Compressed Air Purity Classes & ISO 8573-1. What Does it Mean for You?

The compressed air coming directly from your air compressor will usually require further treatment & preparation before it can be used. It’ll contain particulate matter, moisture, and hydrocarbons that the intake filter won’t remove…remember, it’s there to protect the compressor itself against damage from larger particulate. Smaller particulate and other contaminants that can affect air operated products & tools will still need to be addressed, after compression. The degree to which this additional treatment is necessary is dictated by what you’re using your compressed air for.

ISO 8573-1:2010 – Compressed air – Part 1: Contaminants and Purity Classes quantifies the quality of the air according to three properties, into different classes:

Per the descriptions above, here are the criteria by which compressed air purity is classified in these three categories. Certain applications can call for different classes for these three categories (more on that in a minute).
  • Maximum particle size & concentration of solid contaminants. These can come from rust on the inside of the distribution piping, particulate generated by wear of air system components, and atmospheric contamination that the compressor’s intake filter doesn’t catch.
  • Maximum pressure dew point. No matter where your compressor is located, the air it pulls in contains some amount of water vapor. Dew point is the temperature at which it will condense at a given pressure. As long as the compressed air temperature is above that dew point, there won’t be any water (in liquid form) in it.
  • Maximum oil content. This most often is due to carryover from oil lubricated compressors, but can come from atmospheric oil (or other hydrocarbon) vapor drawn into the compressor’s intake.

So…what does this mean to you, relating to your use of compressed air? Well, it largely comes down to the nature of your application. Whatever is in your compressed air supply will be in contact with whatever the air comes in contact with. If a machinist is using a Safety Air Gun to blow chips & coolant from machined parts, they’re not going to be particularly concerned with this specification from a regulatory standpoint. If those parts are going straight from the machine shop to a paint booth, they’re certainly going to want to use air that’s free of particulate, moisture, and oil. All of those things will, quite noticeably, affect the quality of the painted finish. Filter Separators and Oil Removal Filters installed at the point of use will take care of that. A case could be made for a purity specification and regular testing of their compressed air, but this really just falls under the confines of good engineering practice.

Compressed air use in applications where it can come in contact with food or beverages intended for consumption (by people AND animals, according to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act) is considered a critical factor for cleanliness. They reference guidelines from the British Compressed Air Society (BCAS) to specify purity classes for both direct and indirect contact with food and beverage products:

Direct contact requires testing and compliance to Class 2:2:1 per the above table means:

  • Particulate Class 2 – particle concentration, by particle size, in concentrations no greater than:
    • 400,000 particles sized 0.1-0.5 microns, per cubic meter
    • 6,000 particles sized 0.5-1.0 microns, per cubic meter
    • 100 particles sizes 1.0-5.0 microns, per cubic meter
  • Maximum pressure dew point Class 2 – vapor pressure dew point must be less than 40°F (40°C) at the maximum pressure of the compressed air system.
  • Oil content Class 1 – concentration must be less that 0.001 milligrams per cubic meter

Examples of direct contact applicable to the use of EXAIR Engineered Compressed Air Products include blowing air for cooling, moisture removal, coating layer distribution, etc., of unpackaged food product.

EXAIR Stainless Steel Super Air Knives are popular in food processing applications (left to right): removing excess moisture prior to flash freezing of fish filets, preventing clumping while packaging shredded cheese, and (my personal favorite) ensuring a consistent and even glazing of fresh, delicious doughnuts.

Line Vac Air Operated Conveyors and Vortex Tubes are also used in direct contact applications in the food industry:

316SS Threaded Line Vac conveys bulk grain in a distillery (left). Vortex Tube rapidly sets melted chocolate in a mold (right).

