Rand-Air: When Class O means top-class medicine!

The pharmaceuticals industry requires a pristine manufacturing environment to ensure the integrity of the final product, which must meet the strictest levels of hygiene. A key enabler in producing these sterile ‘clean room’-standard manufacturing conditions lies in the application of oil-free compressed air.

Leaders in the field of portable air, power, flow and lighting solutions, and part of the global Atlas Copco Specialty Rental division, Rand-Air plays a major role within the pharmaceutical industry, delivering agile, customer-centric solutions across every aspect of this demanding manufacturing environment.

Rand-Air Sales and Marketing Manager Byrone Thorne says: “Wherever industries demand the highest air quality for the end-product – and throughout the production process – Class 0 oil-free air is the solution. This includes within the pharmaceutical and food and beverage processing industries, and others.”

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The Rand-Air ZT3I5 VSD Class 0 oil-free compressor typically supplied to the pharmaceutical sector.

As world focus intensifies on the medical and allied sectors to produce a vaccine for the current Covid-19 pandemic, and in support of guaranteeing sterile and safe manufacturing conditions, Rand-Air supplies Atlas Copco Class 0 oil-free compressors to the pharmaceutical industry, where the demand for medical products and services is growing.

Thorne adds: “Within the pharmaceuticals sector specifically, there is zero tolerance for any contamination during manufacturing, and this is where Atlas Copco’s internationally-recognised TUV Class 0 oil-free compressors have made their mark in various aspects of manufacturing, including packaging and conveying the medical product during production via systems using pneumatic valves. Also, in the production of a variety of medical accessories such as the sachets used for intravenous drips, oil-free compressed air is a major part of the manufacturing process.

“Rand-Air supplies the PT- PN- and Z- range of compressors which are Class 0 oil-free. We focus on quality, health and safety, with solutions ranging from the lowest to the highest flows, and we keep abreast of technological advancements in key target markets, such as in the pharmaceutical sector,” he adds.

To this end, he notes that Class 0 oil-free compressors guarantee 100% oil-free, dry air, as they comply with ISO 8573-1:2010 certification, a stringent standard that each compressor must meet. The standard specifies purity classes of compressed air with respect to particles, water and oil. It also identifies gaseous and microbiological contaminants.

Thorne adds: “The PT range of portable oil-free compressors – both in diesel or electrical options – have a Teflon-coated air-end, and contaminants such as dust, oil or water vapour do not come into contact with the customer’s product on the production line, thereby removing any contamination risk.”

He explains, “At the intake section that draws in ambient air, a combination of driers which are only compatible with this range of compressors adsorb 70% of any moisture that is present (much like silica crystals found in some packaging); and the air that comes out is 100% clean and dry, obviating the need for extra filtration. As this moisture-absorbent material regenerates, it can be re-used several times, making it environmentally-approved, unlike technically oil-free compressors, where airborne oil is removed afterwards, using a variety of filtration processes,” he says.

Furthermore, Rand-Air’s Atlas Copco Class 0 oil-free compressors come with a reduced carbon footprint and are also the most cost-effective answer to compressed air requirements, while adhering to the strictest environmental regulations.

Thorne notes: “A technically oil-free compressor is potentially prone to failure as the result of poor maintenance and filter cleaning – amongst other factors -, creating a contamination risk within the environment in which it is operating. There is also the high energy running cost to consider,” he points out and adds: “Rand-Air’s class 0 oil-free compressors have a number of features – including variable-speed drives (VSD) – which make them energy-efficient, increasing their environmental and energy compliance.”

Thorne observes that there is a growing demand for long-term hires into the medical and pharmaceutical sectors, specifically the ZT class of fixed compressors for use in applications such as critical care units, where reliable air flow can be controlled and is consistently safe for the environment.

“The Class 0 oil-free range offers long-term hire customers long-term peace of mind, which is a cost saving in itself – along with the other support services that Rand-Air offers, including 24/7 technical support and the option of a replacement compressor should the need arise. The long-term hire option compares favourably with purchasing which, at a time when finances are generally tight, entails significant capital outlay,” Thorne points out.

“Rand-Air takes care of all aspects of compressor hire for the pharmaceutical and other industries which we supply – allowing our customers to focus on their core business – while we guarantee a long-term, safe, continuous supply of Class 0, totally oil-free, sterile air,” he concludes.

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