By: Michael Camber
During a recent set up of a new controller installed to manage three compressors (two 40 hp and one 75 hp), our field rep mistakenly set the system pressure 20 psi lower than planned. A week or so later, during a system check, the technician discovered the error. Meanwhile, the plant equipment ran fine. Nobody in the plant noticed any production issues. So in addition to a 13% power reduction from better compressor management, the customer got another 10% power benefit by running at lower pressure.
We certainly don’t recommend this approach to finding your proper system pressure, but this incident highlights a very common mistake in compressed air systems: many compressed air systems are running at higher pressures than needed. A rule of thumb for typical plant air systems is that every 2 psig increase in pressure requires 1% more power. So turning up the compressors from 100 to 110 psig increases power consumption about 5%. This practice does not increase productivity. It just uses more energy— and often causes premature wear in pneumatic equipment.
If you have any doubts at all (or even if you don’t), we advise turning down the pressure to see if it affects production, but with a conservative approach. Try 1 psi per week until someone in production complains. This is a no-cost solution that immediately saves money. And the bigger the system and the higher your utility rates, the more you save. The added bonus is reducing the volume lost through leaks, and this also reduces flow demand and compressor run time.
If you are trying to overcome pressure drop between the compressor and points of use, the ideal solution is to minimize the source (s) of the pressure drop (e.g. replace clogged filters, make sure ball valves are fully open, replace undersized piping and fittings). And if it does become necessary to set pressure higher, do it incrementally. People tend to bump up the pressure 5 or 10 psi at a time without trying to adjust it back down.
This is a tip you can take to the bank.
For additional tips visit our website!
A small town faces the common dilemma of “repair or replace?” and achieves notable operational and energy efficiency gains.
By: Michael Camber
Traditionally, planning for blower system installations at wastewater treatment plants has been approached very differently than industrial compressed air system design. We have found, however, that applying techniques such as system energy audits and modern controls to blower systems yield similar benefits in terms of identifying energy reduction opportunities. That’s exactly what happened when one of our wastewater sales managers convinced management at a wastewater treatment plant to perform an Air Demand Analysis rather than simply replace aging equipment with newer versions of what they had.
Thinking outside the box and working with the local engineering company, we were able to show the town’s public utility department how they could save energy and then document the actual savings.
See the full case study published in the May 2019 issue of Water & Wastes Digest :
Fixed or Variable? Small town achieves efficiency gains with blower station options
Chapmanville Water Department in Logan County, W.Va., provides the water distribution and wastewater treatment services in the town of Chapmanville, which has a population of 1,200. It wastewater plant processes about 400,000 gal per day (gpd). The town planned a major upgrade for 2019 and 2020, including the replacement of three 40 hp multi-stage centrifugal blowers commissioned 25 years earlier.
At the beginning of 2018, one of these was no longer in service. Chapmanville planners hoped to limp along on the two remaining blowers, but in the spring of 2018, they lost another one. Down to one blower, the planners knew they could not wait for the planned upgrade, and the department had to do something.
Read the full story online here: https://www.wwdmag.com/blowers/fixed-or-variable
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 2017.
#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 Receiver Tanks for Small Compressed Air Systems: 2017 is the third year that this post has been in our top 5. It includes tips for where to install an air receiver tank in your compressed air system.
#3 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.
#2 Some Like It Hot…Your Compressor Room Doesn’t: Last year’s top post has slipped to number two this year. If you are having problems with compressor room overheating, read this post for tips on better temperature regulation.
#1 The Art of Dryer Sizing: This post has been rising in popularity since it was published in 2015 and is the most viewed post from 2017. Read this post to understand how temperature and pressure impact water content and to learn how to make sure dryers are properly sized.
Do you have a topic you’d like us to cover in 2018? Let us know in the comments.
By: Wayne Perry
The most dangerous words in compressed air are, “That’s what we’ve always done before”. Sometimes you need to take a step back to gain perspective. When it comes to installing a compressed air system, many get fixated on the idea of a compressor room. While it usually makes sense to install equipment inside, there are certain situations when it’s not a good idea. If your compressed air system will be exposed to extreme temperatures, excessive dirt/dust or corrosive chemicals, or is in a Classified Area, it may be best to hit the road and move the installation outdoors. Continue reading “Hit the Road Jack: When to Move Your Compressed Air System Outdoors”
By: Neil Mehltretter
You’ve done the research, completed the performance comparisons, created life cycle cost analysis spreadsheets, and maybe even lost a little bit of sleep perfecting your pitch to get the purchase requisition signed. But in all of your planning and number crunching, did you remember to consider how the compressor room location will impact equipment performance? The real estate mantra, “Location, location, location” rings true for getting the energy savings you’re expecting from your compressed air system. For reliable and efficient compressed air performance, consider ventilation, equipment clearance, and the overall compressor room environment. Continue reading “Location, Location, Location: How Placement Impacts Compressed Air Equipment Performance”