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Efficiency & Sustainability

Improving the Efficiency and Environmental Sustainability of Your Manufacturing Facility With Oil-Free Air Compressors

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Efficiency & Sustainability

Most industries use air or gas compression to run equipment, tools and plant processes, yet the efficiency of legacy compression systems is not always optimal. With increased pressure on industries to be more environmentally sustainable, from both industry regulators and consumers, it's time you discovered how air compressors can improve the environmental sustainability of your facility.

Pustet is one of the largest printing houses in Southern Germany. Its printing processes and book binding machines run on compressed air. The GA37 VSD+, seamlessly integrated in a complete Atlas Copco AIRnet, delivers the absolute quality Pustet requires while generating significant cost savings.

Tougher sustainability goals

It’s almost a given that higher energy efficiency standards will affect your industry. As a member of the United Nations, Australia has several obligations for reducing waste and improving sustainable practices.

In September 2015 the United Nations outlined 17 goals to improving our world. Of these goals, the following should be of interest to industries in Australia:

  • Goal number 6: Access to water and sanitation - the pressure is on industries to reduce contamination to water reserves and use less water. In Australia, where water is always a scarce resource, this is a particular concern.

  • Goal number 7: Access to sustainable energy - as a dominant contributor to climate change, energy use through coal, wood and animal waste is to be reduced, with a focus on sustainable energy like wind and solar. This also means reduced energy consumption and adoption of smarter technologies.

  • Goal number 9: Sustainable infrastructure - industrialisation and innovation should provide cleaner access to services, including roads to telecommunications in both developing and developed countries.

  • Goal number 12: Sustainable consumption and production - as producers of goods, manufacturers are under particular pressure to ‘do more with less’ and reduce waste sustainability by 2030.

Reliability of performance

Coupled with the need to improve energy efficiency and reduce waste is the desire to have more reliable oil-free air compressors. Atlas Copco recognises that energy efficient equipment is useless if manufacturers can’t rely on them to perform day in and day out. That’s why our products are built with continuous uptime in mind. Not only do they save you money by providing more efficient air compression to your individual tools and overall plant, but also reduce overtime and production halts caused by to faulty compressors.

Waste reduction

Industrial and commercial waste are on the regulator’s radar. Sustainable practices demand that businesses reduce waste, with manufacturing particularly in the crosshairs. While there’s only so much you can do to reduce waste product from goods production, support systems within your facility offer an opportunity for more efficient practices.

In particular, oil-free air compressors produce dramatically less waste than their oil-powered counterparts. Many of Atlas Copco’s compressors come with ISO standards that reduce or eliminate waste production. The lack of harmful emissions also improves air quality within the facility, improving the health and wellbeing of your staff.

Reduced risk of oil contamination

It’s hard to understate the benefit of oil-free compressors when it comes to reducing the risk of oil contamination. Contamination not only ruins products, but slows the production line, with further setbacks leading to costly do-overs. Consider the added expenses to:

  • Power bills

  • Staff hours and overtime

  • Delayed shipments

  • Lost revenue

Key industries that benefit from reduced chance of contamination include:

  • Waste water industry

  • Food and beverage

  • Any industry with a focus on quality product

With an oil free compressor, your chances of oil contamination are basically zero. Reduced risk means less potential for expensive disaster recovery and more reliability with your manufacturing workflows.  

Improving efficiency

Of the actual energy input in an air compressor system, only about 20 - 50% reaches the end use point where it is consumed by the service. The rest is lost through air leaks or converted to wasteful heat. For large operations the financial loss can run into the hundreds of thousands (even millions) per year. That’s why it’s essential to choose air compressor products that utilize innovative methods to reduce waste, cost and provide sustainable solutions for long term business goals.  

Reduce costs with quality service and maintenance programs

A well designed air compressor can provide great service for years, but without regular service and maintenance, the quality of the compressor will degrade. Compressors that aren’t properly maintained will also degrade over time, leading to more faults, expenses and shorter lifecycle. By partnering with Atlas Copco, you’re not only gaining access to compressors with low maintenance requirements, but also with a team of expert technicians you can provide you with support, repairs and maintenance around your schedule to keep your compressors up and running.

