Industrial Utility Efficiency

Show Report: The PepsiCo National Fleet/OG&S Sustainability Training Summit

The 2012 Edition of the PepsiCo National Fleet/OG&S Sustainability Training Summit and Trade Show took place in San Antonio, March 19-22. Held in the San Antonio Convention Center, over 700 PepsiCo fleet and operations personnel attended. Led by Compressed Air Best Practices® Magazine’s Editorial Board Member, Eric Battino, over 150 people involved with Resource Conservation at PepsiCo also attended.

The Conference portion of the event provided a training opportunity and time was reserved for Compressed Air Best Practices. Rod Smith, the Editor of Compressed Air Best Practices® Magazine and Hank Van Ormer, President of Air Power USA, both made presentations on the topic.

Mr. Smith’s presentation was titled, “Advanced Trends in Compressed Air Best Practices.” The attendees had, in the majority, already conducted system assessments on their compressed air systems and the presentation challenged them to take it to the next level.


Hank Van Ormer

Keith Jenkins and Hank van Ormer, from Air Power USA, and Eric Battino (PepsiCo) discuss different techniques to measure compressed air flow (left to right)


Chester the Cheetah (Cheetos) and Rod Smith (Compressed Air Best Practices® Magazine) discuss the latest issue on bottling!

The first part of the presentation described “level 1” as creating a box diagram of the compressed air system, establishing the energy consumption baseline through air compressor data-logging, and having the air compressor controls installed that permit demand-reductions to be translated into energy-savings.

“Level 2” actions – or the “Advanced Trends” were then described. The first action was to measure air flow (cfm) in front of production areas in order to establish a “Best Practice” air flow for a process or group of machinery. A case study from a Verallia glass plant was referenced. The second part to this topic was to charge production areas for their compressed air consumption. An example from Honda of America was provided.

The second action covered was “shut-down optimization”. Bottling and packaging machines were cited as machines that often use compressed air when idle. Using valves and sensors to isolate these machines, when not in production, was presented as the solution. The second part to this was identifying compressed air users, like an airlock on chemical tanks, that require small amounts of compressed air during non-production periods. An example was provided on how a Visteon plant installed a 5 horsepower compressor for an airlock and stopped a 100 horsepower compressor from turning on and off all night as it had been.


Dusty Smith and Scott Gillesby, from Pneu-Logic, presented their compressed air management automation systems (left to right)

UE Systems

Adrian Messer, from UE Systems, demonstrates the ultrasonic leak detection devices

Heat Recovery was the third advanced trend mentioned. Certainly this includes using the exhaust air for HVAC systems but this is nothing new. What is newer in application, although not a new invention, is the use of heat exchangers to warm process water with the hot lubricant in the air compressors. The compressed air industry is starting to issue standard oil heat recovery packages to make this easier for factories to execute.

The fourth action is to analyze the energy costs associated with the air quality specifications in a plant. Many, many plants have a -40 F (-40 C) pressure dew point because 25 percent of their demand requires it. This can cause inflated energy costs for 75% of the plant that would not be incurred with a + 38 F (+3 C) dew point. The advanced trend is to split dew point requirements and supply them with the lowest energy cost air treatment technologies.

Creating and managing different compressed air pressure sub-zones was identified as the fifth advanced trend/action. A stretch blow-molding facility, for example, may require 7 bar (100 psi) for plant air, 20 bar (294 psi) air for their ½ liter bottles, and 30 bar air (441 psi) for the carbonated soft drinks and juices in < 1 liter bottles. Rather than producing compressed air at 35 bar (515 psi) and regulating down, plants are now creating separate systems to significantly reduce their energy costs.

The sixth trend has to do with “engineering for lower plant pressure.” Compressed Air Best Practices® Magazine Editorial Board Member Doug Barndt, from Ball Corporation, was quoted as using engineering solutions to allow them to keep lowering plant pressure. All too often a plant has lowered pressure to 85 psig, for example, and then a new machine like a can printer arrives requiring 125 psig. This is where an engineered solution, like the use of a 2-1 amplifier, can provide the cylinder with the required pressure and allow over-all pressure to remain at 85 psig.

Optimizing pneumatics, to reduce compressed air energy costs, was identified as the seventh trend. A case study was used, again from the Verallia plant, where a 2-position valve was replaced with a 3-position valve on a series of unitizing machines. This low-cost action reduced idle compressed air consumption from 75 to 25 cfm – on twenty machines each.

Blow-off air optimization was identified as the eighth and final trend. In so many applications, 100 psi compressed air is used for a 3-5 psi application. The use of high-efficiency air nozzles and blowers are used as highly effective replacements in bottle-drying, bakeries, metalworking, and printing applications to name a few.


For more information contact Rod Smith, Compressed Air Best Practices® Magazine,


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May 2012