Over the years, analyzing compressed air system operation and efficiency has gone under various names and taken many different shapes and forms. You may know these as; Assessments, Audits, Studies, and Surveys, but in all cases the compressed systems are analyzed using techniques, such as metering and measuring, to assess the system’s performance and identify opportunities for improvement. The problem is that the results of these activities have varied widely; leaving the end-user to try and determine what is usable, credible and implementable. This has led to a lot of “no actions“, resulting in assessments, audits, studies, and surveys being put on the shelf to collect dust.
ISO and CAGI
Compressed Air Best Practices® Magazine interviewed Rick Stasyshan, Technical Consultant, of the Compressed Air & Gas Institute
Compressed air is viewed as industry’s fourth utility. Compressed air is frequently the only means of effectively, consistently, efficiently and safely powering certain machinery and processes. It enables users to perform critical work to manufacture, build and process the products we use every day. The world cannot function without compressed air. CABP recently caught up with Rick Stasyshan, the Compressed Air and Gas Institute’s recently appointed Technical Consultant, to shed some light on CAGI’s activities and industry involvement.
NFPA 99 Medical Air
In the U.S. as an example, the NFPA has taken the view that if your compressor draws in good clean ambient air, the air stays clean through the compressor, is then dried and filtered, when you deliver it to the patient it will be entirely satisfactory. After all, when you went into the hospital that’s what you were breathing and when you leave you will breathe it again!
Food Grade Air
Compressed air is a key utility supporting the food packaging and food processing industries in North America. Compressed air must be contaminant-free to ensure the protection of the food products processed in each facility. The U.K. Code of Practice for Food-Grade Air helps define three types of compressed air systems and air purification specifications required for each.
Large hospitals often use compressed air for important operational related end uses. The systems that produce this air need to supply clean and dry compressed air with a high level of reliability. These systems are not immune to efficiency problems as is the case for any compressed air system.
This article will examine in detail four of the five acceptable WAGD implementations under NFPA 99, along with some alternative ways they may be implemented. This article will not deal with passive implementations.
BSA LifeStructures is a full service architectural and engineering firm specializing in healthcare, higher education and technology facilities. We employ close to 260 associates and are established in two locations; Indianapolis and Chicago. Our strongest focus is on hospitals and university facilities.
Hazardous breathing conditions exist in routine industrial operations, such as hospitals, abrasive blasting, paint spraying, industrial cleaning, and arc welding. In these and other operations that introduce contaminants into the workplace, supplied-air respirators are frequently used for worker protection.
A good-size hospital with 200 beds and ten operating rooms can have a medical air system, a laboratory air system, and pneumatic air systems. The medical air systems must all follow the NFPA 99 guidelines. We follow these guidelines, from the beginning, when we assess the demand for air in a hospital.
The most abundant contaminant in any compressed air system is water. This can be in either liquid or vapour form. Atmospheric air is already very wet, and becomes saturated when compressed. This water vapour will condense when the temperature drops, after the compressor, and will damage air receivers, pipework and equipment. For this reason coalescing filters and then dryers are used to remove the bulk of this water.
Located in the bowels of most hospitals, you will find the source of the Level 1 Medical Air compressed air system. Per the NFPA Section 99 Specification (National Fire Protection Association), Level 1 air compressor systems provide air for human consumption within the hospital facility.
The next time you sit down for dinner, take a good look at your food. There’s a very good chance compressed air played an essential role in preparing your meal for consumption.
If you have ever looked at the small print of a compressor brochure or a CAGI Data Sheet or a compressor technical information page, you have probably seen some reference to one of the above standards. At one time or another, US compressor manufacturers have used these standards to test and report compressor performance. These are referred to as “Acceptance Test” codes.
Industry standards serve a very important purpose for the end users of compressed air equipment. If the standards are well written, they can help to promote the equipment that they govern, as long as the equipment manufacturers properly apply and promote the standards.
- 1 of 2