Managing Compressed Air Systems


Managing Compressed Air Systems

The old adage of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" can be an expensive approach to most compressed air systems.

The energy costs associated with a compressed air system are often unknown because costs are hidden among general overhead costs, our compressed air audit can highlight these costs.

Air Audit
An Air Audit can show you how to dramatically reduce your company's energy costs.

We can assist you, using the information from a compressed air audit to reconfigure your system rather than purchase additional compressors which you think you may need.

A properly conducted audit of your compressed air system provides you with the only sure way to manage the often mysterious workings of your air system. Benefits of a compressed air system audit include:

  • Reduced operating costs
  • Improved manufacturing productivity
  • Reduced capital spending

    

The problems associated with operating a modern compressed air system are fairly complex and often camouflaged to the untrained eye. At the same time, many companies have cut back the internal resources dedicated to defining and solving those problems. That's where a professional Air Audit can help by addressing the total process of producing compressed air... not just the compressors. It's about taking compressed air (your fourth utility) and making compressed air as dependable and efficient as your electric, water and gas services.

Your air system problems require total solutions. A professionally conducted Compressed Air Audit will help you define system problems, whether the problems are in demand, distribution or supply, allowing you to develop cost-efficient solutions that meet your return on investment goals.

Case Study

A recent audit allowed a  company reconfigure their system with the following results:

  • They removed 1 x 50kw compressor from service.
  • Utilised an Inverter to reduce energy consumption, maintaining a flat line pressure.

These procedures reduced their annual electricity costs by £20,000.

They are now supplying the same level of demand with reduced operating costs with an annual estimated savings of £20,000, ongoing maintenance costs have also been significantly reduced.


Contact us for further information

01204 431 846


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Compressed Air Leaks

All compressed air systems have leaks, even new ones. Reducing air leaks is the single most important energy saving action for most sites.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

Compressed air leaks represent a safety problem due to factors such as blowing air and noise. Furthermore, they have the potential to interrupt production through equipment failure and lead to additional costs through: Fluctuating system pressure. This can cause air tools and other air-operated equipment to function less efficiently — potentially affecting or stalling production. It can also bring about quality issues. For example, a torque wrench used in production may have been calibrated at a 600kPa(g) (6bar(g)) working pressure. If high leakage losses cause pressure reductions in the area, the torque wrench will not tighten correctly.


Reduced service life and increased maintenance of equipment due to unnecessary compressor cycling and running time.


Excess compressor capacity required on line.


When the cost of all leaks and wastage due to inadequate maintenance is calculated, the outlay for purchase of suitable detection equipment and replacement parts is almost always justified.

It is impossible to calculate an average leakage rate but a target for a well-maintained system should be around 10% of air generated lost to leakage. 

The leak rate on an unmanaged compressed air system can be as much as 40–50% of the generated output and in certain applications even higher figures have been measured. It is worth mentioning here that the amount of compressed air lost to leakage is reduced at a lower system pressure

When they occur upstream of pressure regulators, leaks are effectively unregulated air demands and increasing system pressure causes every such leak in the system to pass more air.


TOP TIP

Have an ongoing test and repair programme for leaks. Note that leaks reappear and a 3mm hole could cost as much as £2,200/ year in wasted energy.


The sources of leakage are numerous, but the most frequent causes are:


• Manual condensate drain valves left open


• Shut-off valves left open


• Leaking hoses and couplings


• Leaking pipes, flangesand pipe joints


• Leaking pressure regulators


• Air-using equipment left in operation when not needed