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Safety-relevant aspects

Compressed air in the chemical industry

There are many entry points for contamination in a chemical park. You may be familiar with some of them. Whether there is a need for action usually only becomes apparent at a later stage. Continuous monitoring using measurement technology can provide early indications.

The manufacture of high-quality chemical products involves the use of toxic, corrosive and variable substances. This means that compressed air could react with these substances if it is contaminated. Compressed air often even comes into direct contact with the product itself during the production process and must therefore be subject to the strictest regulations and permanent monitoring. This requires absolutely oil-free, dry and constant compressed air. 

Especially in an industry as demanding as the chemical industry, process reliability and smooth operation without major pressure dew point and differential pressure fluctuations must be guaranteed: for maximum safety and efficiency.

Explosion protection

Reactive substances

In the context of chemical production processes, the ATEX Directive 2014/34/EU with its European provisions on explosion protection is particularly relevant. Applications in petrochemical environments also require high safety standards, which are summarised in the technical standards of the API.

Applications in the chemical industry

food transport

Pneumatic conveying

Powdery or granular raw materials are processed in numerous industries. Compressed air is utilised as the conveying air so that these substances can be transported on or metered through the production plant. Chemicals in the form of raw material and powder are transported via pipework on to the location for additional processing in the chemical industry such as e.g. to silos, metering plants or production plants. The compressed air implemented in this process must have a defined degree of drying so that powders and granules combine or become lumpy due to the residual humidity.

The air supply for larger chemical plants is often implemented via external piping. A particularly low pressure dew point is hereby necessary in order to prevent condensation. It is recommended that there is provision of a back up system in drying plants with higher volume flow in order to guarantee a constant supply in complex chemical and petrochemical plants. 


Processing of powders and granules

A wide variety of products are manufactured in chemical processes which include, among others, concrete powder, synthetics, plastics and rubber, adhesives, pharmaceutical products, cleaning agents and cosmetics. These products are generated from natural (e.g. fats and oils) or synthetic raw materials (e.g. ethylene, styrene, vinyl chloride) . Compressed air provides support within the framework of manufacturing insofar that it breaks down, atomises, fans out, mixes or homogenises. The compressed air must therefore have in addition to its - depending on the purity to be defined for the type of application - a special drying degree so that powders and granules do not combine or become lumpy due to residual humidity.

When it comes down to direct product contact e.g. in the case of the detergent atomisation and subsequent use as an additive for dishwasher tablets, the compressed air must be absolutely oil-free. In order to guarantee the process reliability, not only permanent monitoring but also complete documentation of the quality of the compressed air is indispensable.

Ex Symbol


Compressed air can be utilised in chemical plants and systems for measurement, control and regulating tasks. Compressed air can also be especially utilised in explosion hazardous areas (EX Areas) because, in contrast to electricity, it generates no sparks. This means that, for example, compressed air tools and hydraulic lifts with an ignition-free source drive unite can be operated. Compressed air is a safe energy source in explosion hazardous environments and therefore explicitly approved for use in EX Areas).

A lot of compressed air is often required on drilling rigs and in natural gas and crude oil storage facilities where there are strict safety regulations. The compressed air is also exposed to the harsh ambient temperatures. Since the control and regulating systems are often positioned in outdoor areas, it must be ensured that the pneumatic devices are, for example, protected from condensation failure or freezing up.


Application Reports and Case Studies

everdry xxl

Compressed air treatment XXL at Chempark Uerdingen

BEKO TECHNOLOGIES has implemented a major project for an adsorption dryer which utilizes the heat from the compression process for regeneration. The plant was handed over to CURRENTA after successfully completing the trial operation.

umria filler

Optimising the compressed air system at Umbria Filler

Companies in today´s chemical industry are not only under pressure to produce efficiently, they must also fulfil quality requirements and sustainability requirements. 


Residual oil - an absolute no-go

The user works with gas chromatographs, which are used as an analytical method for separating mixtures into individual chemical compounds.