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Power Equipment

What no one tells you about life cycle cost of compressors?

Did you ever wonder "Is the price invested in the air compressor appropriate? Could I have saved on the cost and got a better machine?"
The right question would be “Did I buy the economically competitive compressed air in the market."
What would be the right decision?

15 May, 2020

Iceberg
If you are facing the above questions then the ideal approach to be taken is look beyond the tip of the iceberg.

Yes!! The cost to generate compressed air is like the Iceberg. Analogy to iceberg is to show, there is 2/3 of the body which is under water. This majority part is also the strongest part of the ice-berg. Remember Titanic, the ship once declared unbreakable by creators got submerged during its maiden journey after colliding with the ice-berg.

Similarly, the cost of air compressor that we see and accordingly we decide is like a tip of iceberg. What we generally see is the initial investment & maintenance cost which includes spares and service. However, there are other huge costs attached with generation of compressed air which we generally miss out to see.

These hidden costs if not timely addressed can lead to very high life cycle cost of the compressed air and drain all the opportunities to earn.

Understanding life cycle cost

The Life cycle cost, also called total cost of ownership, is the cost you pay for buying, maintaining and operating the equipment for its total life.

The LCC for compressed air includes everything from the initial equipment cost, installation cost and related maintenance costs which includes service & spares & power consumption cost.

However, it should be noted that LCC analysis to be done only after  productivity, reliability and safety aspects are met.

How compressor life cyle cost is built up?

Total Cost of Ownership

Did you know as per our compressed air experts, the overall life cycle cost of compressors consists of

  • Energy cost ~ 76% 

  • Investment cost ~ 14% 

  • Maintenance cost ~ 10% 

  • That’s why it is always said that Air is Free. Compressed Air not!


    Our energy experts bring a series of our blogs to guide how you can "Earn More" by saving on your compressed air losses.

    Understanding Types of Energy Cost

    There are different types of energy costs which not only impact the profits, plant efficiency but as well quality of end product. In other words, these are the target opportunities which help to earn more by right prioritization.

    LCC Compressor

    Earning opportunities by optimizing the following:

    • Load Power - Power consumed to generate compressed air at certain pressure with required flow.
    • Unload Power* - Air compressor runs in Idle condition without generating any useful compressed air for internal process.
    • Blow off losses* - Every time the machine has to go into idle conditions, it depressurizes and can lead to lose of valuable compressed air to atmosphere.
    • Pressure drop* - Every 1 bar(g) increase in pressure consumes 7% more power and hence if there is a pressure drop in system we incur losses
    • Air leakages* – As per study, the compressed air leakages in the plant can lead to approximate 10 - 30% of the compressed air energy and thus result in huge power losses coupled with operating losses.

    * For highest earnings, stay tuned with our blogs.

    Every industry aims to measure and reduce the unwarranted cost by adopting several best practices and latest technologies.

    One such practice to quantify the compressed air leakages is No Load Test which can be done without any additional investment and can give you insights on potential savings in your plant. Our energy managers recommend the air leakage percent should always be less than 5% to run your plant at optimum energy levels. With this simple test, lot of money can be earned from the compressed air plant by focusing on air leakages.

    Did you know Atlas Copco service team has already helped more than 60 customers to realize potential savings of around 1500kW (approx. 63M INR in energy costs) with this test in just two months.

    However, in some cases making a minor additional investment to reduce a major portion of this cost will result in short payback and life long earnings.

    In the coming series, we will highlight how to earn more from your compressed air by optimizing load and unload power costs.