Friday, July 28

Compressed Air Equipment in the Refreshments Industry

From the juice boxes you feed to your kids, to the mid-afternoon pick-me up canned caffeinated drink, to the glass of wine you enjoy at the end of a long day- compressed air was most likely involved in producing and packaging all those beverages.


Compressed air is used throughout multiple stages of the beverage production process and can even be used in the service side of the industry, after the beverage has already been produced, such as in a soda machine at a local restaurant. Aside from just the air compressor, nitrogen can also be used in various beverage compressed air applications as well. Below is a list of general applications compressed air powers in the beverage production industry:

  • Automating Valves & Actuators
  • Aerating
  • Transporting
  • Mixing
  • Fermenting
  • Sterilizing
  • Quick Thawing
  • Filling & Packaging
  • Cleaning
  • Sealing
  • Bottling
  • Dispensing
  • Storing

Now that you have a general idea of basic applications, let’s look closer at how different beverage categories utilize compressed air.


  • Transportation: Air compressors are utilized to power the conveyor belts that transfer materials and product throughout the facility. They also can power the controls and actuators that allow the proper valves to be open at a specified time and control when compressed air is put to use.
  • Peeling & Cutting Ingredients: air compressors help power pneumatic tools that peel and cut ingredients to be used as ingredients in various beverages such as fruit juice. Some industrial grade juicers also rely on compressed air to be able to juice fruits and vegetables.
  • Sterilization: compressed air can also create an ozone gas that is commonly used to sterilize water.
  • Blending: Like peeling and cutting, air compressors can power machinery used in blending and mixing ingredients to make a beverage. Compressed air can also be used to introduce bubbles into the bottom of a liquid mixture to help it start mixing as the bubbles rise to the surface and cause the liquid to circulate.
  • Bottling/Canning: Compressed air is used throughout the entire packaging process whether it be preparing, filling, sealing, or labeling. This applies to all types of beverage containers from bottles to cans to cartons.
  • Dispensing: Soda machines many times rely on compressed air to force soda through the lines and dispense them in an even stream with the right amount of CO2 to preserve the carbonation
  • Thawing: Compressed air can be used to heat large drums of frozen juices to thaw them quickly to be able to be packaged in smaller containers


Beer & Seltzers

  • Milling/Mashing: Pneumatic crushers powered by compressed air turn the original grain into what is called grist. The grist then enters the mash tun where compressed air is utilized to power a mixer that combines the grist with hot water and other starchy grains. Once completed and all the natural sugars have been extracted into the malt, the mash drains into a separate tank, flowing through valves that are powered by compressed air. It is then separated into solids and the leftover liquid.
  • Fermentation & Aeration: Oxygen is introduced into yeast cultures causing carbon dioxide (CO2) to be created. Compressed air-powered valves then eject the CO2 from the tank, allowing the brewers to be able to control the carbonation levels in the beer.
  • Pneumatic Regulation: A continuous and reliable flow of compressed air is used to allow valves to open and close instantaneously to avoid any delays in production.
  • Clarifying: Pressure-driven centrifuges are used to remove solids and the cloudy look to the brew to create a cleaner, clearer product before effervescence is added. These centrifuges perform a high-speed spinning motion that separates any particulate from the liquid and gets discarded as waste.
  • Canning/Bottling: Dry compressed air is generally used to move the beer into a bottle or can for packaging. Then, after the bottles or cans have been filled, a topper is utilized to add caps to bottles powered by short, powerful jets of air that seal the cap to the bottles, thus preserving the carbonation.


Many wineries across the globe utilize air compressor, nitrogen generators, and low-pressure blowers to produce a delicious drink out of grapes! Here are a few of the key applications compressed air equipment plays a key role in:

  • Crushing & Pressing Grapes: Compressed air is used in a machine called the grape crusher to apply pressure to the grapes in order to squeeze the juice out. One the compressed air is applied to the press that is loaded with grapes, it is then used again to inflate the machine and push the grape juice out through the vents to be taken to the next step in the wine making process.
  • Fermentation: Compressed air is used to regulate specific heated or cooled temperatures to allow proper fermentation of the grape juice. Deviations from specified temperatures can result in a low-quality wine and wasted grape juice.• Mixing & Blending: Pulses of air are released into the bottom of the tank to cause bubbles to rise to the surface and begin circulating the liquids.
  • Aeration: Aeration is the process that allows the liquids to breathe by introducing oxygen into the wine. This is done by utilizing low-pressure blowers to inject oxygen and soften the wine.
  • Bottling: Pressurized air is used to transport the wine from the barrels into the designated bottles. To prevent oxidation during this process, nitrogen generators are also used to remove any oxygen from the empty bottles prior to them being filled with the wine. This helps preserve the freshness.
  • Sparging: Nitrogen generators are utilized to introduce nitrogen in the form of fine bubbles to eliminate any dissolved oxygen from the wine. The level of sparging needed is dependent on whether a white or red wine is being produced.

Distilled Liquor

  • Oxygenating/Fermenting: Like breweries, compressed air is utilized to regulate temperatures and oxygen introduction to the mash to turn it into a yeast. Once it is a yeast, it needs to be combined with water to turn the sugars in the yeast into alcohol.
  • Distilling: Compressed air equipment is used to help heat up the new sugar/alcohol solution to collect the true alcohol vapors, which are then recondensed back into liquid form.
  • Blending: Compressed air is used to help mix various ingredients to create the right blend for the desired liquor. It is also used to help facilitate the water and yeast combination in the fermentation stage.
  • Purging: Air compressors are used to facilitate a purge gas to remove all CO2 from the containers and product
  • Valve & Actuator Operation: Throughout the entire process, compressed air equipment is used to control the opening and closing of valves so that air and product is transported to the correct area at the proper time. Compressed air also serves as a power source to pneumatic actuators which control the use of the mechanical equipment needed to complete tasks throughout the distillation process.

Importance of Oil Free

Air purity is of utmost importance when manufacturing consumable items to mitigate the risk of illness or other contaminants entering humans’ bodies. Oil free air compressors mean that no lubricant enters the compression chamber. This eliminates the risk of oil coming into contact with the product. Oil free compressors deliver safe, pure air, while meeting SQF Standards- making them the clear choice when dealing with food and beverage manufacturing.



Zorn is the Midwest leader of custom, engineered compressed air and vacuum solutions. We provide the best customer experience by understanding your applications and needs and offering an unparalleled commitment to customer satisfaction. 

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