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t is surprising yet true that industrial manufacturers spend the highest for compressed air systems. One of the lesser known facts is that anywhere from 12% to 40% of a facility’s total energy costs come from its compressed air installation. This clearly indicates that increasing compressed air efficiency is highly significant in the terms of savings. It is always beneficial to find new and innovative ways to improve system efficiency.
Some effective and professional techniques are as follows.
1. Recover the heat:
Recovering the waste heat from air compressors has always been a savings opportunity for manufacturers. Depending on the size of the compressor and its running hours, electrical energy can be recovered. Typical recovery rates are between 70% for oil-injected screw air compressors to 94% for oil-free water cooled screw compressors. As a result, the need for purchasing energy decreases. Besides, heating hot water and use of exhausted cooling air for space heating becomes hardly necessary.
2. Choose proper size of the equipment:
A prior assessment of the facility is necessary to choose the right size for the system equipment. It helps to avoid production issues, save energy and cost. While choosing the right size of the compressor, manufacturers should always check for its eligibility to the facility they have. They must assess the requirement of airflow, pressure intensity and the type of air; before system installation.
Manufacturers must choose a compressor with an ability to satisfy both the current and upcoming ventures, if there is any plan of future expansion.
3. Welcome new compressor technologies:
For business owners and manufacturers, air compressors are a long term investment. As it is highly significant for the business, factory owners consider on-time servicing and replacement in every 7-10 years. The initial investments may seem high, yet it is nothing but a fraction of how much the compressor will cost in total. With smart investments like this, 70% or more of the compressor’s life cycle cost is expected to come down to its energy usage.
4. Replace or update old compressors:
Energy consumption of a plant reduces to a profitable level when an air compressor system of latest technology is installed. Replacing an old compressor with newer and advanced technology is affordable than the current running cost of a manufacturing unit. Energy efficient models of modern air compressors come with the latest controllers. Undoubtedly, these are ideal for saving the operating costs. On-time and even proactive maintenance should be of great priority to manufacturers too.
5. Choose the right compressor type:
To ensure product integrity and quality, industries like food and beverage, electronics, automotive, textile, and pharmaceutical require oil-free air. The cost of expensive filter replacement can be avoided with oil-free compressed air technology. Manufacturers can cut the cost of oil condensate treatment and save energy loss from pressure-drop in filters. Use of oil-free air also dismisses the need for expensive food grade lubricants. For large scale applications, a centrifugal compressor would be the ideal choice.
6. Consider Variable Speed Drive or VSD:
Production processes requires different levels of demands in different periods of time. A compressor might be on stand-by mode or on off-load or idle load for a long duration. To eliminate the chances of reduced efficiency and produce compressed air as per the need, it is advised to replace a fixed speed compressor with the variable one.
Energy wastage becomes minimal due to reduced off-load running. At a full load, a VSD compressor is capable of saving 35% of energy while a VSD+ unit can save up to 50% energy.
Why is installation efficiency necessary?
Considering the installation procedure the very first step of ensuring an efficient compressed air system, manufacturers must seek professional guidance. No matter how expensive the initial investments are; an efficient compressed air system is cost and environment friendly in the longer run. The right installation is the key to an error-free and profitable operational system.