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!
For an organization to prove that it meets the standard it has to undergo a management system audit, either internal or external. The question, therefore, is how can those utilizing compressed air effectively evaluate their assets’ performance as part of an ISO 50001 energy management system and, in doing so, grow their bottom line and minimize their negative environmental footprint.
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.
Most readers of this magazine are familiar with the ISO 9000 and 14000 families of standards. The 9000 family pertains to quality management systems and the 14000 family deals with environmental management.
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.
Compressors in today’s market must meet a variety of standards written by a wide range of organizations throughout the world. Until recently, most standards were written to deal with safety, both mechanical and electrical, and performance of the individual components of a compressed air system.
The NFPA 99 (National Fire Protection Agency) Standard for Healthcare Facilities (2005 Edition) is the current Code by which Healthcare facilities in the U.S. design their compressed air systems. The NFPA 99 Standard covers many requirements for medical gases, with compressed air being just a component of the Standard.