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Misuse of Plant Air

By: Michael Camber

In our visits to plants we often find poor uses of compressed air.  Even though our business depends on selling and servicing compressors, we hate to see people running compressors when they don’t need to.  It’s energy wasted, and we devote much human energy to educating customers on saving electrical energy.

Ron Marshall of the Compressed Air Challenge is a like-minded energy warrior. He recently reported on a commercial printing plant that discovered for itself how compressed air misapplication can cost serious coin.  Fortunately, the plant was paying attention and corrected the problem.  Not all are so lucky/smart.  See his article posted by Paul Heney in Design World’s Pneumatic Tips.

When you read his article, keep in mind that this same principle applies to other applications that could use low pressure, high flow devices instead of compressors.  A classic example is air knives.  Another is aeration.  It even applies to vacuum.  Some vacuum hold-down applications can use low level vacuum with smaller motors and consume far less kWh.

The key is staying tuned into how much power you are dedicating to a process and evaluating alternatives.


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