Richard Moore, at Parker Hannifin’s domnick hunter Industrial Division, explains how companies can ensure compliance with ISO 8573-1:2010 through improvements in the maintenance and monitoring of filtration and drying systems.

Having been updated in April 2010, the revised standard ISO8573-1:2010 is now in place to regulate the quality or purity of compressed air used throughout industry. Being the standard on which best practice is founded, ISO8573-1:2010 covers particulate, water and oil, specifying an acceptable level for each quality class, and will protect both manufacturers and consumers alike, in the food industry.

At first sight, ISO8573-1:2010 threatens to increase the operating costs of many companies, representing a need to install new air purification equipment, which usually comes at a premium, however, compliance may require little on the part of manufacturers, as many will find that they already comply with many elements of the standard. For most food and beverage manufacturers, the new standard can be met through carefully managed review and, where appropriate, revision of existing factory procedures.

Dealing with the compressed air before it enters the distribution system, as well as treating it at critical usage points with purification equipment, filters and air dryers is the most cost effective way for food and beverage manufacturers to eliminate contaminants and ensure that air quality complies with ISO8573-1:2010.

Coalescing filters are generally considered to be one of the most important items of purification equipment in a compressed air system, as they remove aerosols of water and oil, while offering the additional benefit of eradicating solid particulates and microorganisms. For example, the latest generation of compressed air filters, such as the OIL-X EVOLUTION range from Parker, offer unprecedented performance, which not only meets but exceeds ISO8573-1:2010 air quality standards, and has been validated independently by Lloyd’s Register, the leading international approval authority. They also use innovative aerospace technology to optimise air flow paths and improve efficiency, enabling significantly reduced system operating costs to be achieved.

Coalescing filters are normally installed in pairs, in series, with one acting as a general purpose filter and the other as a high efficiency filter, to ensure a continuous supply of high quality compressed air with low operational costs and minimal maintenance. It is important to remember, however, that filters do not remove all contaminants and that water vapour in particular must be removed using an appropriately specified compressed air dryer.

The latest advanced air dryers, such as Parker’s PNEUDRI MX heatless dryers are electronically controlled and compact systems, capable of providing 100% standby drying capacity at a fraction of the cost of larger, conventional systems. Most critically, these dryers deliver pressure dewpoints in accordance with ISO 8573-1:2010 class 1, 2 or 3 for water vapour and, when combined with the latest range of compressed air filters, can achieve Air Quality Classes 1.2.1 and 1.1.1.

Due to the aseptic nature of many food and beverage applications, it is also essential to install sterile air filters at the point of use, with this and other associated downstream process equipment being sterilised regularly. Sterile air filters can also be tested for efficiency on a regular basis.

Once the purification equipment is in place it is vital to perform regular system maintenance to ensure consistent air quality and compliance. In particular, the purification system must be serviced annually, as failure to do so will invalidate performance guarantees, potentially resulting in a range of problems, including reduced production performance, degraded air quality, possible product contamination and increased running costs.

By adopting a careful approach to system design, commissioning and operation, food and beverage companies can ensure that they comply with ISO 8573-1:2010, enabling them to protect the consumer, while realising the benefits of a safe and cost effective production facility, such as brand integrity, and enhanced productivity and profitability.


Parker is offering a free guide to the ISO8573-1:2010 Compressed Air Quality Standard, which can be downloaded by visiting PDF LINK


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