The quality of gas or compressed air within a system depends to a large extent on the continuous monitoring of the residual oil content and the number of particles. Our systems for determining the residual oil content and measuring the particles in compressed air and gas are available both in a stationary and in a mobile version. In this way, we offer the right system for every application to meet the requirements of ISO 8573 as easily as possible.
There are a variety of sources that can introduce oil into a compressed air system. Oil lubricated compressors, which are prevalent in manufacturing facilities, use oil to seal, lubricate, and cool during the compression stage. Oil vapors can also be introduced from worn seals, o-rings, or compressors that are overheating and allowing vapors to escape through the system. Because oil is used so abundantly in the compressed air process, the potential for contamination is elevated. Additionally, cleaning solvents and connection glue can also produce oil vapor contamination.
Inappropriate or inadequate filtration can also allow for excess oil to pass through the system. An inadequate grade of filtration might not remove the oil properly. If the application requires a 0.01 micron filter, and a 0.1 micron filter is used, then excess oil can pass through the system and impact the product.
Atmospheric air can contribute to oil contamination as well. This air contains anywhere from 0.05 mg/m3 to 0.5 mg/m3 of oil vapor (CAGI, 2012). Car exhausts, industrial processes, facility cleaning, and other environmental factors all contribute to oil vapor in the atmosphere. The compressor intake brings in these hydrocarbons and they can easily pass through the system. For example, intakes near an excess of car exhaust can face a higher risk for contamination.
Contaminated compressed air systems can result in a decrease of productivity, loss of product, recalls, and even complete shutdown for system cleaning and re-validation. When excess oil is present into the compressed air system, it has adverse effects on the machinery and the end-product. Excess oils could potentially impact the operation of tools or the maintenance of the system. The distribution system is also at risk as excess oil creates a nutrient-rich environment that is particularly suitable for microbiological growth, and can cause damage to the distribution system or equipment.
Food that is contaminated with oil will have a bad taste and odor and could affect the consumers’ health. Oil can also create a displeasing visual appearance to the product. Even food packaging manufacturers need to be aware of the effect that oil residue has on their products. If oil is deposited onto the food packaging, then it can transfer to the food product which compromises its quality. No consumer wants to find industrial oil in their coffee in the morning.