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Standards and Codes of Practice

25 January 2013

BCAS (British Compressed Air Society) is heavily involved with Standards work in relation to compressed air.Here, Greg Bordiak, technical officer, details some of the recent developments Standards can be codes of prac

BCAS (British Compressed Air Society) is heavily involved with Standards work in relation to compressed air.Here, Greg Bordiak, technical officer, details some of the recent developments

Standards can be codes of practice and industry codes of practice can become standards. BCAS and its members have been involved in both areas since 1930.

Compressed air system safety One standard that was an industry code of practice and then became an International Standard with the intention that it remained a code of practice is ISO 5388 'Code of practice for stationary air compressors'. This was formulated from codes of practice published by BCAS and a number of other international trade associations and compressor manufacturers' experiences during the 1960s and '70s.

The standard was published in 1981 and under the normal course of events would have been subject to regular ISO review and revision. However the EU demanded harmonised standards for legislative compliance from 1988 onwards and so this standard did not fit that requirement and was quietly left to stagnate.

After many years of looking inward manufacturers realised that they were not benefitting as much as they could be in that ISO 5388 had stagnated and the CEN standard, EN 1012-1 'Compressors and vacuum pumps. Safety requirements. Air compressors', although fulfilling EU requirements had no acceptance elsewhere; a situation needing a fix.

The fix has now been started by the revision of ISO 5388 which would now be metamorphosed into a 2-part standard. One part is exclusively based on EN 1012-1 as a design safety standard allowing compliance with EU law and providing the manufacturer with application throughout the world and the other part becoming a 'good practice' guide based on US, Russian, Chinese and other standards. Initially this part is based on a US standard which identifies issues beyond the scope of the first part.

The work began with an ISO working group meeting in November 2011 and once permission has been granted by CEN to use EN 1012-1 for this work to become an EN ISO standard, then a standard can be expected in 2014/15.

System assessment Another area of standard development which is now coming to a conclusion is the production of an ISO standard, eventually to become a duel EN ISO, covering compressed air system assessment (commonly called auditing). The standard ISO 11011 has now reached the Draft International Standard (DIS) stage and is being circulated for comment. The standard sets requirements for, conducting a compressed air system assessment, analysing the data from the assessment, reporting and documentation of assessment findings and identification of an estimate of energy saving resulting from the assessment process. The standard also identifies the roles and responsibilities of those involved in the assessment activity.

The standard has been produced as a result of activities both in the EU in the form of a directive that promotes the use of auditing and at the EN and ISO level the production of standards addressing 'Energy Management Systems'.

The new standard, which will be the first in any industry sector, should be available early in 2013 for adoption by those offering such services.

Food grade compressed air BCAS itself has embarked on the revision of a key code of practice relating to food grade compressed air. This code, which was first published in 2006, requires revision to update the air purity requirements due to the revision of ISO 8573-1 'Compressed air.

Contaminants and purity classes', and the light of experience that the use of the code brings. That experience will be in the form of feedback from food producers and the compressed air industry as suppliers of compressed air services. The revision should be completed by the end of 2012 and during that process a closer cooperation with the food industry representatives such as British Retail Consortium and the enforcement agencies such as the Food Standard Agency will be sought to help promote the use and acceptance of the code.