Indirect contact is slightly (but JUST slightly) less restrictive: those are Class 2.4.2. Particulate and oil content classes remain the same, but dew point can be as high as 37°F (3°C). This is where the air the air is coming into contact not with the consumable product itself, but, for example, the packaging or container:

Atomizing Spray Nozzles rinse bottles prior to labeling (left), 1″ Flat Super Air Nozzle blows off label to ensure proper scanning by sensor (center), Line Vac conveys canned goods (right).

EXAIR Corporation is committed to helping you get the most out of our products – and your compressed air system. If you have questions, I can talk about compressed air all day – and oftentimes I do! Let’s talk.

Russ Bowman, CCASS

Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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ISO 8573-1 Chart by Compressed Air Best Practice.

316SS Sanitary Flange Air Operated Conveyors Pull Corn Meal Quality Samples

Agriculture, it’s a word that invokes a lot of imagery. From the vast rolling fields, to animals roaming, to a simple life of tending to the land. For some it is the perfect life of hard work and simple living. Agriculture can make one think of tractors, heavy equipment, silos, fencing, and much more. But there is one thing that does not typically come to mind, and that is compressed air. Even though compressed air is not commonly thought of being used in agriculture does not mean that it cannot be used. In fact, it can be very useful.

In one application a manufacturer of corn meal needed to take a sample of the product to test the moisture content and quality before it was loaded into a rail car. The lab tech use to have to go out to the silo to scoop up about a pint and transport it back to the lab to be tested. To eliminate the manual retrieval and delivery of the corn meal EXAIR recommended a model #163300-316 3″ St. St. Sanitary Flange Line Vac Kit and was sold to the customer. A system of 100ft of pipe was installed from the silo to the lab so that the test sample could be conveyed by the Line Vac directly to the lab to be tested. This simple fix improved the reliability of the sample and decreased the time it takes to grab a sample. Along with the added benefit that now the lab tech does not need to walk over and scoop the sample out of the container or off the ground.

EXAIR’s Family of Sanitary Flange Line Vacs

Line Vacs are a great product for conveying bulk material from point A to point B and excel with “bucket and ladder” type scenarios where personnel is manually loading or unloading batches of material or scrap. EXAIR’s Air Operated Conveyors have always been well suited for applications involving food as the internal components are smooth and can be cleaned out easily and sanitized. With a 316 Stainless Steel body the unit provides superior corrosion resistance and can withstand most caustic cleaners and oxidants. The flange style connection also makes it easy to hook up and remove for cleaning purposes.

Model 161200-316 – 316 Stainless Steel Sanitary Flange Line Vac

Sanitary Flange Line Vacs are all made from 316 Stainless Steel and come in four sizes: 1-1/2”, 2”, 2-1/2”, and 3”.

If you are interested in more applications, check out our application database on our Website. Or if you have any questions on our Line Vacs give us a call, we have a team of application engineers ready to answer your questions and recommend a solution for your applications.

Cody Biehle
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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Compressed Air in Farming and Agriculture

I used to help my father-in-law around his farm and this city boy had his eyes opened when he realized it was more than shovels, tractors and livestock. Agriculture is vital for human existence and has become far more advanced over the centuries with a continual thirst for efficiency and technology. Agriculture is just like many other industries looking for continued ways to increase yield, improve quality, maximize labor and improve technology.

EXAIR has many products used in the agriculture and food processing industries. The following details a few example by product line how we can influence efficiencies and quality of products:

Super Air Knife drying fruits and vegetables

Super Air Knives:

EXAIRs Super Air Knives are have ben used to help harvest apples and peaches. In this case they use our Super Air Knives to dry and blow off the fruit after the rinsing process just before the waxing process then again after waxing to blow off any remaining debris or moisture from the fruit before being packed.

A processing company using the Super Air Knife to clean a conveying belt equipped with a weighing system. Before the installation of the the Super Air Knife some of the cut vegetables being weighed would stick to the belt. Their solution was to clean the conveyor belt with EXAIR’s Super Air Knife to ensure continuous operation of the weighing and packaging systems.

