During Dealer Week, they needed enough compressed air to power multiple machines at a time all day long. Keeping simultaneous demos running for all their top machines required airflow of up to 400 cubic feet per minute (CFM). However, outside of Dealer Week, their compressed air demands were quite modest. On a typical day, they only needed 20 CFM to power their dust collection system and pneumatic tools for their dock and warehouse crating areas.
When selecting an air compressor for your manufacturing operation, the common choice is the industry-standard rotary screw compressor. Known as the work horse of compressed air machinery, the rotary screw compressor comes in a multitude of sizes and power levels. However, centrifugal compressors have seen some exciting technological progress in recent years and offer a wide range of pressures, flow and turndown. Long known for their longevity and durability, they offer higher efficiency, even qualifying for energy rebate programs offered by local utilities and all, notably, produce Class 0 oil free air.
Compressed air production in industrial facilities consumes 10% of electrical power, on average. While this can vary up or down, it is an industrial average, and is very significant in most plants.
Do you know how much of your power cost goes to producing compressed air? We’ll come back to this at the end of this article.
The U.S. air compressor market has a compressed air installed base of at least 15 million horsepower. Further, it evaluated various air audits across different customer types, sizes and segments and determined U.S. manufacturers stand to save around 13 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) annually in electricity associated with compressed air. That translates to a savings of $1 billion in energy costs per year, which would remove nine million metric tons of CO2 annually. That equates to more annual energy usage of more than 1 million homes in the United States.
The use of high performance boosters to raise low pressure air (100 psig) to high pressure air (500-600 psig) for blow molders is very power efficient and offers good operating performance and reliability when well applied.
Compressed air is used in all the company’s plants and is often the single largest energy end use within them. As a result, compressed air energy-saving measures are often replicable across the company and offer significant positive impacts. One area of focus is with compressed air leaks since they are “the best low hanging fruit to focus on and they always keep popping up and waste energy”.
The pulp and paper industry depends on reliable sources of energy, water and compressed air; maintaining cost-effective supplies of these utilities is important to every successful business. Within paper making processes, a clean, oil-free air supply is essential for the reliable operation of pneumatic equipment and a high-quality end product. For one manufacturer in Italy, the selection of an oil-free turbocompressor enabled both operational and maintenance costs to be reduced.
The Association of Independent Compressor Distributors (AICD) held its annual show at the Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa in Savannah, GA in May of 2022. Participating distributor members and guest enjoyed a few days of networking events, trade show, speakers, the AICD Golf Tournament and more.
Today Kaishan USA, operates its global manufacturing and engineering center in Loxley, Alabama. The goal of the company, said compressed air industry veteran and Kaishan USA CEO Keith Schumacher, was to put the right pieces in place from the very beginning.
“To that end, we’ve invested $20 million in our facility and created a team allowing us to develop technologies and manufacture products not only for the Americas, but also for export globally,” Schumacher said.
Centrifugal air compressors efficiently convert energy utilizing a series of stages to compress and cool the air as it continuously flows through the unit. A centrifugal compressor imparts kinetic energy into the airstream by increasing the velocity of the air using a rotating element and then converts this kinetic energy into potential energy in the form of pressure. In between each stage of compression, the air is cooled, and excess moisture is removed to further increase the efficiency and air quality.
In order for a compressed air system to be designed properly, altitude must be taken into consideration. In order to calculate the demand profile, tool air consumption must also be adjusted for altitude.