Industrial Energy Savings    

Technology

When compressed air is generated, heat is inevitably produced as a by-product. Anyone looking to enhance efficiency can use this heat and increase the efficiency of compressors to about 95 percent as a result. To achieve this, there are easy-fit heat exchangers which can be fitted to existing air compressor stations. This investment often pays for itself within less than a year.  

Air Compressors

Compressed air quality is measured by the amount of solid particulates, water and oil content in one cubic foot (cu. ft.) of compressed air. Many of these contaminants are introduced from the air surrounding the installation site that is drawn into the system at the beginning of the compression process. The relative humidity, type of compressor and air treatment and filtration system can also affect air quality. Minimum air quality requirements vary by industrial application; the most stringent standards apply to manufacturers whose end products, packaging or critical instrumentation come in direct contact with compressed air.

Air Treatment

A careful examination of a facility's compressed air system will likely reveal several opportunities to improve the performance of the compressed air system by effectively and efficiently removing moisture from the compressed air system. The Compressed Air and Gas Institute (CAGI) committed to issuing a series of articles discussing moisture in the compressed air system.

Blowers

The 86th annual Water Environment Federation technical exhibition and conference, known as WEFTEC 2013, was held October 5-9 in Chicago’s McCormick Place. Show organizers reported record preliminary numbers with 22,598 attendees, 971 exhibitors, and a total net square footage of exhibit space of 297,400. As usual, I donned my “roving reporter hat”, took my “budget camera” and visited as many of the aeration blower vendors as I could.

Compressor Controls

Air Demand Increase of 43% Results in Only a 5% Energy Cost Increase Compressed air is an expensive medium; yet, many compressed air systems are wastefully managed with minimal system transparency. Capturing essential system performance data and monitoring critical air quality data is not only eye opening, it enables future investments in compressed air systems to be fact-based and traceable.

Instrumentation

For many industrial sites the only indicator of compressed air performance is the big old pressure gauge right outside the maintenance manager’s office. Over the years someone may have penciled a red line on the gauge, and if the pressure falls below the line the manager will start shouting. This is an example of the saying “ What gets measured, gets managed”, definitely the plant pressure in a facility is a very important indicator of adequate compressed air system operation, but is it the only parameter that needs to be monitored? This article explores some important compressed air KPI’s and provides some examples of how they can be collected and used.

Pneumatics

The advent of manifold mounted, plug-in pneumatic valves has been a boon for machine builders. It allows them to mount complete valve packages in a safe and secure location on a machine. Using a D-sub connector, serial interface module, or similar single-point wiring system, all of the electrical control outputs can feed into one location on the manifold, greatly simplifying the wiring. Plumbing issues are reduced, since a single air pressure line can be used to feed a common pressure gallery. The same advantage applies to the common exhaust gallery. No longer would both a plumber and an electrician be required to replace a valve, since any valve can be replaced without disturbing electrical connections or plumbing lines.

Vacuum

Two years ago, sales were picking up and we began operating six extrusion lines on most days. We had to bring in some portable chillers, to keep up, and we started looking at buying a larger cooling system. We wanted to get rid of the portable chillers and have room to grow into four more extrusion lines. The new system we looked at was a 100-ton system that would have cost us around $150,000 in capital and installation and with a larger monthly electricity bill. We were about to buy the new 100-ton chiller when our President, Abe Gaskins said, “Hold-on, can we replace the Liquid Ring pumps with something that doesn’t consume water”? That was our “Eureka!” moment.

Cooling Systems

There are six basic types of cooling systems that you can choose from to meet the cooling needs of your load. Each one has its strengths and weaknesses. This article was written to identify the different types of cooling systems and identify their strengths and weaknesses so that you can make an informed choice based on your needs.
One type of dryer seen frequently across the world is the regenerative desiccant dryer. These dryers have a number of characteristics that can affect their cost of operation and the operating of the associated compressors and can therefore affect the efficiency of the complete compressed air system.
There are several pieces of information that your cooling system specialist will need in order to properly engineer and build a cooling system for your new air compressor. There are many types of air compressors and each has different requirements of the cooling system in order to operate correctly. This article will take the mystery out of some of the terms and specifications for your cooling system.
Nutriom sets the bar high when it comes to producing its premium quality natural powdered egg products Ova Easy® and Egg Crystals®, that are sold at outdoor retailers such as REI, and online merchants such as Amazon.com; so, when the screw conveyor in their FSIS USDA facility required regular unexpected attention, Leonardo Etcheto, Plant Manager at the Lacey, WA facility knew it was time to look for a better solution.
The development of extruded aluminum piping is a recent innovation in the compressed air industry. The internal bore of this piping is smooth and corrosion resistant which makes the pressure differential characteristics of a straight run of this pipe superior to that of steel pipe. Because it is much lighter than steel pipe the installation is much easier. And the manufacturers of this style of piping have come up with various twist lock connectors to make the installation even simpler.
This is a corn mill processing cornstarch, sugar, and other byproducts. Ambient air is contaminated with extremely high levels of dust due to the manufacturing processes and material handling. Average electric rates at the plant are $0.04 / kWh. The actual plant electric cost for compressed air production is $553,630 per year.
Specifying a control valve for Pressure/Flow Control service should be a relatively straightforward process. The range of compressed air flow and pressures must be known along with the target delivered air pressure. With this information, the performance specifications published by the various suppliers can be referenced for selecting a valve package. Often, however, the valve selected is too large in size to ensure it will have sufficient capacity to satisfy current and future flow requirements. Valve manufacturers use different design criteria in rating their units and in how their product is presented. There are no standards.
This glass bottle production plant had a complete compressed air audit in 2001 and 2002 at which time many successful projects reduced and stabilized the demand at 3,148 scfm at 95 psig for the high pressure system air and 9,300-9,500 scfm at 58 psig for the low pressure system. Successful application of an oversized 7,200-scfm rated cycling refrigerated dryer completely dried up the high-pressure air, allowing the removal of several non-performing desiccant dryers and savings in direct kW and purge air.
Because of such a wide breadth of product offering, we will cover each of these dryer types in some detail. It is always recommended that the compressed air treatment products be discussed in concert with the entire compressed air system and the application of the products. You should consult a compressed air expert to assure that the compressed air dryer selected is correct for your application.
Every facility has differing application needs and usage demands, but selecting the right compressed air dryer for the situation will have a significant impact on energy savings and efficiencies. Two categories of air dryers — refrigerated dryers and desiccant dryers — are widely used in industrial applications, and both have a place in the market. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all dryer solution for every facility. However, looking at the energy costs associated with the various options can help determine which solution will be most beneficial.
Not long ago most air compressors were controlled with mechanical pressures switches, relays and gauges. The setup of these units, especially when attempting to coordinate multiple compressors could be a frustrating and fruitless experience because often, no sooner than the controls were correctly adjusted, some sort of mechanical gremlin would throw something out of adjustment again.