We spotted a good article in Plant Services this week by Ron Marshall, an independent consultant on compressed air efficiency. Ron reported on some compressed air related innovations he saw at the big International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) last fall.
In addition to covering some new controls and motor designs from compressor manufacturers, he noted some other items he saw that can save energy by reducing compressed air demands.
Some plants divert compressed air into electrical cabinets for cooling effect. Ron mentions some alternatives that are much more energy efficient. On a related note, he pointed out that food processors or other plants needing frequent wash down sometimes use compressed air to create positive pressure in electrical cabinets to prevent moisture infiltration. This is effective but potentially wasteful unless the air is regulated to the minimum pressure required. Other items of interest were devices to detect leaks within pneumatic equipment and air saving nozzles for air knives. While we often emphasize methods to optimize the supply of compressed air, reducing demand-side inefficiencies is equally important.