Considerations for Medical Compressed Air Systems

When hospitals and medical facilities need Medical Air compressed air systems, there are many factors to consider. First and foremost, all systems must meet the requirements set forth in the NFPA 99 specifications. Aside from the standards laid out by the NFPA 99, there are some other things to consider.

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  • Compressor Technology: Different technologies can be used for compressed air in a medical system. Currently the most widely used is the oil-less reciprocating and the oil-less scroll.  The oil-less scroll is a great choice because of its lower operating costs and extended service intervals.  Having a smaller size, scroll pumps can be banked with multiple units, allowing the system to meet the varied demands of a hospital saving energy costs during periods of lower demand.
  • Noise / Heat: Usually a compressed air system is not the only piece of equipment in the mechanical room. Excessive noise and heat can be issues.  An enclosed scroll system can offer the advantages of reduced noise levels. Also with an enclosed system you can duct in your cooling air and duct out the hot exhaust air.
  • Controllers / Connectivity: An integral part of any Medical Air compressed air system is the controller. Things to consider would be Ethernet connectivity, integration with your building automation systems (BACnet Protocol) and email notification for service personnel.
  • Reliability / Serviceability: Even with the stringent requirements from the NFPA 99, not all systems are built the same. Close attention needs to be paid to the expected reliability of the system and how it is engineered.  Check the manufacturer’s warranty and see what is covered and for how long. Some manufacturers are submitting their systems to seismic testing and certification.  We now have seismic certifications available for all of our source equipment.  No matter how well a system is engineered and built, you’ll still need service for it so make sure there is local support with technicians that are ASSE 6040 certified.

Written by Darren Brown: Medical Systems Consultant for Lewis Systems.  Darren has over 30  years in the Med Gas and Oil-Free compressed air industry.