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# Calculating and Measuring the Air Requirement

The requirement for compressed air is determined by the individual air consumers. This is calculated by adding up the air consumption of all tools, machines, and processes that will be connected, and then estimating their individual utilization factor by experience. It's essential to factor in potential leakage, wear, and future changes in the air requirement right from the start.

## How to calculate the compressed air requirement?

So, how do we calculate the compressed air requirement? Here's a simple approach:

### Gather data about air consumption for equipment in use

• Compile the air requirement for connected equipment and their utilization factor.
• This calculation requires a list of machines along with their respective air consumption data and expected utilization factors.
• If specific data is unavailable, standard values can be used.

The utilization factor for tools can be challenging to estimate, we recommend that the calculated values should be compared with measured consumption in similar applications. For instance, large air-powered consumers like grinders and sandblasting machines are used frequently for extended periods of continuous operation (3-10 minutes), despite their low overall utilization factor. This cannot truly be considered intermittent operation, and it's necessary to estimate how many machines will be used simultaneously to estimate total air consumption.

The compressor capacity is essentially determined by the total nominal compressed air requirement. The compressors' free output flow rate should cover this rate of air consumption. The calculated reserve capacity is primarily determined by the cost of lost production resulting from a potential compressed air failure. The number of compressors and their mutual size are determined principally by the required degree of flexibility, control system, and energy efficiency. In an installation where only one compressor supplies compressed air (due to cost restrictions), the system can be prepared for quick connection of a portable compressor as part of servicing. An older compressor used as a reserve source can serve as inexpensive reserve power.

## How to measure air requirement?

Understanding your operations makes decision-making much easier.

### Conduct an operating anlysis

An operating analysis provides key factors about the compressed air requirement and forms the basis for assessing the optimal amount of compressed air to produce. Most industrial companies are constantly evolving, which means their compressed air requirements also change. It's therefore important that the compressed air supply is based on the current prevailing conditions, with an appropriate margin for expansion built into the installation.

An operating analysis involves measuring operating data, possibly supplemented with the inspection of an existing compressed air installation over a suitable period of time. This analysis should cover at least one week of operations and the measurement period should be selected with care to represent a typical case and provide relevant data.

The stored data also provides an opportunity to simulate different measures and changes in compressor operations and to analyze the impact on the installation's overall economy.

An operating analysis also provides a basis for potential energy recovery. Often, more than 90% of the energy supplied can be recovered. Furthermore, the analysis can provide answers relating to dimensioning as well as the operating method for installation. For example, the working pressure can often be reduced at certain times and the control system can be modified to improve compressor usage with changes in production. It's also fundamentally important to check for leakage. For the production of small quantities of air during the night and weekends, it's worth considering whether installing a smaller compressor to cover this requirement is a viable option.

### Why is it important to calculate and measure compressed air requirements?

1. Optimal Performance & Efficiency: Knowing how to calculate and measure compressed air requirements allows you to pick the best compressor for your needs, leading to top-notch performance and efficiency.
2. Informed Decisions: Accurate estimates of air consumption enable you to make smart decisions about the capacity of your compressor.
3. Longevity and Cost Savings: Regular checks for leaks and wear can extend the life of your equipment and save you from expensive repairs or replacements.

In summary, understanding how to calculate and measure compressed air requirements is crucial. It not only ensures efficient and cost-effective operations but also contributes to the reliability and success of your compressed air system.

Read more on the different aspects of dimensioning compressor installations in the links below.

Centralization or Decentralization?
Centralization or Decentralization?

Dimensioning at High Altitudes
Dimensioning at High Altitudes

Calculating the Working Pressure
Calculating the Working Pressure

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