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Importance Of Compressed Air Testing For Food

Posted by on April 9, 2020 in Business with 0 Comments

Compressed air is a vital tool used for the processing and packaging of food. Food production processes that make use of compressed air include canning, freezing, and dehydration. The food industry generally uses compressed air for cleaning, sorting, cutting, shaping, blow-off applications, and transporting food products. Such a tool also helps in forming, filling, and sealing cartons. In the United States, approximately 1,300 facilities are employing 112,000 people for the processing of fruits and vegetables.

The air utilized in this procedure must be contaminant-free before it comes into contact with food products. The manufacturer is the one responsible for knowing the composition of the air to be used and avoiding product contamination. In this case, impurities are any components of the air that harm the product or make its condition worse.

What Are The Sources Of Contaminants In Compressed Air?

The three primary contaminants of compressed air are oil, particles, and water. These usually come from three general sources, which include the following:

  • Impurities surrounding the area of the compressor that get drawn into the air system via the air compressor’s intake. Airborne particulates, natural particles, hydrocarbon vapors, and water vapor are the common forms of ingested contaminants.
  • Additional impurities may also get introduced into the air system as a result of the compression process. Vaporized lubricants, wear particles, and compressor lubricant are some of the generated contaminants.
  • In-built contamination is also common in a compressed air system. Bacteria, mineral deposits, pipe scale, and rust are toxic substances that may be present in air storage tanks and piping distribution and tend to be more prevalent in older systems.

Compressed Air Testing, What Is It?

Compressed air purity testing is a standardized process that ensures that the air to be used in any industrial process doesn’t have impurities. The procedures for testing compressed air typically involve three components: oil, solid particles, and water.

Compressed Air Testing For Food, Why Is It Important?

The presence of impurities must not be tolerated in any processes that utilize compressed air. This is especially true in food manufacturing processes. Manufacturers that use tainted compressed air are likely to fail inspection tests for health and safety since impurities will be found in their finished products.

To make sure that industrial-scale production of food doesn’t pose health risks to consumers, authorities require compliance with strict standards for air quality.

Below are some reasons why compressed air testing for food is important.

1. Ensures That Compressed Air Is Properly Dried

Moisture is the number one concern when it comes to the safety of using compressed air for food and beverage production. The compressed air used for food and beverage must be properly dried, removing moisture that could potentially lead to microbial or fungal growth.

If the air isn’t properly dried, microorganisms can grow inside the air compressor’s piping. These contaminants will then have the chance to be blown onto the containers or food products themselves when compressed air gets utilized. Excess moisture in compressed air also causes direct microbial growth on food products. Compressed air testing will help in detecting moisture, so manufacturers can make sure that it has been properly dried before use.

2. Ensures That Oil Particles Have Been Removed From The Air

It’s important for air compressors to use filters that ensure the removal of oil particles from the air. In the production facility, however, oil vapor in the air will always be a common concern since other machines placed on the production floor can also produce it, increasing its presence in the ambient air. The removal of oil vapor should be done to the highest possible degree, and compressed air testing can help in accomplishing that. Only 0.01 milligrams or less per cubic meter of oil should be present in direct contact compressed air. For non-contact compressed air systems, on the other hand, only 0.1 milligrams or less per cubic meter of oil should be present.

3. Ensures That Compressed Air Is Completely Free From Contaminants

Solid particles may also be present in compressed air and cause contamination when they get transferred to beverage or food products. When compressed air gets dried, and microorganisms turn into spores, solid particulates sometimes form. Other contaminants may also come from the air compressor, rotor coatings, or other internal mechanisms. The particles, especially dust that are found in the air can also enter the air compressor naturally and need to be removed. Again, compressed air testing helps make certain that the compressed air is contaminant-free.

Conclusion

Compressed air testing must be performed periodically to help manufacturers verify that compressed air is free from contaminants, and pressure dew points are maintained. Testing will help manufacturers keep up with purity standards and guarantee the safety of food products for end consumers.

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