Oil free compressor system upgrade for pharmaceutical company

Accord Healthcare Ltd identified a need to upgrade their compressed air system to a more efficient and oil-free system.

It was key to the project that production downtime was minimised and for energy efficiency to be at the forefront of all decisions.

The Brief

Direct Air were asked to support Accord Healthcare in their upgrade considerations with an emphasis on energy reduction and the quality of compressed air generated.

Glenn Heywood, Principle Project Engineer at Accord Healthcare explained: ‘Provision of high-quality compressed air is fundamental to our operation. The engineering team decided the existing compressed air generation and treatment and distribution manifold required replacement.’

‘This was no light undertaking as the existing equipment was woven into the plant room. The changeover was to have no manufacturing impact.’

Our solution

Due to activity at a facility in Greece, two CompAir DH110SR variable speed compressors were suitable for the upgrade project.

The CompAir water injected DH110 compressors provide exceptional efficiency and reliability of operation due to its extremely low operating temperatures and simple design. The CompAir DH compressor is 100% oil free.

To enhance the efficiency of the compressor it is inverter driven. The variable speed drive system starts with no current peaks and no heat is generated in the motor. The starting current never exceeds the full load running current and the compressor can be started and stopped as many times as required.

A CompAir SmartAir Master control system was also installed to manage the installed compressors. The compressed air generation continuously is adapted to the air demand at an optimised low-pressure band.

Direct Air recommended the installation of two new BEKO FRA-V1400 zero purge heat regenerative desiccant air dryers, with BEKO CLEARPOINT flanged filtration to deliver compressed air that would meet ISO 8573-1:2010 Class 1.2.1.

The two dryers replaced old internally heated, part purge dryers that had high running costs. Each of the BEKO FRA-V1400 dryers have installed dewpoint control, therefore further improving system efficiency with the regeneration process only operating when necessary to maintain the -40 Deg C pressure dewpoint essential for the sites quality of air requirements.

With compressed air quality of paramount importance to the sites production requirements, Direct Air also installed the BEKO METPOINT OCV oil monitoring unit together with METPOINT BDL recorder. These units provide continuous monitoring of the delivered compressed air quality with any deviation away from this highlighted immediately to enable corrective action to be taken.


Direct Air provided a full turnkey package for the removal and installation of the new equipment. The installation presented a number of challenges due to the plant room location, limited space and the need to keep any compressed air downtime to the minimum.

In order to facilitate this, the system was fabricated off-site at Direct Air’s workshop following site surveys by their project team. All the pipework installed was of stainless-steel welded construction to ensure that the oil free compressed air’s quality was not compromised after the treatment and drying process.

Due to the water-cooled design of the available CompAir compressors, Direct Air also provided and installed a new air-blast cooling water system complete with inverted pump set.

Installation was phased over two Bank Holidays to ensure that there was no disruption to the facilities ongoing production requirements, with the dryers and filters installed in the first phase and compressors over the second phase.

Following final commissioning and hand over, the new system is operating extremely well with compressed air quality well within the limits of the sites required ISO classes. In addition, Accord Healthcare have reported energy savings of 37% over the previously installed system.


Glenn Heywood commented:

“Direct Air was selected to upgrade our system and the resultant system is considered an exemplar project. The team carried out a detailed survey of the installation requirements that included for the complete strip out of four old oil injected compressors, three desiccant air dryers, two receivers and all the associated galvanised steel pipework.”

“The changeover was meticulously planned; the execution was complex but made to look straightforward.”

“The resultant air quality exceeds the standards required. This is underpinned by a significant energy saying of 37% over the previous setup.”