The following is an excerpt from my interview with Mike Grennier of Blower & Vacuum Best Practices. We discussed how oil-free air blowers are utilized across the food and beverage industry. Read the full interview here.
Please describe the food and beverage market and where these blowers are commonly used.
To put it in perspective, the food and beverage industry accounted for 12 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product in 2017. The main subsegments that use low-pressure air for numerous applications in this industry include meat processing, poultry, dairy product manufacturing, preserved fruits and vegetables, as well as brewing and beverage processes.
The primary use of low-pressure air in this market is pneumatic conveying in both vacuum and pressure. Many food manufacturers also operate wastewater treatment facilities independent from their municipalities to decontaminate process or sewage water and to treat organic waste.
Tell us about Atlas Copco’s commitment to oil-free technologies.
Frankly, why add lubricant to the system in an application when it has to be taken out? Why not just reduce the risk of contamination up front and the severe consequences that can follow, whether its spoiled or unsafe products, legal issues that can damage a brand or any number of issues? Knowing the compressed air is 100 percent oil-free provides users with peace of mind. Oil-free blowers and air compressors also help users achieve energy efficiency and meet increasing government regulations.Oil-free air can also help reduce the need for service and parts.
What’s your advice for selecting blower technologies for food and beverage applications?
We always tell customers there is no single best technology. Choosing the best oil-free blower type begins with understanding the process and application. There are many factors to be considered, including capital cost, energy consumption, performance range, process requirements and maintenance.
The best advice is to work with a knowledgeable supplier to get a full understanding of the strengths of a given technology and deciding whether it’s the right blower for a specific process. Working with a supplier that has multiple blower types is also a good idea because there isn’t a bias toward one specific technology and allows ample opportunity to discuss all factors and questions that go into making the best choice.