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On average, only 45-60% of energy used to run compressed air systems reaches production. The remaining consumed energy is lost via poor maintenance, improper use, and wasted time.
Luckily, this loss is not an inevitable component of using compressed air. There are ways to increase your system’s efficiency. With the right tools and plan, your compressor system could see an energy savings jump.
The graphic below (click to make full-size) outlines the biggest sources of energy loss in compressed air systems; most are due to human negligence.
Artificial Demand occurs whenever a system runs at a higher pressure than is necessary (Average Energy Loss = 10-15%)
Inappropriate Uses are tasks that could easily be accomplished through others tools, but compressed air is used instead. Examples: sweeping, blowing off, personal cooling (Average Energy Loss = 5-10 %)
Idle Time causes extra costs when the machine is running but production is not (Average Energy Loss = 5-10%)
Leaks are breaks in the compressed air delivery method, often in the last 30 feet of a system. (Average Energy Loss = 25-30%)
Heat is generated as a byproduct of the compressed air process. Up to 85% of the incoming energy is used lost due to heat compression. Up to 30% of this heat could be recaptured.
How to Increase Efficiency:
With some basic behavioral changes, effects could be seen immediately in your system.
- Reduce your system pressure
- According to the US. Department of Energy, every 2 psig reduction could save about 1% in compressor efficiency
- Only Use Compressed Air when necessary
- Monitor how worker’s use
- Turn Compressors off on the weekends and after hours
- Savings could be as high as $18,000 a year!
- Schedule regular maintenance to inspect and fix leaks
- CASCO USA service technicians available here
- Recapture & Repurpose heat loss
To put this problem in perspective, the US Department of Energy estimates that 30% of a facility’s electrical bill is compressed air related. That’s a huge chunk of money you could be saving by increasing your system’s efficiency!
What exactly is the Industrial Internet of Things? The phrase or IIoT has been surfacing more frequently in recent months, accompanied by a lot of excitement and hype. It has been heralded as “pervasive” and “transforming industry” by GE, appearing in a variety of systems from air compressors to irrigation. Yet despite its extensive potential, the IIoT remains an unknown and mysterious entity to many.
The IIoT lacks one simple definition, for IIoT is not the only term used to describe the changing way industry regulates itself. Industry 4.0 and the Industrial Internet are other terms often used to describe this developing phenomenon. Roughly, IIoT refers to the evolving connectivity among machines, computers, and people. Machines and equipment collect data and, then through the IIoT, these machines transfer and interpret it. The information gathered in one spot is not isolated to that machine, but rather through the IIoT communication occurs between machines and environments. By transforming individual machines into a whole system, IIoT insights can be used to create better business solutions for industrial organizations in sectors such as manufacturing, logistics, oil and gas, transportation, and energy.
Though the ultimate goal of the IIoT would be to create an entire smart factory where every component of operations is monitored, that day remains in the future. Still, a wide mix of current applications are now possible. Even by integrating just one IIoT capable element into an organization’s process can yield a huge return. For instance, organizations that have included smart air compressors into production have seen 60% reduction in unscheduled equipment downtime (Click here for the full case study). If such a large operational improvement is possible with just one element change, imagine the system productivity increase for an entire transformation.
Smart machines allow for constant system monitoring by utilizing the IIoT. The collected data provides insights into the internal status of operations and can be accessed by authorized administrators. With access to so much information, system maintenance is much easier. Often, systems are built with the ability to auto-adjust based on historical data to ensure optimal performance. Even if autocorrect abilities are not possible, having a system that is able to recognize problems makes maintenance easier. Preventative maintenance can quickly turn into predicative maintenance through the insights gained from the IIoT. Before a technician even visits the machine, the specific part and problem area have been identified. Alerts for maintenance and potential system failures ensure a more efficient production cycle, with less overall downtime and greater productivity.
Despite the many obvious benefits of utilizing the IIoT, a 2016 Genpact study found that only 25% of industry have a clear IIoT strategy (Click here for more details).Though the benefits are great, several barriers exist for organizations. Many industrial companies find the complicated nature of sorting through the data to be overwhelming, with 64% citing data integration as their number one concern. Indeed, the process of figuring out how to integrate all the data interpretations into a useable format can be complex.
Luckily, there are many available examples of industrial companies who have successfully integrated the IIoT into their operations for those organizations just beginning. These companies have established data sensors, machine communication, and integrated interpretation. Some of their established products can easily be integrated into your own systems to begin the process of establishing that smart factory.
One such company on the Internet of Things Institute’s list is Kaeser Compressors. They have integrated digital communications into almost all of their products with their special Sigma Air Manager 4.0 control panel. It supports predictive maintenance, analysis of energy costs, and customization of units by collecting information on temperature, humidity, and vibrations. The controller transforms the ideas of Industry 4.0 into a useable format with reliable, real-time updates and system wide controls. The Institute further credits Kaeser Compressors with incorporating the ideas of IIoT into its very business model (For the IOTI’s complete list, click here).
