Our Top 5 Compressed Air Blog Entries for 2019

By: Kaeser Compressors, Inc.

If you are looking for some quick tips to improve your compressed air system, consider starting with our most read blog posts from 2019.

#5 This is Why You Don’t Use PVC: Using PVC in a compressed air system poses significant safety risks. This post covers what you need to know if you are considering using it.

#4 Applying Motor Temperature Ratings: A perennial favorite, this blog post offers useful information to help you apply motor temperatures ratings. Motor temperature ratings are given by the type of insulation used on the wire as well as the utilization rate. These two parameters determine the expected lifetime of the motor windings.

#3 Some Like It Hot…Your Compressor Room Doesn’t: If you are having problems with compressor room overheating, read this post for tips on better temperature regulation.

#2 Choosing Between an Air-cooled or Water-cooled Compressor: This post outlines four questions to answer when deciding between an air-cooled and water-cooled compressor.

#1 The Art of Dryer Sizing: This post has been at the top of the list since it was published in 2015 and is the most viewed post again in 2019. Read this post to understand how temperature and pressure impact water content and to learn how to make sure dryers are properly sized.

Bonus:

Our most popular post published in 2019 was this summer’s How to Keep that Trusty Recip Going! If you have a reciprocating compressor because it’s a good fit for your shop, here are some tips to avoid some common issues as well as some maintenance tips to keep your recip unit going.

Do you have a topic you’d like us to cover in 2020? Let us know in the comments.

Winter is Coming (Here?) [Infographic]

According to the Farmers’ Almanac, the 2019-2020 winter season could be colder and snowier winter than usual for much of the United States. Is your compressed air system ready for the colder temperatures?

Here’s an infographic you might find helpful as you start preparing for the upcoming drop in temperatures. We also have these air system winterization tips in a video version on our YouTube channel.

Visit our website for more compressed air tips or contact one of our air system specialists for help with your compressed air system.

Five Tips for Receiving Commercial Freight [Infographic]

By Kaeser Compressors, Inc.

Most commercial freight is delivered via third party carriers , and even with the best of carriers, sometimes shipments are damaged. Your freight may shift, get dropped, or even be in a traffic accident. Damage may also occur at logistics centers en-route, where items are transferred from one truck to another.

Like most other suppliers, Kaeser’s freight terms are usually “FOB shipping point” –which means that once the item leaves our possession, we cannot ensure safe handling or monitor the condition the freight arrives in. In most cases the buyer is paying the freight, and has the obligation to inspect the shipment. Kaeser will assist you in case of damage, but accepting a damaged shipment without comment will limit your ability to make a claim. Here’s an infographic with some tips for receiving commercial shipments, whether from Kaeser or any other supplier.

We also have a new video with all of these tips on our YouTube channel! Click here to watch our Freight Tips Video.

Compressor Purchasing Criteria for Energy Efficiency

By: Michael Camber

During the purchasing decision process, it is common for prospects to compare compressors with some sort of utility criteria. In other words, how much air will they get for their money. Below, we address some common approaches we encounter:  

Compressor cost per horsepower 

This is a quick comparison that can be done using basic product literature, but it is a very superficial metric for comparing compressors. Since the requirements of air tools and equipment are not rated in compressor horsepower, and since the flows among compressors of the same nominal hp can vary by 20% or more, this doesn’t tell you how much air (cfm) you are getting or whether a compressor will meet your air demands (assuming you know them). Our experience with hundreds of thousands of systems has shown that without knowing your actual system needs, you are more likely to oversize your system, which leads to higher power and maintenance costs and reduced longevity (see our blog post on oversizing).    

Compressor cost per cfm

This can also be done with literature and is a step forward for basic comparison, and if you know your actual flow demands it will help avoid sizing mistakes. Like the first method, its shortfall is that it only considers initial cost. It does not reflect energy efficiency, so it is not a predictor of the largest component of compressed air life cycle costs:  electricity usage.

Compressor cost and specific power (kW/100 cfm)

Specific power is the true measure of a compressor’s efficiency, so combining this with unit cost is a better indicator of compressor value. Keep in mind, however, that specific power is based on a fixed set of conditions and assumes the compressor is running at maximum capacity, which they rarely do.  Nonetheless, when choosing machines it is very useful to compare the specific power (AKA “specific performance) of the compressors. Most major manufacturers provide this information in CAGI data sheets on their websites or by request (see our blog post on how to read them).  

System specific power

Because most compressors run partly loaded for a variety of reasons (demand fluctuation, oversizing, changes in production), the best metric for energy efficiency (and therefore compressor selection) is system specific power. This metric reflects the ability of the total system to maintain efficiency throughout the full range of production demand and is a far better metric for operational efficiency. This is not easy to assess for new plants (unless there is a similar sister plant in operation), but it is easily done for upgrades on existing systems with tools like ADA/KESS that data log  parameters including compressor run time, system pressure, power consumption and flow, and then select the best mix of machines to meet the need. We strongly recommend assessing system performance anytime you are adding or replacing compressors — even if you plan to simply replace a compressor with another of same size. This is an ideal time to baseline the system and identify inefficiencies in pressure drop, storage, sizing, and controls.

Because compressed air demand changes as plants increase or reduce production levels or upgrade pneumatic equipment, it can be a challenge to maintain optimal system performance. The best approach in multi-compressor systems is a combination of proper sizing of compressors and the use of adaptive smart controls. These learn system dynamics and switch compressors on/off in the most efficient manner while maintaining desired system pressure, balancing load hours and minimizing idle time.