Industrial Utility Efficiency    

Technology

When users consider adding an oil free air compressor to their facility, there are several factors that should go into the decision to ensure it is the right equipment for the user’s operation. Some considerations and factors can include why to choose oil free to begin with; how to properly select and size the compressor; how to adjust sizing for different cooling water conditions or different ambient temperatures; and what it will take to maintain the compressor throughout its lifespan. To lay a foundation, it is important to first understand why oil free air is important, how compressed air is used and what options are on the market.

Air Compressors

Properly sizing a compressed air system can help determine if your facility has enough air to adequately supply your production equipment. Designing a cost effective system that minimizes any interruptions to productivity requires thoughtful planning and design. Typically, the desired outcomes of such a system focus on stable pressure and efficient operation, though it is important to note that each of these elements requires a unique solution. This article will provide guidance in proper selection considerations and suggest when a centrifugal air compressor may be ideal for your needs.

Air Treatment

This article is for you if your company is purchasing nitrogen gas at 99.999% purity and you’re not sure why.  While there are many applications which do require nitrogen gas concentrated to 99.999%, they are significantly outweighed by the applications that don’t. Rather than relying on a delivery of bulk liquid or pressurized cylinders, many nitrogen users are choosing to produce a custom supply of nitrogen within their facility, and they are doing it at a fraction of the cost. Over the past decade we’ve seen a mass industry shift from delivered nitrogen supply, to nitrogen generation.

Blowers

The plant upgrades, in combination with a progressive management strategy, allows the plant to consume less energy and reduce its reliance on outside contractors for biosolids removal, resulting in total operational savings of approximately $60,000 per year.  The plant is also positioned to efficiently manage the area’s wastewater for decades to come.

Compressor Controls

A large chemical plant in Celje, Slovenia, planned to retrofit a kiln used to produce titanium dioxide. To make space for the new equipment related to the retrofit, the plant needed to relocate its high-pressure compressed air system feeding an adjacent pressing process used to dry the material before firing it in the kiln. However, a comprehensive compressed air audit using cloud-based software showed the plant did not need to relocate the system.

Instrumentation

Micro-aerosolized droplets are how many members of the microbial world become cross-contaminants via the air mode of transmission.  Food borne viral pathogen Hepatitis A and the ubiquitous Norwalk are very often transported via micro- aerosols. It is well known that many viral or bacterial pathogens or spoilers are transmitted via respiratory bursts [coughs/ sneezes] from people or air handling system, condensate, and splash back from floors. Strict cGMPs  can limit  and control transmission in terms of personal & environmental  hygiene.

Pneumatics

Electricity and compressed air play an important role in the thermal and kinetic processes for everything from mixing and extruding the ingredients, deep-freezing to -13°F (-25°C), dipping into various chocolate coatings through to final packaging. Energy efficiency is therefore right at the top of Unilever’s list of priorities. As part of the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, this global corporation has succeeded in saving more than $186 million in energy costs from efficiency improvements in production alone since 2008.

Vacuum

It’s one thing to move materials during the production process, but when it’s a finished product on the packaging line, choosing the right material handling system is essential. Getting it wrong results in squandered production time when product loss occurs, and wasted raw materials.

Cooling Systems

A large manufacturer of consumer glassware products in the North East sought a solution for injecting cold compressed air into its refractory furnace. Doing so would minimize the internal corrosion thereby extending the life of the furnace lining and their annual maintenance interval. The manufacturer opted for a unique solution from Aggreko Engineering featuring a rental, oil-free rotary screw air compressor combined with a heat exchanger and chiller.  Installed in 2019, the solution is expected to save the company $9 million monthly given the ability to maintain extend furnace maintenance from one year to two years – and boost plant uptime.
For an organization to prove that it meets the standard it has to undergo a management system audit, either internal or external. The question, therefore, is how can those utilizing compressed air effectively evaluate their assets’ performance as part of an ISO 50001 energy management system and, in doing so, grow their bottom line and minimize their negative environmental footprint.
The foundation of any purification system is its filtration and of the ten main contaminants found in a compressed air system, filtration is responsible for the treatment of nine of them. Coalescing filters are the most important piece of purification equipment as they reduce six of the ten contaminants and a look in any air compressor room will find a pair of coalescing filters (backed up with dry particulate and oil vapor removal filters).
In the field of externally heated adsorption dryers there is a large variety of different systems on the market offering substantial flexibility in terms of process flows, dew points and energy demand. Often, economic parameters and project-specific requirements ultimately define the individual user-specific solution. This article discusses the basic types of desiccants used in compressed air dryers.
Among the many “systems” plant personnel are concerned with, the compressed air system often provides the biggest opportunity for improvement and overall savings. There are many manufacturers and several air compressor technologies to choose from. Reciprocating or rotary? Fixed speed or variable speed? Oil flooded or oil free? Single-stage or two-stage technology? It’s enough to make anyone want to run and hide!
To improve the delivery of compressed air at the plant, which is supplied by low-pressure and high-pressure compressed air systems, the manufacturer took an important first step by using airflow meters to monitor and measure the performance of both systems. Subsequent planning based on actionable data led to a unique compressed air system upgrade that increases the plant’s ability to maintain peak production of high quality glass bottles and containers at all times – while saving $150,000 per year in energy costs. The project also delivered a payback of less than two years.  
Advances in phone technology dramatically improve their function and our experience. More storage, faster speeds, enhanced communication options, bigger and brighter display….and so on. As a result, today’s phones are significantly more powerful – improving our productivity and changing our lives. As for the technology laggards, obsolescence eventually prompts change. Repairing or replacing parts and accessories on the old phones is an increasing challenge. Eventually they have to succumb to technology.
Varnish is a leading cause of airend failure in oil-flooded/injected rotary-screw air compressors. The purpose of this article is not to cover every scenario conducive to varnish formation, but to point out that many factors need to be considered when it occurs, and methods are available for its detection. Ultimately, it’s up to both the oil manufacturer and maintenance professional to ensure the oil used is up to the task of resisting varnish and maximizing air compressor performance and life.   
Companies will experience periods of increased production, as well as periods of slower or stopped production. It’s the nature of being in business. Understanding the implications of these business shifts for compressed-air installations (the powerhouse behind a facility’s production) is key for ensuring that air compressors remain functional and efficient. Here are guidelines to ensure your facility’s compressed-air system operates at top performance, no matter the speed of production.
In an ever-evolving world of regulations, requirements, and legal ramifications, it can be all too easy to want to cover all the bases by adding a wide range of industry codes and standards to any project being put out for bid. Many assume that if the purchased equipment meets all the requirements of every developed code and standard then surely it will be a reliable and safe machine to operate with the best performance and energy efficiency. However, many of these codes and standards are developed with a tremendously broad range of machinery and equipment in mind and they may not always fit well with the specific project being developed. Compliance to these codes and standards may require very costly modifications to a manufacturer’s standard product for little to no real benefit. 
A Tier 1 automotive supplier was concerned its compressed air system was not operating as efficiently as it could be. The situation called for a site visit and metering and evaluation of the company’s air compressors to generate a representative data sample that accurately captured the compressed air needs during typical production and non-production periods.