Air System Engineering
Our large engineering staff can help with any aspect of the compressed air system, such as evaluation and optimization of your current system, design and sizing of a new system, modification of equipment to suit your needs, and addition of controls and remote monitoring systems.
Compressed Air System Audits
Supply Side Audits
In many manufacturing facilities, air compressor systems make up 25% or more of the plant’s total electrical energy costs. Like electricity, water, and natural gas, compressed air is an essential utility to most manufacturing processes. Unlike other utilities, however, the facility generally has total control of the production of this utility, and has the sole responsibility of ensuring uptime as well as efficient production of compressed air at the proper quantity, pressure, and cleanliness.
The first step to optimizing a compressed air system is to develop a baseline, quantifying compressed air demand over time as well as pressure fluctuations and the required energy input to the system.
A CASCO USA supply side audit is typically performed over one week, and serves to identify:
- Compressed air usage over time
- Pressure at the compressor station over time
- Power consumed by compressors over time
- Effectiveness of individual and multiple compressor controls
- Designed air quality level
- Installation concerns
Demand is measured by one of several methods, as determined by design of the compressed air system. Typical methods include:
- Insertion thermal mass flowmeter. The thermal mass flowmeter can typically be installed via “hot tap” without interrupting production. A suitable straight run of pipe is required.
- Duty cycle data logging of full load/no load or start/stop compressors.
- Measurement of inlet vacuum of inlet modulation compressors
Pressure is typically measured before and after compressed air treatment equipment, to determine pressure loss through this equipment.
Power is measured using “real kW” meters, not estimated based upon amperage-only readings.
All data is collected via paperless chart recorder or data loggers at high sample rates. This data is then analyzed by CASCO USA engineers (many of whom are U.S. Department on Energy AirMaster Plus qualified) to evaluate the efficiency of the compressed air supply and is used to model the effects of any improvements proposed to the system.
Data is presented through daily charts of air demand, power, and pressure. Upon request, this data can be broken down into shifts and/or converted to a composite load profile for weekdays and weekends. Sample output is shown below.
Demand Side Audits
Though air is quite costly to produce, there is often a lack of understanding of these costs by the end users. Air is invisible, odorless, and doesn’t make a mess when it leaks. It is also readily available in most places in a facility, making it seem an easy choice for many uses that may in actuality create significant costs. For example, a 1 horsepower air motor typically requires 7 to 10 horsepower of air compressor to do the same work that could be accomplished by a 1 horsepower electric motor.
A demand side audit by CASCO USA reviews the plant air distribution system and end uses of compressed air, to identify:
- Inappropriate uses of compressed air
- Opportunities for compressed air usage reduction
- Improperly sized piping
- Bottlenecks causing compressors to operate at artificially high pressure
Ultrasonic Leak Detection
Often performed in conjunction with a demand side audit, our compressed air leak detection service can help to eliminate wasteful leakage, which accounts for approximately 25% of compressed air demand in a typical manufacturing plant.
Leaks are often ignored by end users, who are ignorant of the actual cost of compressed air. However a 3 CFM leak (equivalent to a cracked filter drain or split air hose) costs over $400 per year in energy.
Need help visualizing your new equipment installation, or installation drawings to provide your mechanical contractor? CASCO USA can help.
2D Layout Drawings can be supplied in PDF or various CAD formats
3D Solid models can be generated and supplied in 3D PDF, STEP, or other formats, for more complete visualization of the project.
Equipment Modifications and Controls
Our engineering department can help with just about any modifications required to your compressed air system equipment.
- Addition of alarms and sensors
- Control method changes
- Integration of older equipment into master control systems
- Remote monitoring