Industrial Utility Efficiency

Control Panel Cooling Change Saves Compressed Air Electrical Costs

As a result of compressed air awareness training and a focus on energy management, two facilities in different parts of the world have reduced their compressed air demand substantially by removing vortex style control panel cooling from some of their electrical panels and reworking the cooling systems.  These facilities were previously unaware of the high cost of compressed air and how much could be saved if other methods of cooling were used.  This article describes some of their efforts in demand reduction.

A Canadian furniture manufacture had previously run into trouble, with the electrical relays and control transformers, in an electrical panel of a specialized machine used to make components for modular office furniture.  The components in the sealed panel were overheating causing early failure.  Simple fan powered ventilation was tried but excessive amounts of ambient sawdust entered the cabinets causing problems.  The solution selected was compressed air powered vortex coolers pictured in Figure 1.  These coolers have no moving parts, require little maintenance, and are simple to install, but the downside is the high cost of the compressed air used to power these units.

Importance of Awareness

In both of these cases the operators of the production equipment were unaware of the inefficiency of their chosen cooling method until they attended compressed air efficiency training and started tracking their costs.  Bringing in a knowledgeable expert to do a walkthrough also helped them identify areas of improvement that could provide a substantial reduction in compressed air energy consumption and a significant energy savings for the plants. This shows the high value of attending compressed air training.

Time and time again the effectiveness of awareness training has been shown in plants all across the world.  Attendees learn that compressed air is not free, it is one of the most expensive utilities used to transmit energy.  Attendees learn ways to reduce compressed air costs by controlling their compressors better, producing compressed air more efficiently, reducing waste, and eliminating inappropriate end uses.  These are two examples of the success of the training program and the significant benefits that can be gained in applying energy efficiency measures through new-found knowledge.

For more information visit the Compressed Air Challenge® website or contact Ron Marshall, Marshall Compressed Air Consulting, tel: 204-806-2085, email: ronm@mts.net.