Industrial Utility Efficiency    


Operating the vacuum system at higher levels (then necessary) affects the needed volumetric flow to compensate for leaks. This required compensation of volume (ACFM) must be added to the nominal production flow demand. The ambient air leak into the system will expand to the highest vacuum level, which is known as the “Expansion Ratio.”
"The Numbers Don’t Lie". It’s a popular saying everyone has heard before, applied to a variety of situations – political statistics, figures backing up an athlete’s performance and budget data. Thirty percent is a big number. Applied to the above scenarios, it could entail a landslide victory or a hitter gaining entry into the Baseball Hall of Fame. But just imagine, if the manager of a wastewater treatment facility were to trim 30 percent from their operating costs, he or she might also consider that a landslide victory of their own.  
A leading soft drink bottling manufacturer’s compressed air needs were threatening to exceed its Michigan plant’s compressed air capacity. Faced with the cost of buying a new compressor, the soft drink bottling manufacturer re-assessed their compressed air use to identify compressor and energy savings opportunities. In the audit, the soft drink bottling manufacturer identified the use of compressed air in a gap transfer as a source of compressed air and energy inefficiency.
The roots of our company start with my father, Jan Dekker, who was heavily involved with oil-sealed liquid ring vacuum systems used in the gold mines of South Africa. This was in the mid-1970’s when gold prices were going up. Vacuum systems (in the mines) were optimized by improving vacuum levels using oil instead of water and by adding vacuum boosters.
There is an enormous population of vacuum generators being used successfully by industry. Applications range from pick & place to vapor extraction to bulk material handling and the number of installations is growing. Before proceeding with an installation utilizing these devices, there are two general issues to consider: efficiency and appropriateness.
This major mill complex upgraded their compressed air system and thereby eliminated $500,000 in annual rental compressor costs, reduced annual cooling-water costs by $500,000, and reduced electrical energy costs by $135,000 per year.
This factory currently spends $735,757 annually on the electricity required to operate the compressed air system at its plant. The group of projects recommended in the system assessment will reduce these energy costs by an estimated $364,211 (49% of current use). Estimated costs for completing the recommended projects total $435,800. This figure represents a simple payback period of 14.4 months.
Most printing facilities use vacuum for one process or another.  I recently spoke with Jesse Krivolavek, (a vacuum system efficiency specialist with IVS, Inc.) about his recent adventures in the world of printing.
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.
Compressed Air Best Practices® Magazine spoke with Mr. Ed McGovern (VP Sales & Business Development) of PIAB North America.