Medical Gas Equipment: Air Compressors, Vacuum Pumps, and Pipeline Explained: By MGI Inc.

Medical Gas Equipment: A General Overview


    This document is intended to give a general overview of the types of equipment that make up a piped medical gas system. 

What is a medical gas pipeline system?

    A medical gas pipeline system refers to all of the components and piping that allow for the delivery of medical gases from their storage source to a medical gas outlet. By way of medical gas piping, all of these components are connected in a way that provides constant monitoring through the use of area alarm panels and master alarm panels, and are also designed with fail safes in the event of shut downs or system failure.

What are the components of a medical gas pipeline system?

Medical gas systems are made up of 2 main categories, Source Equipment and Pipeline Equipment

Source equipment refers to Medical Air Compressors and Medical Vacuum Pumps. Typically, you will not be buying just the compressor or the vacuum pump, manufacturers typically assemble these components into what they call "Air Systems" or "Air Plants" and "Vacuum Systems". A complete medical air compressor system will typically come with control desiccant air dryers, filters, pressure regulator valves, dew point monitors, an air receiver, and a control panel. Vacuum systems will typically come with the pump, or pumps, a control panel, and an air receiver. 

Pipeline Equipment refers to manifolds, zone valve boxes and zone valves, area alarm panels and master alarm panels, medical gas outlets, and control panels. These items are stand alone pieces of equipment, unlike compressor and vacuum systems, and they will need to be spec'd into your medical gas pipeline system individually. Make sure to check manufacturer specifications on these individual medical gas components to ensure you are using the correct equipment to meet NFPA 99 specifications. 

Medical Air Compressors

Medical Air compressors are required to be oil-free and typically come in two types for medical applications, Reciprocating Compressors and Scroll Compressors. Scroll compressors are typically quieter more energy efficient choices for medical applications. Both compressor types and model variations have their applications and the choice over one or the other typically depends on the application type or size requirements. 

Medical Vacuum Pumps

Medical Vacuum pump types vary by manufacturer, but will typically come in some variation of rotary vane and rotary claw. Like with medical air compressors, the type or model of vacuum pump you choose will depend on the application or size requirements. 


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