Conrad Latham, GM, Compressor Technique, Atlas Copco India
Conrad Latham, GM, Compressor Technique, Atlas Copco India, gives 6 tips to reduce compressed air energy costs despite production demand

Everything in our lives requires a regular check-up, and in most cases timely replacement. This safeguards proper functionality and most importantly, better performance.

It is no different in the case of a production facility, automotive manufacturing plant, agriculture industry, refinery, food manufacturing plant, or any other industry that requires its systems and equipment to work and perform optimally. Uptime and production output are critical elements in every industry.

The same applies to the Air Compressor in a facility or production plant, as, like other utilities, it is a vital component. The tools, controls, valves, production equipment, etc. that require compressed air from the system all depend on the Air Compressor’s condition, and production output. If the machine runs without being monitored, it might not be able to fulfill the production demand.

Also, compressed air accounts for a fair amount of total energy costs for industrial manufacturers - typically about 12% and maybe as high as 40% in some facilities, considering it is an area which could have a big impact on the compressors. If the compressor has been used for a long period of time and might not be giving the desired output any longer, it means you need to get it replaced or find solutions to increase the output.

Reduce unloaded running hours
Air demand in an industrial compressed air system typically oscillates. Using the pattern to reduce unloaded running hours is a first step to enhancing energy efficiency. Compressor controllers offer user-friendly ways to reduce unloaded running hours. If you have multiple compressors, then they should have been set up 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 stop the machines if they are not needed when the compressed air target pressure is achieved.

If compressors are left running unloaded after working hours, they still use as much as 25% of the energy consumed at full load. What’s more, if there are leaks in the system, the compressors may switch to loaded running occasionally, consuming even more energy.

The shorter the production time, the more you can save by switching off the compressors instead of letting them run unloaded. If production is reduced but not stopped, a possibility would be to isolate areas of the factory that are not currently being used.

The compressors may switch to loaded running occasionally, consuming even more energy. Alternatively, consider using a Variable Speed Drive compressor which matches your compressed air with your factory air demand.

Eliminate air leaks
Leakages are the biggest source of energy wastage in older compressed air systems, with a leakage point as small as 3mm costing an estimated Rs. 4667/week in wasted energy. It is estimated that up to 20% of total compressed air consumption may be lost through leaks.

If you are still working on site and have some spare time, we recommend taking the opportunity to detect the leaks in your system. For example, you could run your air compressor with no production to check for leaks. Fixing air leaks will start saving your money immediately.

Reduce the pressure band
As a thumb rule for most compressors, a reduction of 1 bar in pressure (14.5 psi) will lead to a 7% saving in electricity consumption. The pressure settings of the compressor should be adjusted until the lowest pressure can be reached and the pressure band reduced without affecting the application.

For centralised systems utilising multiple compressors, by using a central controller, the network can be set to run within a narrow pressure band, which ensures that the compressed air network matches your precise needs. The controller can also allow you to manually or automatically create two different pressure bands to optimise energy use within different periods, drastically reducing energy costs at low-use times.

Also, lowering the system pressure reduces the impact of leaks. A 1 bar pressure reduction decreases the impact of air leaks by 13%.

Turn compression heat into useful energy with heat recovery
An 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%*.

Recovering heat from compressed air reduces the need for purchasing energy, for example to heat hot water. It is this reduction that results in lower operating costs and CO2 emissions, also reducing your carbon footprint.

*Approximately 70% of energy is recoverable from oil-injected screw compressors, and up to 94% from oil-free water-cooled screw compressors.

Ensure the correct type of compressor is installed
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.

As a fixed speed compressor has a fixed amount of motor starts an hour, the compressor runs offload for a set time, which limits the number of motor starts to ensure that overheating of the motor does not occur. As a VSD unit ramps up and down in a controlled fashion, the maximum number of starts and stops per hour may be increased, and it also avoids peaks in current when starting.

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.

Whether you prefer to purchase spare parts only and perform maintenance in-house, sign up to a planned maintenance program at pre-determined intervals from the manufacturer or approved distributor, or choose a total responsibility package that covers breakdowns and leaves no room for surprises, the main thing to remember is that reduced compressor performance is not inevitable as the machine gets older. Regular servicing will improve your equipment uptime and energy efficiency: the opposite could lead to more downtime, increased energy consumption and potentially a breakdown.
Click Here
To Know More or to Contact the Manufacturer
Please let us know your name.
Invalid Input
Please let us know your Designation.
Please let us know your Contact Number.
Please let us know your email address.
Please brief your query.
Our other Value-Added Services:

To receive updates through e-mail on Products, New Technologies & Equipment, please select the Product Category(s) you are interested in and click 'Submit'. This will help you save time plus you will get the best price quotations from many manufacturers, which you can then evaluate and negotiate.

