contaminate the compressed air quality, leaving you with a substandard result.

Some of the most common solid particles that can affect the compressed air quality include dust, liquid water, water vapour or oil. In reality, much of the debris comes from the environment and needs to be removed to ensure that the system is working.

However, when it comes to oil content contamination, this is commonly sourced back to lubricated compressors. They require lubrication to work effectively, but the oil can then contaminate the air quality. You can get oil free compressors, but it’s more modern components that use oil tend to have minimal amounts to help reduce the impact.

To get rid of these, the compressed air must go through air treatment to process air in order to produce clean air that can be used in compressed air systems.

Want to know more about the types of contaminants that can cause problems with your air quality standard? Take a look at the following list:

  • Dry Dust
  • Wet Dust
  • Water-Based Liquid
  • Water-Based Vapour from Humidity
  • Oil-Based Aeresol Liquid
  • Oil-Based Vapour from Hydrocarbon

The Importance of Compressed Air Filtration

Using air filters as part of your compressed air systems is a good way to remove particles from the air, improving the overall air quality classes and reducing the amount of direct contact that you need to have with the system.

One of the most popular filters is the coalescing filter, as it can separate both water and oil aerosols. When the particles go through the filter, they become heavier and drop down to the bottom of the filter, stopping them from going through the piping system.

What’s great is that the filter can take both oil vapour and liquid oil, but there can be a pressure drop if it is in liquid form. However, if the oil is passing through as a vapour, you will need an adsorption material that can hold it, such as activated carbon.

You can always expect some pressure drop when you are filtering a system, simply because the compressed air system loses some energy. However, to get the best results, you will need to invest in a tight filter system that can create big pressure drops and will need to be cleared of debris with a more regular maintenance schedule. The payoff is high quality compressed air.

The Role of Air Dryers in Compressed Air Quality

In addition to filtering debris from the system, there are a number of air dryer solutions that can be used to help produce the best dry air at all times.

The dryers you may need to use include an adsorption dryer, desiccant dryers and refrigerant dryers.

Refrigerant dryers are used for situations where the dew point is 3 degrees Celsius or lower and the max air quality classes is a class 4.

Adsorption dryers are required when a lower dew point is needed, resulting in less moisture overall.

Cost Effective Solutions for Compressed Air

When you are ready to find a compressed air system that meets your needs, it is important to check out the full range of options as well as be mindful of systems that are oil free to reduce the risk of debris in the air.

If you aren’t up to speed on compressed air systems then finding a team that can advise you is the best way forward. At Control Gear, we make it our mission to provide you with the very best information on everything from breathing air to oil lubricated compressors and every other aspect.

Not only do we have up-to-date, professional knowledge about compressed air systems, but we work hard to help you make the right decision for your needs. As part of our commitment to you, we provide 24/7 coverage to ensure your compressed air quality remains as good as possible.

Contact us today to get in touch, we are a team of experts who are ready to take your call.