There is no other industry in which more material is moved using pneumatic conveying than in the food and beverage sector. From sugar and flour to cereals and many other products, millions of tons of food are transported across the globe every single day.
This poses two main challenges for companies in the food and beverage industry: First, they need access to a reliable, high-volume supply of compressed air. And, just as importantly, they have to meet the stringent compressed air standards for the food industry.
When goods are pneumatically conveyed, they come into direct contact with the compressed air being used to transport them. As a result, any contaminants contained in that air could find their way into this material and, ultimately, the end product.
Maybe this isn’t much of a problem if a little bit of oil or a few particles can be found in the concrete used to pave a road. However, it’s a different story whenever materials are conveyed that end up in products meant for human consumption.
The consequences of such a contamination can often be devastating and costly: From loss of complete production batches to recalls or lawsuits.
Fortunately, there are plenty of air treatment options and products available that prevent these outcomes and help food and beverage producers meet the compressed air standards for the food industry.
Below you will find information on the applicable food safety and compressed air quality standards and how to keep your pneumatic conveying system and your end products safe from harmful contaminants.
ISO 22000 is among the most important international food safety standards. It applies to any organization that directly or indirectly participates in food production. This not includes primary producers, such as farms, but also food processors and the manufacturers of packaged or canned foods
The standard helps all of these organizations identify potential food safety hazards and control them. Therefore, it plays a key role in guaranteeing quality and transparency in food processing and production facilities (including feed plants), i.e., the operations that use pneumatic conveying. It also helps businesses and consumers maintain confidence in the food supply chain and allows products to cross borders more easily.
As a result, the customers of companies that are in compliance with this voluntary standard can rest assured that the products they consume are safe.
Then there is ISO 8573-1, which is perhaps the most important resource for companies that want to use the optimal compressed air treatment equipment and processes.
It helps companies understand how clean their air has to be by defining how many contaminants (ISO 8573-1 is divided into solid particles, water and oil) the compressed air is still allowed to contain post-treatment at a specific point in the system.
ISO 8573-1 is divided into seven air quality classes. The lower the class, the cleaner the air has to be. All but one of these classes have specifically defined thresholds. For the higher classes, these are easy to meet. For the lower classes, i.e., the compressed air standards for the food industry, this becomes more challenging.
The most important ISO 8573-1 class for the food industry is Class 0, which is the only class without defined contamination levels. However, that does not mean that Class 0 air has to be entirely contaminant-free. Instead, its permissible contaminant levels are set by the user and supplier of the respective air treatment equipment. In any case, the threshold limits of Class 0 have to be lower than those of Class 1.
One of the ways in which businesses in the food and beverage sector can reduce the risk of compressed air contamination (and meet the requirements of Class 0 in terms of oil contamination) is to use our oil-free compressed air equipment. It ensures that no oil used as lubricant can enter the air flow and contaminate the food that is being pneumatically conveyed.
In addition, the use of an oil-free compressor also eliminates the need for an oil-removal filter.
Furthermore, dryers and different types of filters will allow you to reduce moisture and particulates to a safe level to ensure that you can meet even the most stringent compressed air standards for the food industry.