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How to increase energy efficiency in your compressed air system?

10 ways to make your compressor installation more energy efficient

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Have you recently checked your electricity bill?

You may have noticed that compressed air accounts for approximately 40% of the total bill, a large percentage that, if you're not careful, can easily overwhelm you and affect your budget.
Add this to the fact that over the life of the compressor, energy costs are usually several times more than the actual purchase price of the compressor; consequently, the need to focus on maximizing energy efficiency becomes apparent.

Therefore, we recommend you to follow these 10 tips to keep your budget under control, deliver tangible savings and increase energy efficiency in your compressed air supply.

1

Repairs existing leaks

Start with the oldest and largest pipes; remember that about 80 percent of air leaks are not audible, so you may need a specialist to help detect leaks. Today there are quality solutions to repair without stopping production; Atlas Copco's RePress is the solution that in 3 easy steps repairs compressed air leaks and has the most innovative technology and warranty on the market.

2

Check the pressure

Check the required pressure and avoid overpressure. Remember that each setting of -2 psig reduces electrical power consumption by one percent (1%).

3

Check the drains

Are the timed condensate drains clogged? If so, you could be wasting compressed air. Go one step further and replace the timed drains with zero loss drains (EWD).

4

Check the pipeline infrastructure

Increasing the size of your pipe, for example, from two to three inches can reduce pressure drops by up to 50 percent. Shortening the distance the air must travel can further reduce pressure drops by approximately 20 to 40 percent.

5

Change the filters

Just as you change the oil in your car at scheduled intervals, be sure to change the filters in your air compressor regularly. This will help improve air quality and prevent pressure drops.

6

Reduce unloaded running hours

Air demand in an industrial compressed air system typically fluctuates. Using these patterns to reduce unloaded running hours is a first step to optimising energy efficiency. Compressor controllers offer user-friendly ways to reduce unloaded running hours. If you have multiple compressors, then they should have been setup to do this automatically. But if there is no central controller, then the compressor pressure bands should have been set up in a cascade method, and the on-board controllers will...

7

Turn compression heat into useful energy with heat recovery

One area that offers manufacturers a significant opportunity for savings is to recover the waste heat from air compressors. Without energy recovery, this heat is lost into the atmosphere via the cooling system and radiation. The amount of electrical energy that can be recovered depends on the size of the compressor and the running hours. Typical recoveries are between 70-94%. It is estimated that...

8

Ensure the correct type of compressor technology is installed

Many applications in the food and beverage, electronics, automotive, textile and pharmaceutical industries will require oil-free air to guarantee product integrity and quality (often specified as Class 0). Oil-free compressed air technology will help to avoid expensive filter replacements, cut the cost of oil condensate treatment and reduce energy loss from pressure drop in filters and, in food & beverage applications, the use of expensive food grade lubricants.

9

Consider a Variable Speed Drive compressor

Most production processes require different levels of demand in different periods, which may mean that the compressor is running off-load or idle (not producing any compressed air) for long periods of time. Great savings can be made if a fixed speed compressor can be replaced by a variable speed drive unit as it only produces compressed air as and when required. This also minimises offload running of the compressor, which is known to waste energy. A VSD compressor saves an average 35% energy and a VSD+ unit can save as much as 50% compared to a fixed speed unit, even at full load.

10

Don’t forget the impact of regular maintenance

The best way of taking care of your compressed air availability is by taking the best care of your compressed air equipment. This means investing in regular preventative maintenance, which will sustain the efficiency that you have gained by purchasing a new compressor, or improve the performance of an older unit.

Did you know?

12%

of total energy costs for industrial manufacturers comes from air compressors typically, and as much as 40% in some cases

70%

of energy is recoverable from oil-injected screw compressors, and up to 94% from oil-free water-cooled screw compressors.

35%

is the amount of energy a VSD compressor can save you on average. A VSD+ unit can save you as much as 50% compared to a fixed speed unit, even at full load.

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