Super Air Nozzles:

An onion farmer used EXAIR’s Model 1100 Super Air Nozzle to blow loose onion skins from the onions before packaging to improve the aesthetics to the customers.

Line Vacs:

A food packaging company repackages banana peppers from 55 gallon drums to 1 and 5 gallon containers using our Model 6066 3″ Stainless Steel Line Vac.

Using EXAIRs Model 150200 2″ Heavy Duty Line Vacs a feed stock manufacturer conveys various grains and feed stock simultaneously to a mixer which blends the ingredients. This reduced their blend time by 50%.

A grain processor used Model 142200 aluminum threaded Line Vac to convey small amounts of corn meal into a hopper which feeds into their inspection process.

A company producing worm eggs encapsulated in water soluble wax sold to farmers to enhance soil conditions. They eliminated a hand operation using Model 6081 1″ Aluminum Line Vac  to convey the worm eggs from one classifier to another.

EXAIR has several applications using Atomizing Spray nozzles to add moisture in growing environments . Greenhouses use our Atomizing spray nozzles to control humidity in the air and keep their soils moist to maintain optimal growing environments.

There are many other applications using compressed AIR on farms such as filling tires, cleaning equipment, blowing out water lines and more. Technology drives labor savings and improved quality prototypes are being designed and tested to use compressed air using drones to shoot pods filled with seeds, fertilizer and other nutrients into the soil. EXAIR will remain a strong influence in the growth of compressed air products helping to reduce the carbon footprint, enhance efficiencies and improve cost and quality within the agriculture and food processing industries.

If you have an application and you would like to talk please contact me or any of our qualified Application Engineers at 800.903.9247 and we will gladly help with our best recommendations.

Eric Kuhnash
Application Engineer
E-mail: EricKuhnash@exair.com
Twitter: Twitter: @EXAIR_EK

Sanitary Flange Air Operated Conveyors – The EXAIR Line Vac

The ability to control the flow of materials has been a staple in human civilization since 4000 BCE. This includes the creation of pipes which have appeared as early as 2400 BCE from the Egyptians. These piping systems have since then been improved on to be made stronger, lighter, cheaper,  of various styles, and in a variety of materials. One of these styles is the sanitary flange pipe.

Sanitary flange pipe and fittings is one of the larger milestones in piping innovation. Sanitary flange pipes came about due the stringent cleanliness controls in certain industries such as food and pharmaceutical. Both of these use a highly corrosive and caustic soap to sanitize surfaces and, in most cases, entire rooms. Sanitary flange pipes allow for pipe systems to be taken apart easily so that components can be easily cleaned out on a regular sterilization process, and are generally made of 316 Stainless Steel to withstand the corrosive nature of the cleaning compound.

Type 316 Stainless Steel Line Vac

EXAIR Line Vac Air Operated Conveyors have always been well suited for these applications since the internal components are smooth and can be cleaned out easily and sanitized. They have also been made out of 316 Stainless Steel for years which provides superior corrosion resistance and can withstand most caustic cleaners and oxidants. Type-316 Stainless Steel is the preferred material for many food and pharmaceutical applications. Before EXAIR’s Sanitary Flange Line Vac, we noticed our customers would use the standard smooth Line Vac and weld a sanitary flange onto the ends, or installing adaptors on our Threaded Line Vac.

With that thought we decided to make things easier and developed the Sanitary Line Vac which follows the basic design of the Standard Line Vac and operates with the same performance characteristics. Sanitary Flange Line Vacs come in four sizes: 1-1/2”, 2”, 2-1/2”, and 3”. These sizes are the most common sizes for Line Vacs and covers the majority of application needs.

Sanitary Flange Line Vacs in increasing sizes: 1-1/2”, 2”, 2-1/2”, and 3”

If you have any questions about compressed air systems or want more information on any of EXAIR’s products, give us a call, we have a team of Application Engineers ready to answer your questions and recommend a solution for your applications.

Cody Biehle
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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