Invalid Input
Invalid Input
Invalid Input
Nakoda Machinery has expanded its engineering and manufacturing capabilities and currently has 3 plants in Ahmednagar, with the 4th coming up in Chakan near Pune. It is now offering diesel portable compressors under the Truecomp brand

Read more ...

Atlas Copco’s E-Air range, including 45KW, 55KW, 75KW, 90KW, 110KW and 132KW offers the most versatile and full range of pressure and flow combinations so that users can experience the full power of electric. The E-Air portable electric compressors

Read more ...

Atlas Copco India is leading the Indian construction, infrastructure, and mining segments with its technologically advanced products, many of which have been innovated by the company. It pioneered the asymmetrical profile

Read more ...

Pneumatech is a compressed air treatment and gas generation equipment manufacturer, under the Atlas Copco Group with a presence across the globe. Its energy-efficient products and services help

Read more ...

Chicago Pneumatic - a part of Atlas Copco group in India – has launched two new product variations in their Permanent Magnet Motor Compressors – the CPMV and the CPVS range. Equipped with a proven energy-saving technology

Read more ...

In the construction industry, producing high quality concrete in the right amount and delivering it on time is a challenging task. The right quality of concrete, produced by the concrete batching plants, increases

Read more ...

MARK Compressors, a part of Atlas Copco Group in India, has launched two new product variations in their Piston Compressor range: the Ironwind series and the Bluewind series. Equipped with a robust cast iron pump and a simple

Read more ...

In residences and commercial buildings, pressure boosting has become an important element in distributing water, especially with the onset of summer, to ensure that a consistent water pressure is maintained

Read more ...

Two new air compressors from Doosan Bobcat India are benefitting from fuel efficiency, productivity, reliability, long service intervals – as well as reduced noise and vibrations – thanks to Volvo Penta engines. The Doosan compressors

Read more ...

Atlas Copco has set new benchmarks in the portable air compressor segment with the launch of four compressors and extended light tower range. Making the life of drillers easier in key application segments is the XRH 1100 PLUS

Read more ...

Electronic engines will be the future of the CE industry as tighter BS1V emission norms come into effect in wheeled applications from Oct’20. The transition from mechanical engines to electronic engines will give better control of

Read more ...

Japanese off-highway engine manufacturer, Kubota Corporation is targeting mobile off-highway construction machinery, light towers, generators and the industrial vehicles market in India. It is especially eyeing

Read more ...

Volvo Penta to 'keep it simple' for Indian OEMs ahead of BS (CEV/Trem) IV emission regulations Volvo Penta will use its tried and tested Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) technology for Indian OEMs when

Read more ...

At bauma CONEXPO India, Doosan Bobcat showcased its light towers and compressors. According to BS Srinivas, Director - Portable Power and Ramachandran N, GM - Sales & Marketing, Doosan Bobcat is

Read more ...

Driven by the requirements of OEMs, engine manufacturers are developing solutions that enable fuel efficiency, installation flexibility, ease of maintenance, and above all, enhanced ability to withstand dynamic

Read more ...

Kubota Agricultural Machinery India Pvt. Ltd. (KAI), the Indian subsidiary of Kubota Corporation, has announced start of sales of industrial engines for OEMs in addition to their current product portfolio of tractors

Read more ...

Atlas Copco’s ZT 90-160 air-cooled oil-free screw air compressor is available with fixed or variable speed drive and with or without an integrated dryer. The compressor elements have been adapted to work even more

Read more ...

Doosan Bobcat India Pvt. Ltd. is a subsidiary of the Doosan Group, which took over the global business of Bobcat and Portable Power Business of Ingersoll Rand in 2007. Ingersoll Rand pioneered the introduction

Read more ...

Atlas Copco's HiLight H5+ LED light tower makes job sites brighter and safer, and is the most silent and efficient light tower for road construction, airports, hydro power projects, mining and construction

Read more ...

×
Sign-up for Free Subscription
'India Construction Week'
Weekly e-Newsletter on Construction Industry
Get the latest news, product launches, projects announced / awarded, government policies, investments, and expert views.