Companies on the IOTI’s list and others demonstrate how common the IIoT is becoming. This connectivity and system integration is slowly becoming the norm for industrial processes. Though not every organization can afford to switch over suddenly to the IIoT and change all machines to smart ones, a transition is certainly happening. As the IIoT continues to develop and technologies strengthen, the provided insights are simply too valuable for companies to ignore.
Kaeser’s new oil-free rotary screw compressor is the latest in their inventory of lasting and efficient products. With its special rotor treatment coating and its smart Sigma Control 2, these compressors are 9% more efficient than competitor’s.
Watch the video below to learn more about these new models that are “trouble-free, oil-free, and built to last a lifetime.”
For more information, visit KAESER’s product page at http://us.kaeser.com/Products_and_Solutions/oilfree-air/ or click here to request your quote from CASCO USA
You’ve done the research, completed the performance comparisons, created life cycle cost analysis spreadsheets, and maybe even lost a little bit of sleep perfecting your pitch to get the purchase requisition signed. But in all of your planning and number crunching, did you remember to consider how the compressor room location will impact equipment performance? The real estate mantra, “Location, location, location” rings true for getting the energy savings you’re expecting from your compressed air system. For reliable and efficient compressed air performance, consider ventilation, equipment clearance, and the overall compressor room environment.
How does ventilation impact compressor performance?
Compressors and related compressed air equipment need a steady supply of cool inlet air to function properly. This cooling air helps ensure the equipment remains below its maximum operating temperature. Poor ventilation leads to high ambient temperatures which in turn causes:
- Lubricant degradation
- Drive motor damage
- Equipment shutdown
- Excess moisture in the compressed air
Additionally, excessive moisture can overrun air treatment components. This can then carryover into the plant air, contaminate end processes, and lead to higher scrap rates and waste.
Proper ventilation is two-fold: it not only supplies the cooling air flow, it also exhausts the heat generated from the equipment away from the compressor room. A compressor generates 2,550 BTU/h per horsepower, this is a considerable amount of energy which, without removal, is now working to heat up the compressor room. Additionally refrigerated and desiccant dryers also generate heat. Having proper ductwork and/or exhaust fans to channel this heat away is essential to keeping your entire system running reliably and efficiently, otherwise, your brand new system is headed for trouble. An additional way to divert the hot air exhaust from the compressor is to recover the heat generated; this can not only reduce room temperatures but can also save a significant amount of money.
How much clearance is needed around compressed air equipment?
When laying out your compressor room, it’s important to leave ample room around the equipment—away from any walls, doors, and other pieces of equipment. Most manufacturers supply the recommended minimum clearance in service manuals. You can request it during the specification stage of your buying process.
Beyond the manufacturer’s recommendations, also consider maintenance access. Can service technicians easily access the equipment? Is there enough clearance to open the service doors fully and/or remove the service panels? In addition to routine maintenance, you’ll want to make sure there’s room to safely maneuver any special equipment such as cranes and forklifts to not only put the compressor in place, but also perform major service work, such as exchanging an airend or drive motor.
Compressor room how-to’s
The last tip is to consider the location of the compressor room in relation to everything else in your plant. For example, it’s not the best choice to locate the compressor room next to the boiler room which can serve to increase the overall temperature of your compressor. If there’s no other choice, proper ventilation, sufficient cooling air inlet, and proper exhaust air practices (as mentioned previously) will be all the more critical.
You’ll also want to be mindful of the air quality you have in and around your compressor room. If your compressor ingests fumes or other contaminants, those will only be passed on to your process. Here’s a prime example:
The compressor room is installed right next to the parking lot. All of the exhaust fumes from the cars are funneled directly into the compressor room for its inlet air.
So don’t neglect your compressor room’s location. Considering the ventilation, maintenance access, and proximity to potential contaminants can keep your system running reliably and efficiently for years to come.
By: Neil Mehltretter
The new Kaeser Sigma Air Manager or (SAM 4.0) collects information from each compressor and builds a complete picture of the requirements of your system. Using this information, the SAM 4.0 runs the specific compressors best suited for the conditions in your facility. Per Kaeser, the SAM 4.0 actively monitors compressed air systems to:
•significantly reduce energy costs
•lower maintenance costs and improve up-time
•provide predictive alarms, warnings, and equipment health status
•improve equipment reliability by
•systematically optimize critical compressed air system components
Our partners at Kaeser are coming to Pittsburgh to host a half-day conference at Heinz Field designed to educate and network manufacturing and engineering professionals in compressed air best practices. Hosting will be two highly experienced engineers: Wayne Perry is Kaeser’s Senior Technical Director and Werner Rauer is The Product Manager for Kaeser’s Screw Compressors. Werner is also the author of many of the articles at kaesertalksshop.com, an excellent resource for compressed air advice.
