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High Quality Compressed Air for Your Process

ISO-8573:2010 Part 1: Contaminants and purity classes

Vital Importance of Compressed Air Quality

The quality of compressed air used in industrial processes is specified in the International ISO 8573 standards.

ISO 8573-1:2010 specifies and defines purity classes of compressed air with respect to particles, water and oil. 

ISO 8573-1:2010 also provides general information about possible contaminants in compressed-air systems as well as links to the other parts of ISO 8573, and includes the measurement of compressed air purity and the specification of compressed-air purity requirements.

If you use compressed air in your manufacturing process it is vital that the quality of compressed air used in your process is in accordance with the required quality class to prevent risk to product quality, human health and corporate reputation.

ISO 8573:2010 Explanation

Of the separate parts in the standard, ISO 8573-1:2001 part 1 relates to defining the quality of compressed air used in different applications. The other parts are concerned with the methods to test the air for a range of parameters used to indicate the level of contamination.

ISO 8573-1 specifies purity classes of compressed air in respect of particles, water and oil. The purity classes can be used to describe the current quality of a compressed air system or to specify the required quality for a precise application.

Quality Classes according to ISO 8573-1 are summarised in the following table:

ISO 8573 Table

ISO 8573-2 to 5 specifies test methods for particle, water and oil content in compressed air. Standard test methods ensure that air quality test results are comparable within a given tolerance of measurement. The test methods are summarised as follows:

  • Part 2: Test methods for aerosol oil content
  • Part 3: Test methods for humidity
  • Part 4: Test methods for solid particle content
  • Part 5: Test methods for oil vapour and organic solvent

How Safewell Helps Clients Manage the Risk

To facilitate compliance with the ISO 8573:2010 standard, Safewell has developed the following 4 step approach to assist clients:

Step 1 - Review in detail your compressed air application e.g. PET bottle blowing, food production, pharmceutical manufacture, and conduct a detailed risk assessment to assess potential risk to your people, product and/or process. If the existing purity classes in your compressed air system are not known we will help you review the technical specifications and performance of the installed compressed air purification and filtration systems. This may include air quality testing to measure oil, water and/or particle content according to ISO 8573 part 2-5. Measurement is a specialist task involviing calibrated test equipment. This step helps our clients determine their level of risk and categorises the air quality class.

Step 2 - Once the purity classes are known compare the status quo of your compressed air system with the industry standard requirements of your application. If the purity classes are satisfactory then no further action is required. Various industrial sectors have determined the safest quality class for their applications.

Step 3 - If there  is a gap between the existing compressed air purification system and the desired quality class is we work with our clients engineering staff to specify and implement the required improvements for the process. We use a formula to calculate required filtration efficiency for particles, water, oil aerosols/vapour

Step 4 - We help you select an appropriate compressed air filters with validated efficiency according to ISO 12500

The following schematic provides an example of how we can apply standard compressed air purification products to help clients achieve specific ISO 8573:2010 quality classes.

Donaldson Schematic

Safewell provides a complete turkey process for evaluation and implementation of solutions to purify compressed air in accordance with the prescribed quality standards in ISO8573:2010. We can specify the full range of compressed air purification equipment and integrate these cost effectively to provide a complete solution taking into account factors such as process safety, energy efficiency, lifecycle maintenance and cost of ownership.

Compressed Air Flow Measurement

Many large companies in the industrial sectors invest hundreds of thousands of pounds, procuring and installing compressors and compressed air distribution systems in their factories. Compressed air is the fourth utility and is used in a large number of different process applications in the food, beverage, pharmaceutical and manufacturing sector such as product manufacture, product packaging, machine control, powder conveying, metal finishing; the list is long. The initial design of the compressed air system is based on the estimated compressed air demands of the process at the time of specification. At this stage the quantity of compressed air required by the process is often a best estimate and in reality the actual process consumption may be effected by a nurmber of elements such as growth of the enterprise, process effiiciency, overdue maintenance, leakage and human factors. Compressed Air is a very expensive utility and the efficiency of the compressed air system is essential. Intelligent management can literally save an organisation thousand of pounds per year in overhead costs. You can only manage compressed air consumption by your process if you measure the consumption in real time and establish a benchmark. The best way to determine the actual amount of compressed air required by your process is to fit a flow meter on the main distribution pipework to the process.  

 Safewell can help you specify the best solution to meet your requirements. Precise Flow sensors are available for easy mounting and dismounting under pressure. ATEX versions are available for installation in hazardous areas and solutions are also available for flow measurement of other gases such as oxygen, nitrogen, carbon dioxide and argon.

 You can download the compressed air and gas flow measurement brochure here  pdf Flow 2017 EN V00 SAFEWELL (2.77 MB)

Compressed Air Leakage

Leaks in compressed air distribution pipework systems can be a costly source of wasted energy, sometimes wasting 20-30% of a compressor’s output. A system that has not been well maintained may have  a leak rate equal to 20% of total compressed air production capacity.

For example a single 5mm hole in a compressed air distribution system can cost around £3300 per annum. Experience has shown that there may be multiple leaks of various sizes on a typical system. Proactive leak detection and repair can reduce leaks and quickly provide payback. 

Safewell can visit your site and carry out a complete leakage survey using an ultrasonic leak detector which detects leaks which are inaudible to human hearing. The Safewell technician will tag all the leaks identified and can either repair these or point these out to the clients on site maintenance staff. Ultrasonic leak detection can also be used to detect leaks on gas, vapour and vacuum plants, refrigerating plants and critical door seals.

You can download the leak detection information here   pdf Leakage 2017 EN V00 SAFEWELL (836 KB)

 Safewell can also help clients measure and monitor their compressed air quality in real time using instrumentation and sensors installed on site. Safewell is the authorised UK distributor for the CS Instruments measuring technology for compressed air and gases. Download the catalogue of measuring solutions  pdf Catalogue 2016 EN version SAFEWELL (7.57 MB)