Test facility tackles compressed air quality

1 min read
Compressed air test facilities at Hi-line Industries.
Compressed air test facilities at Hi-line Industries.

This now includes both Hi-line filter elements, as well as the testing of any filtration media products, including competitors’ equipment.Hi-line says that the choice of the correct filter element has a direct effect on operational costs, and experience shows that the air quality can help minimise or even eliminate unnecessary costs.Following investment in new testing equipment, including particle counters, flow meters, mass flow controllers and dewpoint meters, Hi-line now has a test facility to measure the efficiency of filter elements. Tests indicate compliance with ISO 8573-1:2010, being the international standard for compressed air quality. This standard lays down minimum air quality standards and defines allowable content levels for dirt, water and oil.During the compression cycle, any inherent air particulates (dust, pollen and water for example) are drawn into the compressor and entrained into the compressed air stream which typically can be at seven times normal atmospheric conditions. Carbon, oil and metallic debris from the compression process is often accumulated in this stream, generating a potentially toxic and destructive cocktail within the compressed air stream. Even for general factory applications, such contaminated air supplies are not acceptable. Where the compressed air supplies are for food contact, dental or breathing air requirements, then stricter quality regulations come into force for these applications.As a major contaminant of compressed air systems, oil aerosols (minute droplets of oil suspended in the air stream) can be partially removed by coalescing filters in condensate form. Heavier oil contaminates appear as wall flow, with the liquid oil creeping along the inner surface of the air pipeline. Vapours or oil mist in a cloud form are not removed by coalescing filters. Microorganisms that can also proliferate in a compressed air system can be inhibited by maintaining a pressure dewpoint of better than -26°C.In order to avoid unnecessary damage of equipment or contamination in downstream process lines, it is recommended that adequate testing of all filter media should be undertaken.