Unhealthy systems may also contain viable particles in addition to the non-viable particles caused by rusted pipes or shedding tubes.How to determine particle content:
- Analytical weight by mass concentration (Class 6-X)
- Light Optical Microscopy (Class 3-5*)
- Optical particle sizing and counting instrumentation LPC (Class 0-5)
- Scanning Electron Microscopy (Class 0-5)
Excessive water vapor and liquid water can cause catastrophic failure to compressor systems and filtration devices.How to determine water content:
A slight amount of hydrocarbon contamination in a fitting is enough to produce unacceptably high levels of oil vapor.How to determine oil content:
- Charcoal Tubes – oil vapor
- Filter Membrane – oil aerosol
Gaseous contaminants can affect product taste and quality – especially in beverage facilities. ISO 8573 doesn’t have any specific regulations so facilities must rely on local regulations for guidance. How to determine gaseous content:
Microorganisms thrive in harsh conditions like compressed air systems – especially when oil or water is present. Aseptic technique is highly important when your SOP says that you must test for viable particles. ISO 8573-7 doesn’t currently have any specifications for microorganisms however, they are vital for beverage manufacturers to test for.
Facilities may find anaerobes in their compressed air systems – these are microorganisms that grow without oxygen and are often the cause of costly recalls. How to determine microorganism content:
- Impaction samplers
- Settle/contact plates
- Surface swabs
Standardization allows for universal understanding and unity of requirements for beverage manufacturers. ISO 8573 is the international standard for compressed air monitoring and is applicable to particles, water, oil, microorganisms and most pure gas tests. Advancements in technology have made sampling compressed air quick and easy so technicians will need minimal training before taking samples.