January 11, 2023

Medical Applications of Industrial Air

Winter weather in the midwest seems to bring about a lot of doctor visits!  From general doctor's visits, to surgical procedures, to dental check-ups, and pharmaceutical pick-ups- compressed air is used in so many ways in the medical industry!

Important Medical Air Applications

Medical Tool Operation

Compressed air is commonly used to drive power to medical and surgical tools, especially in situations where it is too sensitive to utilize electricity instead of air. Compressed air can be contaminant-free which is why you frequently will see it in use in operating rooms, dentists chair, and primary care facilities for different tools used for puncturing, drilling, sawing, blowing, or other medical procedures that utilize precise air flow and pressure.

Clean Air

As mentioned before, compressed air can be contaminant-free with the right machines. This allows medical facilities to utilize compressed air for breathing/respiratory quality air for patient requiring oxygen or extra breathing assistance during an operation. The steady, consistency of air produced from a compressor, ensures the patient will have steady breathing whether it is under sedation or due to a respiratory condition.

Similarly, the clean air that can be used for breathing air, is also used in ventilation and incubation for patient health and safety of all ages. This air can not only travel through large ventilators and incubators, but also face masks, nebulizers, endotracheal tubes, hyperbaric chambers, and NICUs to help control the environment and administer the right amount of clean air for each patient’s needs.

Carrying Agent

Another use of compressed air in the medical field is as a carrier for medical gases. It is commonly used for inhaled medications and anesthetics before or during medical procedures. This allows administration to happen whether awake or sedated. Because medical air has a lower oxygen content than ambient air, it is a safer anesthetic carrier gas- especially for patients with various sensitivities.


Just as general compressed air is used to clean different facilities, medical compressed air is also used for filtered clean air to spray, dry, and handle sterilized equipment.

Pharmaceutical Transportation & Packaging

Finally, compressed air is used in operations in pharmaceutical industries like spraying of residues, transporting medications, and packaging the medication for distribution to medical facilities and for patients’ pickup after leaving medical facilities. Air powered pneumatic tools help to portion the exact amount of each ingredient that goes into medical formulas- whether it be pill or liquid form. Hardening and coating of pills and tablets also requires compressed air for operation.


Medical Compressed Air Categories

NFPA 99 has updated procedures and requirements for safe usage of compressed air in medical applications. They break it into 4 main categories:

Category 1: The systems deliver compressed air in a capacity in which any interruption could cause harm to a patient. Example: Life support systems.

Category 2: The systems have a tolerance for short interruptions with only a minimal impact on patient care.

Category 3: The systems support patient care, but significant downtime would not directly impede their care. The loss f these systems may cause discomfort but would not cause harm to a patient.

Category 4: The systems can experience downtime with zero impact on patient care



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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Our compressed air experts look forward to meeting you to discuss your equipment and support needs. Please contact us directly at (262) 695-7000 with any questions or to schedule service for your system moving forward.

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