The Conference will host two seperate learning tracks for attendees:
Elegant and Efficient: Compressed Air System Design In this track, Werner Rauer takes the first hour to walk through the ideal design – what you need and why. In the second hour, he acknowledges that the opportunity to put together a system from scratch, where even the size and location of the compressor room are in an engineers’ control, does not come along very often. We put together compressed air systems in less than ideal conditions in the real world. So the issue we need to consider is how we move in the direction of the ideal in actual situations we face.
Leaking Money: Optimizing Compressed Air Systems for Sustainable ProfitabilityWayne argues for a paradigm shift in the way we think about compressed air systems. Typically, they are conceived in terms of machinery meant to deliver a particular result on the demand side of the system. This, he believes, is precisely the problem. Instead, we need to think of a compressed air system as a utility, not unlike electricity. And when we do, there is demonstrable evidence that we will not only decrease our carbon footprint, but increase our bottom line.
The schedule is as follows:
8:30 am Registration and Breakfast
9:15 am Plenary Session and Breakfast
10:00 am Breakout Session 1
11:00 am Breakout Session 2
12:00 pm Interview and Q&A over Lunch
12:45 pm Closing Session
1:00 pm End of Conference
We encourage people of all backgrounds to join us at this incredible event. To sign up follow the below link.
Piston and Rotary Screw Compressors are ideal under different circumstances. This chart gives an indicator of which may work best for you.
Post originally found at kaesertalksshop.com
By: Neil Mehltretter
The New Year has started and with it an endless supply of solemn vows to stop smoking, hit the gym more regularly, and shed those last ten pounds. For some, these will be life-changing resolutions, for others, yet another round of empty promises made in haste right after the ball dropped at midnight. So what about your compressed air system? Do you have a plan for making meaningful improvements to your system efficiency or have you have made another half-hearted resolution to reduce waste…somehow? Here are three tips to keep your compressed air resolution.
- Make an informed resolution. Don’t grab an efficiency improvement percentage out of thin air. In order to set a goal for your compressed air system, you first need to have an understanding of how the system is currently operating—its strengths and weaknesses. The best way to do this is with a compressed air assessment. A good one will help you build a demand profile and identify areas of inefficiency. It will also help you understand how your plant operates throughout the day, week, and over various shifts and levels of production demand. Let the data help you determine what you should resolve to change and how.
- Be specific. It’s really not enough to say you want to reduce your energy costs. That’s only half of the resolution. The other part is to take specific action to accomplish it. For example, conduct a leak detection audit and fix the leaks that, based on the compressed air assessment, account for 25% of plant demand. Adding in the action part of the resolution will also give you some accountability to make the changes happen. And again, because you’ve gotten the compressed air assessment done, you’ll have actionable steps you can take to achieve your goals.
- Follow-up to confirm you’ve met your resolution. After you’ve implemented the specific changes, check to make sure they’ve given the results you expected. You can do this with another compressed air assessment or by analyzing the data collected by a system master controller. This follow-up audit will make sure you are on the right track and also identify new areas for optimization.
If you’d like help with a compressed air assessment, contact us and we’d be more than happy to help.
By: Wayne Perry
Compressed air inefficiency sees your plant when it’s sleeping and it knows when production is awake. It knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good and eliminate these inappropriate compressed air uses in your plant and save yourself a bundle of money for goodness sake.
Personnel Cooling: If you have personnel using compressed air to cool themselves, stuff their stocking with a fan instead.
TET Drains: These are essentially timed leaks since they vent compressed air on a timer. Say “Bah humbug” to these drains and replace them with automatic demand drains which activate only when there’s condensate. Not sure this would really save you money? Read here how one plant saved $11,320 annually by making the switch.
Leaks: A single, 1/4” leak on a system operating at 110 psig, 8,760 hours a year, and paying $0.10/kWh costs you $17,818 annually…and that’s just one leak. Get a leak detection audit of your system and follow through with fixing the leaks. The US Department of Energy estimates 25-30% of all compressed air generated is wasted to leaks—more than enough to keep 11 pipers piping. So fix the leaks in your system and put that air back to work for you.
Open Blowing: Using compressed air for cooling, drying, draining, cleaning, or sweeping, is money wasted. Low pressure blowers, fans, and—in the case of sweeping—brooms, are a much more efficient solution and will leave you in much better spirits for roasting chestnuts over the yule log.
Aeration: Low pressure applications are typically better suited for blowers. Blowers use less energy and have lower maintenance costs compared to compressors. As to whether or not this makes sense for your system, do the math and let the calculations guide your sleigh. If aeration is a very small part of your process, then it may not be cost-effective to purchase additional equipment. If this is the case, keep an eye on this process. If the demand grows over time, it may make sense down the road to switch to blowers.
So you’ve got your list of inappropriate uses of compressed air—check it twice. Better for you to find out if your system is naughty or nice. Because your energy bill, much like the big guy in the red suit, is coming to town.