Variable speed drive

VSD is an essential air compressor technology for any business looking to reduce cost of operation. Prior to VSD, operators would need to run the air compressor motor at full speed and stop when the compressor reached the desired pressure. Variable speed drives provide a more cost effective solution, regulating the flow of air based on the needs of the compressor.

In most air compressor systems, starting the motor to full usage is a huge draw on energy. Particularly during peak energy periods, the cost on businesses can be extreme. VSD systems not only regulate the flow of air, but also the start and stop the air compressor motor, limiting peak energy usage for cheaper running costs.

Software optimisation of compressed air systems

Data collection and software driven automation can drastically improve the energy efficiency of air compressor systems in most industrial manufacturing. Computational modelling can:

  • Minimise loss and suction point

  • Improve compression and post compression throughput

  • Reduce costly drops in pressure

Software driven data collection improves efficiency over time, allowing for predictive modelling of factory behaviour. Similarly, cloud connected data points across a number of sites can be used to aggregate and assess usage, offering insights at greater detail for building management and administration.

Smart controllers

Through the Internet of Things (IoT) enterprise level factory management takes on a new dimension. Remote control of air compressor pressure and function allows for scalable, energy efficient solutions. Consider the potential for:

  • Automated adjustments based on pre-set parameters

  • Remote monitoring and maintenance

  • Preset conditions to adapt to specific needs and use-cases

  • Algorithmic load balancing to reduce downtime and improve return on investment.

As industry devices become more connected, the Internet of Things will push manufacturers and industry leaders to adopt scalable solutions. Air compressors that utilise smart controllers will be more efficient. Brands that want to stay competitive will not only adapt to these changes, but utilize them to drive their business to greater heights.

Types of oil free compressors

Atlas Copco provides leading oil-free air compressors for a number of industries and uses. Find out how our leading products could help your manufacturing facility become more sustainable, and save your business money in the process.

Centrifugal oil-free air compressors ZH & ZH+

Combining years of design experience and engineering using innovative modern techniques, the ZH and ZH+ centrifugal air compressors are oil-free compressors built for maximum efficiency. Benefits include:

  • ISO 8573-1 CLASS 0 (2010) certification.

  • No external instrument air required for “Class 0” certification thanks to unique seal design

  • Smart AIR solutions compatible with dryers and ES controller

  • Maximum energy efficiency and minimum blow off thanks to powerful variable speed drive

  • Reduced costs in operation

  • Find out more here

LZ premium oil-free compressor

For an oil-free compressor without compromise, the LZ is a piston operated air compressor with a number of outstanding qualities:

  • Advanced monitoring and control thanks to built in Atlas Copco Mk5 one touch controller

  • Sound insulated canopy for quiet operation

  • The LZ is certified ISO 8573-1 CLASS 0 (2010) for clean air

  • Comes with an operational lifetime of 20,000 hours

  • Read more here

SF and SF+ oil-free scroll compressors

Built with energy efficient in mind, the SF and SF+ are oil free scroll compressors designed for low maintenance and flexible control. Features include:

  • ISO 8573-1 CLASS 0 (2010) certification means 100% clean air and zero risk of contamination

  • Quiet operation, as low as 53 decibels.

  • Scroll compressors are equipped with IE3 premium motors that drastically reduce energy consumption.

  • SF+ comes with a range of advanced controllers to optimise compressor use

  • Read more here

LF industrial oil-free aluminum piston compressors

100% oil free, the LF industrial delivers lowest operating temperatures in the industry while offering high quality, energy efficient air production. Key points are:

  • Robust design materials for high reliability

  • Ideal for limited space requirements thanks to compact design

  • Low running and service costs

  • Read more here

AQ water-injected oil-free screw compressor

When reliability and purity are no compromise, the AQ offers best in class energy efficiency and application. Top features include:

  • Superior water cooling capacity for increased efficiency

  • Up to 35% energy savings thanks to variable speed drive

  • 100% clean air thanks to ISO certification

  • Insulated canopy for quiet operation

  • Smart controller for better access and control

  • Read more here

Discover the difference with Atlas Copco

There’s never been a better time to get ahead of the competition (and the industry regulators). Talk with Atlas Copco and discover how our high performance oil-free air compressors can help transform your manufacturing facility into a sustainable, best practice industry leader.