Industrial Utility Efficiency    


Most industrial systems like compressed air have essentially random demand if you look at the long-term life cycle of the system. Hundreds, even thousands of independent small and large subsystems require constant or varying flow. These demands are typically not timed or synchronized with each other, so they aggregate to a fairly random flow profile, within a range. That range changes significantly when production processes change. Certainly a 2-week audit might show some patterns that appear predictable for demand A (“production”) and demand B (“non-production”) or day type, but they change over time as the plant adapts to new production systems and removes old ones. If demand was that profile forever, a lesser experienced auditor might be tempted to size one set of compressors that work perfectly for that profile but not for alternates.
Roxane Laboratories, Inc., a subsidiary of Boehringer Ingelheim Corporation located in Columbus, Ohio, created a world-class air system that generated $61,314 per year in electrical energy cost savings (1,156,868 kWh), improved productivity and quality, and allowed the successful completion of a significant plant expansion.
A compressed air system assessment saved this building materials manufacturer over $518,000 per year in energy costs, with a simple ROI of 11 months. 
Perhaps your facility recently had a compressed air system survey, conducted by an air systems services company, that resulted in a couple of major recommendations, such as:  • Install a new smaller compressor and new control systems on all of the units • Repair the many air leaks (identified as 30% of your system capacity)  
The Compressed Air Challenge® (CAC) is a voluntary collaboration of industrial users; manufacturers, distributors and their associations; consultants; state research and development agencies; energy efficiency organizations; and utilities. This group has one purpose in mind - helping you enjoy the benefits of improved performance of your compressed air system. The mission of the Compressed Air Challenge (CAC) is to provide resources that educate industrial users about optimizing their compressed air systems.
This article will focus on a compressed air system assessment done at a printing facility in Canada. The energy costs at the time, in Manitoba, were $0.025 per kWh and the installation was of just 65 horsepower of air compressors.
The facility is a plastics injection blowmolder and is a division of a large corporation. The following information was produced from a compressed air system assessment done over seven days.
A recent comparative vacuum technology study performed by Dr. Kingman Yee, as part of a Chrysler Summer Intern Professors Program, found that air consumption could be reduced by 98% when equipping a robot’s end-of-arm tooling with COAXÆ technology and a Vacustat™ check valve.
This stamping plant is a 2.5 million-square-foot facility with over two thousand employees.  At the time of the assessment, the plant was processing approximately 1,600 tons of steel per day into automotive vehicle components and parts such as body parts.
This facility processes bulk food ingredients into finished packaged food products. The factory belongs to a division of a large corporation and was spending $732,342 annually on energy to operate their compressed air system. This system assessment detailed twelve (12) project areas where yearly energy savings totaling $214,907 could be found with a minimal investment of $68,350. Due to space constraints, this article will detail only the higher impact project areas. The over-all strategy for improving this air system centers on improving specific power performance of the #3 centrifugal air compressor and reducing over-all demand with compressed air savings projects.
Utilities have been cleaning their boilers for many years using either steam or high-pressure air.  In the past, when air was used, due to the size of the boilers and the reasonable quality of fuel used, a relatively small amount of cleaning was required.