Manufacturing is one of the world’s most prevalent sectors, and around 70% of all manufacturers have a compressed air system in their set-up. Standards across the board are important, as they allow for the interchangeability and compatibility of systems as well as more balanced evaluations. How are standards for these compressed air distribution systems set, you ask? Here are a few national and international organizations that set some key regulations for the compressed air industry.
- The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
ASME standard EA-4 – 2010 describes a standard procedure for conducting, recording, and reporting an energy assessment of a compressed air system.
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
An government agency in the United States Department of Labor, OSHA focuses broadly on worker safety. Each state features branches of OSHA, but regulations concerning worker safety around compressed air are pretty consistent across the board.
- International Organization for Standardization (ISO)
The ISO has several standards mostly focusing on air quality within a compressed air distribution system. ISO 8573-1:2010 is one of the most current standards (last reviewed and re-approved in 2017) and focuses on contaminants like various particles, water, and oil. ISO 12500 covers benchmarking the performance of filters. The ISO also hosts a standardized list of relevant vocabulary for the industry.
- European Committee for Standardization (CEN)
Ever since a 1994 mandate from the European Commission, the CEN has worked on a definitive set of European Standards. The list of directives and regulations is fairly extensive, but a single example is EU Directive 97/23/EC, which targets safety regulations for compressed air and similar systems.
- European Committee of Compressors, Vacuum Pumps, and Pneumatic Tools (PNEUROP)
Regulations formulated by PNEUROP often become important international standards, such as much of the aforementioned ISO 8573 series. Much of their work focuses on air purity.
Remember that these aren’t the only standard-creators you may have to consider, other standards can be made locally to internationally through various kinds of legislation. Standards agreed on in commercial agreements can certainly be binding. Other ‘standards’ are simply highly recommended suggestions that usually focus on quality or specifications rather than safety. Be sure to have a strong base knowledge of legally binding standards and regulations that apply specifically to your field and location, and then decide what optional standards would best benefit your operation.