Why Your Facility Needs a Compressed Air Audit

Why Your Facility Needs a Compressed Air Audit

For an Australian manufacturer of terracotta roof tiles, replacing an aging compressor was number one on the facility maintenance checklist. A 25-year-old machine running as a standby and the capricious nature of energy prices in Australia combined to create a problem in need of an energy efficient and reliable solution.

How does a compressor room compressed air audit work?

The manufacturer chose to perform a data logging compressed air audit to find out which new equipment would help the company meet its goals of lessening its carbon footprint and reducing the environmental impact of its operations, in particular the amount of energy and water the company consumes. Local utility providers often offer rebates to companies who perform energy audits and reduce their energy usage. Plus, the results give companies an opportunity to explore more efficient options before making a capital purchase.

Conducting a compressed air audit won’t disrupt your facility’s operations, but rather is performed while the equipment is running. Engineers connect data loggers to the compressed air system and leave them onsite for a set period. Then the data is uploaded into software that produces a detailed report showing compressor demand on a daily basis and how much electricity is being used. Atlas Copco’s proprietary software for data logging can also simulate the potential energy savings should a manufacturer wish to invest in a variable speed drive compressor. With detailed calculations that predict energy savings in hand, facility and maintenance managers can more easily demonstrate the payback time and return on investment to justify making a capital purchase.

24/7 Production of Roof Tiles Requires Efficient Turndown Range

All of the equipment in the manufacturing facility, including automated machinery, pneumatic cylinders and vacuum cups, requires some amount of air to operate. For this reason, the company invested in an Atlas Copco GA 55 VSD FF with built-in refrigerated dryer and DD/PD filters to generate a supply of clean, dry air 24/7.

Because the compressor has to run all the time to keep the kiln operating, even when the manufacturer is not producing products, energy savings are predicted to be around 30 percent. A 30 percent reduction in energy costs is huge when you consider how expensive compressed air is to produce. Luckily, variable speed drive compressors operate very efficiently with regard to turndown range, resulting in higher energy savings than a compressor that doesn’t feature an efficient turndown range.

Three Year Payback by Upgrading to VSD

For the roof tile manufacturer, its compressed air audit revealed potential savings of thousands of dollars every year. With carbon tax incentives and ongoing energy savings, the manufacturer was able to get the capital funds needed for the new compressor along with an approximate three-year pay-back period.

  |   By Erik Arfalk

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