Packaging and Processing

Importance of Compressed Air in the Food and Beverage Industry

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The Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) industry is one of the fastest industries in the world, surely justifying its name as the production process in FMCG has to be swift and bulky in order to match the demand and supply. While preparing food products in massive quantity, there is also a mandatory requirement of maintaining high quality standards as the stuff is meant for human consumption and even a minor error can cause a serious damage to the business reputation.

The food manufacturers must know the importance of compressed air used in food processing as the quality standards of food items are highly dependent on the air they are processed with. For food and beverage manufacturers, the International Standards Organization (ISO) has introduced a new class of compressed air quality, namely Class 0. The characteristic of the Class 0 compressed air is unique in nature as it is categorized as the most stringent air quality class which limits the contamination of oil in liquids, aerosols and vapors up to the maximum extent as compared to other air classes known today. Yes, it is true that Class 0 compressed air has the ability to limit oil contamination in liquids, aerosols and vapors up to maximum extent but Class 0 does not mean zero contamination.

Most of the compressor manufacturers claim to be producing air compressors which deliver the air matching the standards of Class 0. We don’t agree with this claim upfront as the Class 0 air compressors still need air filtration and treatment upstream as well as downstream of the compressor in some cases. This requirement is a lot dependent on the operating conditions and the state of the incoming air to the compressor.

You may comprehend easily with this scenario that a compressor is placed in a contaminated industrial location where the air is full of oil aerosols and vapors; these polluted articles can easily pass through the compressor and nullify the standards of Class 0 rating. In these circumstances, it is highly recommended to install particulate filters, coalescing filters, coolers, and desiccant or refrigerant dryers as per requirements to enjoy the benefits of Class 0 compressed air.

The compressed air is used in a wide range of processes in the food and beverage industry and some of them are Product handling to move products at high speeds along the production process; Food filling machines; Fluid pumps to move liquid products in the production and filling process; Nitrogen generation as compressed air is filtered to produce nitrogen, used in the packaging process; Air knives for cutting and peeling of products such as fruit and vegetables; and Packaging to generate the vacuum used in the packaging process.

We have explained here in detail that how the food and beverage manufacturers can achieve the highest quality standards through complying with Class 0 compressed air standards. The manufacturers should also know that how much it is important to protect the brand integrity and use of quality air in the food processing. They should also be mindful of that even the slightest traces of oil can result in altered or polluted products and the risk of health hazards for consumers.

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