Supply and demand is a familiar term usually reserved for discussions of economic policy. Demand is how much of a particular commodity is wanted or needed, while supply is the quantity available to satisfy the demand. Surprisingly, supply and demand can also be applied to compressed air systems.
Demand, within a compressed air system, is the need for compressed air power. It’s impacted by a number of factors including use, or whatever tools or functions compressed air is powering, and loss, including pressure drops that steal away from the demand.
Pressure drops within a compressed air system can occur for a variety of reasons, including:
- Leaks – a single quarter-inch air leak at 100 psi can cost as much as $8,000 a year in lost compressed air.
- Misuse – amateur engineers who develop their own tools on the compressor line may credit themselves for their ingenuity, but they’re causing more harm than good.
- Poorly optimized piping – piping systems more than five years old exhibit losses of up to 25 percent.
- Maintenance – dirty, clogged filters can contribute to pressure losses by failing to screen contaminants from the system, adding to leaks and piping issues.
Whatever the cause, the resulting pressure drops can significantly impact productivity. Because compressed air systems are complex structures with many different parts, there can be a tendency to overhaul too many things in order to overcome the reduction in air pressure from discharge to point-of-use. However, there are easier solutions available.
If there’s a particular draw or demand that causes pressure drops, it’s often easier to add additional supply or compressed air power at the point of loss. Look at where the demand is required and add supply that can accommodate that specific need. Instead of raising the pressure of the entire operating system, simply install a solution where the problem is occurring.
What changes have you implemented to combat pressure drops in your compressed air system? Let us know in the comment section below. To learn more about ways to combat pressure drops or to find out how additional components can boost system productivity, contact us to see what we can do to help.