Atlas Copco explains how manufacturers can harness energy efficiency to reduce costs – and their carbon footprint – by investing in a range of products that connect, scan and optimize compressed air systems.
As Charles Darwin once said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the smartest that survives. It is the one that adapts best to change.
A manufacturer’s compressed air system is one of its biggest energy consumers. Improving energy efficiency can have a big impact on costs, while helping to reduce the carbon footprint.
In today’s modern society where a smartphone is now a necessity, it’s easy to forget how quickly being connected has become a normal part of life. There are already more connected objects than people in the world, so it is obvious that from the point of view of industrial machinery, being connected has also become a normal part of modern industry.
The benefit of being connected is the instant visibility it creates. The Atlas Copco SMARTLink product connects a manufacturer to an easier life. SMARTLINK captures live data from compressed air equipment and translates it into clear information. At a glance, the operator can check availability, energy efficiency and CO2 emissions. SMARTLINK offers easy tracking of compressed air installation energy consumption, allowing for a quick overview on the dashboard or a deeper dive into custom reports. Based solely on actual machine operating conditions, the recommendations present real opportunities to improve air system efficiency.
Perhaps the most important other benefit of connecting via an Atlas Copco SMARTLink Energy Plan is that compressor data will feed into the Atlas Copco Big Data Framework. This allows Atlas Copco to activate Diagnostic Supervision, an option that allows the specialist to spot and correct any deviations at an early stage. Based on smart algorithms and expert analysis, proactive troubleshooting keeps manufacturers’ energy efficiency at a higher level.
For those who want to dig deeper into their compressed air system, Atlas Copco offers a compressed air audit and leak detection service called AIRScan.
An AIRScan energy audit includes a comprehensive survey of compressed air network parameters: Atlas Copco typically measures equipment energy consumption, flow rates and pressures to get an accurate picture of the compressor room.
Measurements are made during operation, so the manufacturer does not need to stop production. The recorded information is used to simulate several energy saving scenarios: Atlas Copco’s unique and proprietary analysis software can simulate different configurations of the compressed air system. Together with their competence and experience, this gives the customer realistic savings figures.
The AIRscan report provides a clear summary for decision makers, as well as an in-depth analysis of problems and solutions for technical personnel, to improve system performance.
It is estimated that after five years, 20-30% of the energy used by a compressed air system is wasted through leaks. A leak as small as 3mm can be very expensive, with an energy loss equivalent to 16 tonnes of CO2 emissions. In an AIRScan leak detection survey, Atlas Copco’s state-of-the-art acoustic camera detects 40% more leaks than traditional tools, at twice the speed. The air leak report includes savings potential and a priority list for repairs.
Knowing the status of compressed air equipment and being able to react proactively is the surest way to achieve maximum uptime and investment protection. AIRScan vibration analysis is a health check of the compressor element, gearbox, coupling, transmission and other rotating components; it’s the ultimate tool to prevent costly breakdowns.
If the compressed air contains unwanted substances such as water, oil or solid particles, these can have an impact on the quality of the final product. In addition, the manufacturer may be required to comply with compressed air quality standards.
AIRScan air quality analysis uses state-of-the-art tools to verify the purity of compressed air. It is accompanied by a clear report including recommendations on how to achieve the necessary air quality.
If the manufacturer’s compressed air system has multiple compressors or blowers, they must be started, stopped, and regulated to meet fluctuations in air demand. In a traditional system, the outlet pressure often exceeds the required pressure, resulting in increased costs. The Atlas Copco Optimizer 4.0 and Equalizer 4.0 master controllers offer a much smarter solution. By automating compressor operation, they increase system stability, minimize wear and achieve optimum energy efficiency.
If the air piping system has excessive leaks, is undersized or poorly designed, an AIRnet piping system may be recommended.
An optimal piping network is sized, planned and installed to support sustainable operational excellence in the production process. Costs of design, installation and maintenance of materials and products; flexibility and security. They all influence the total cost of ownership and the level of efficiency of the manufacturing production process.
When looking for a high performance, effortless system that can be customized to fit any production site, AIRnet will prove to be the best investment choice a manufacturer can make. It is a premium aluminum system specially designed to save the money spent by other piping systems.
When compressing air, heat is generated. This is diverted to the cooling system and released into the atmosphere. However, this heat energy can be put to good use. This is where energy harvesting comes in. It recovers heat so that it can be used for heating work spaces, hot water or industrial processes. The compressor “creates” energy. Don’t let it get lost!
Compressors of any age or type can benefit from the superior processing capability of the Elektronikon Mk5 Touch controller, offering the most advanced control algorithms and connectivity via SMARTLINK, resulting in improved machine control and cost savings. energy.
To unlock potential savings in a manufacturing site’s compressor room, try Atlas Copco’s online calculator.