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Industry News

Do you have an air compressor? What you need to know…
30 June,2012

Written Schemes of Examination (WSE)

These are a requirement under the ‘Pressure Systems Safety Regulations 2000′, the consolidated and updated replacement for the ‘Pressure Systems and Transportable Gas Containers Regulations 1989′. Almost all compressed air systems fall under the category of a ‘Minor System’ and will require a formal Written Scheme of Examination (WSE), which must be signed off by a Competent Person. A Competent Person for a minor compressed air system will typically have an HND or Degree in Mechanical Engineering and should have worked for a minimum of 5 years in the (compressed air) industry. This is a requirement of the H&SE. The person that physically draws up the WSE need not be of chartered status (or equivalent) so long as that person acts under the direction and supervision of a suitably qualified and experienced person. It is important to note that a WSE is not worth the paper it is written on if it has not been signed by a Competent Person.

  • The maximum fine for not having a WSE for a minor compressed air system is £20,000 in the Magistrates Court .
  • Construction (Design and Management) (Amendment) Regulations 2000.

These modified regulations re-define the duties of the designer and apply to projects which include ‘the installation, commissioning, maintenance of compressed air systems which are normally fixed within or to a structure.’ The regulations require the user to appoint a Planning Supervisor who shall ensure that the regulations are applied to each respective stage of the contract. The penalty for not adopting formal CDM Regulations during a compressed air project is another £20,000 in the Magistrates Court .

  • Pressure Equipment Regulations 1999 (SI1999/2001). PED is the EEC Directive, and the UK conduit for implementing the directive is the Pressure Equipment Regulations 1999. The regulation became law in the UK during November 1999, however a transitional period has been granted so that it will not become mandatory until May 2002. PER 1999 will require a supplier to document and demonstrate that ‘pressurised assemblies’ are safe, have been designed & manufactured according to sound engineering practice, and bear specified markings. This regulation may curtail the activities of many ‘plumbers’, because depending upon the size of the pipe and the pressure of the system, they will be required by law to have in place a formally certified ISO9000 Quality Control System administered by a UKAS accredited inspection body. Indeed, some even larger systems will require the use of ‘Notified Bodies’ to ensure the final safety of the assembly.
  • Water Resources Act 1991.This legislation directly affects all compressed air users. It is absolutely prohibited to pour condensate from a compressor (lubricated and oil-free alike) down a fresh water drain, or to discharge the condensate on to the ground. The penalty is a maximum £20,000 fine in the magistrate’s court.
  • As every type of compressor produces condensate, this small piece of legislation affects every compressed air user. The condensate must be cleaned to the standards applicable to the local water authority, then the condensate can be discharged down the FOUL DRAIN.
  • Regardless of the cleanliness of the condensate, it is an offence to pour the condensate down a rain water drain. Another point to beware of is local bylaws. Some areas may also prohibit the use of zinc plated pipe work, therefore before selecting materials for the water/condensate system – it’s always best to check.

If a compressed air receiver is not drained regularly, an oily condensate build up will starve the system of air and create an acidic and corrosive mixture attacking valves and cylinders on the dry cleaning equipment.

Products coming into contact with the compressed air also tend to smell of oil.

When oily condensate is discharged from a compressed receiver, it must be processed before disposal into a drain.

If an air receiver is continuously discharged onto the ground, the resultant pollution can lead to a heavy fine and even imprisonment under the Water Resources Act 1991.

To solve this problem a level sensing drain to automate the draining of the compressed air receiver can be installed.

To ensure that oily water condensate is properly processed before disposal we can install a purpose manufactured separator.

The automated version of this equipment drains compressed air receivers, separates the sediment and oils and then purifies the water. This will 100% ensure your compliance to legislation control. They operate only when there is condensate present and do not waste the compressed air storage any more than necessary which is considerably less than a manual blow down system.

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