Did you say "Christmas Dinner"? What's Compressed Air, Gas, and Vacuum got to do with it?

On Christmas Day, and somewhere strategically planned between the game of Padder Tennis, taking in the Pohutukawas in the park, and watching the local Santa Parades lies one of our favorite Holiday traditions – the Christmas feast. While not everyone’s menu mirrors Norman Rockwell’s masterpiece of the perfect Holiday meal, one might assume it would include turkey or a glazed ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, dinner rolls, and of course a kiwi style Pavlova or Christmas pud'!

But before the Christmas ham gets carved, you might get asked what you’re thankful for. Well, maybe this year you could say you’re thankful for the compressed air, gas and vacuum solutions that made everything on the table possible. Let’s look at how:

Poultry Processing: Let’s start with the main course and star of the show, the ham. Ham requires compressed air and vacuum for the pneumatic tools and conveyors used in the cleaning, waste removal and transporting processes designed to prepare birds for packaging.

Bottling. What’s Christmas dinner without a glass of wine or a pumpkin beer? Bottling is the quintessential application for compressors and nitrogen generators in winemaking and beer brewing. Air compressors provide the pressurized air that moves the wine from the barrels to the bottles and the beer from vats to cans or bottles. Because wines are particularly susceptible to oxidation during bottling, using an inert gas like nitrogen to remove the oxygen from the empty bottles helps ensure the freshness of the wine. N2 is also used to eliminate the carbon gases from the bottles prior to capping.

Canning. Vacuum pumps and nitrogen generators are also used in canning, which is necessary for other Christmas favorites like cranberry sauce. Vacuum is used to form the can, stamped from a single piece of aluminum, and to hold the cans as they move down the line. Because aluminum is nonmagnetic, the vacuum level must be able to hold the cans as they are lifted, set down and filled. Nitrogen generators also play an important role in canning, as they introduce nitrogen into the cans holding the end products. Every pocket of space in the cans are filled with nitrogen, thus removing the oxygen eliminating moisture and mould. What you are left with is a fresher, tastier product that stays that way for longer.

Cooling and Spraying. Baked goods like dinner rolls and sweet breads are iconic parts of Christmas meals. Compressed air and vacuum solutions are used to cool down baked goods after they emerge from the oven by removing moisture from the air which helps prevent contamination and product spoilage.

Automated Lines: Before the food you eat makes it to the table, it must be packaged and transported – but how does it even get to the packaging area? Compressed air is used to control the valves and actuators in automated lines for filling, packaging, and bottling; low-pressure compressed air will also help move the food down the production line so that packaging can occur. Once it’s made its way to the end of the production line, vacuum is used for palletizing finished goods before it’s loaded onto the truck.

Food Packaging. Because ham meat and other Christmas dinner staples are distributed across the country, they must be packaged and frozen prior to being shipped to their destination. This is accomplished with both vacuum pumps and nitrogen generators. Vacuum packaging is a very common process during which atmospheric oxygen is removed from the food packaging to prevent aerobic bacteria and fungi from growing. This not only help keep food fresh, but it increases the shelf life of things like poultry, fruits, and vegetables.

Meanwhile, on-site nitrogen generation ensures that the food doesn’t spoil by displacing the remaining oxygen from the package in a process called MAP, or Modified Atmospheric Packaging, which inhibits aerobic spoilage. This is especially important for perishable meats that can quickly sour without proper precautions. This process is not just for turkeys, MAP with nitrogen is commonly utilized in snacks, coffee, cheese, pasta, baked goods, sandwiches, and processed meats. It is also becoming increasingly popular in fresh-cut produce, like pre-packaged salads and fruit, for convenience, quality, and more variety.

We hope everyone has a safe and Merry Christmas from the Ash Air team! Enjoy your time with family and friends.

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Who we are and how Ash Air can help your business!

Ash Air has been around in New Zealand since 1979, and we’ve grown into a nationwide company with international support and a reputation for quality and reliability.We look after all things compressed air for your business!

  • Reciprocating, Screw, air compressors
  • Vacuum pumps
  • Nitrogen
  • An extensive line of air treatment components

Ash Air's range of Chicago Pneumatic, Alup, Pneumatech, and Quincy compressors are used extensively around the world in industries ranging from oil and gas to food, automotive and farming, and we bring you these world class compressors here in the land of the long white cloud.Our technicians are compressed air equipment experts and are dedicated to addressing customer needs. Supported by a 13 locations nationwide, Ash Air offers one of the widest selections of compressed air equipment and parts available today in New Zealand.

Reliability and Efficiency

With Ash Air compressors, you can count on reliability and high performance for even the most demanding applications. We focus our efforts on the following:

  • Increasing uptime
  • Reducing unexpected repairs
  • Reducing energy consumption
  • Improving the cleanliness of compressed air


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