Compressed air pipes

Save energy and protect the environment with the right compressed air solution

As Europe experiences soaring energy prices and compressed air accounts for between 12-40% of all industrial energy consumed, many companies are considering what steps they can take to minimize costs and improve the efficiency of their operations. According to CompAir, a leading supplier of industrial compressed air equipment, now is the time for energy-intensive organizations to take advantage of heat recovery, oil-free technology and digital analytics.

In the first quarter of 2022, short-term gas prices on Europe’s largest exchange were five times higher than their 2021 average, and future markets are pricing European gas at up to three times its 2021 levels for at least the next three years. However, CompAir advises compressed air users that steps can be taken now to help protect their investments for the future.

Here are some tips recommended by CompAir, with advice on the company’s latest compressed air technologies to help reduce energy costs and optimize efficiency levels.

Opt for oil-free screw compressors

While most production-sensitive environments, such as those in the food and beverage or pharmaceutical sectors, will opt for an oil-free compressor, many other businesses will benefit from the efficiency that an oil-free model can offer. In many cases, lifetime costs are reduced as companies are able to save on the cost of oil replacement, and there is no need for additional products such as oil separators. ‘oil.

CompAir offers a wide range of oil-free compressor technologies, including screw and reciprocating machines. Its advanced Ultima compressor operates completely oil-free, with component cooling carried out via a closed water circuit. Each compressor block is individually driven by a variable speed permanent magnet synchronous motor, delivering exceptional levels of efficiency compared to traditional oil-free technology.

Take advantage of the latest technology in oil-lubricated screw compressors

However, for those looking to upgrade to an oil-lubricated system plus air treatment, the latest oil-lubricated technologies have been developed to optimize durability throughout the life cycle of the compressor. . CompAir’s FourCore line combines excellent compressed air efficiency with a small footprint and durable design for environmentally conscious businesses.

For example, when the carbon emissions of a new 160kW FourCore model are compared to those of a traditional supercharger, operating 8,000 hours per year, the FourCore system reduces the equivalent greenhouse gas emissions of 32 cars passenger cars, or 371,800 miles driven by a passenger car, over the course of one year. That’s the same amount of carbon sequestered by 181 acres of forest.

Additionally, compared to a conventional two-stage compressor, the new 200kW model uses 22% less material and can help reduce waste by up to 19%. And when compared to previous single-stage compressors in this size range from CompAir, the new models are up to 8% more efficient.

Treat the air correctly

Modern production systems and processes require increasingly pure compressed air. Proper specification of downstream equipment will not only improve the quality and efficiency of a compressed air system, but also reduce its impact on the environment.

CompAir offers a wide range of compressed air treatment solutions including filtration, refrigeration and absorption dryers and condensate management systems. High-quality consumables, such as long-life filter elements, ensure low component wear and consistently low differential pressure.

heat recovery

In the meantime, taking advantage of measures such as heat recovery presents a huge opportunity to reduce energy costs, by recycling excess heat and using it to benefit a site. With typically only 10% of electrical energy input converted to compressed air, the remaining 90% is typically wasted as heat.

By installing a heat recovery unit on a compressor, the system can “recover” the energy lost during the compression process and use it for other useful purposes. For example, it can supplement the electricity, gas or oil needed to produce hot water for toilets or process water. Alternatively, it can be transferred as direct hot air into a workspace or facility.

CompAir offers several turnkey heat recovery solutions for its oil-free and oil-lubricated, factory-installed and retrofittable screw compressors. This allows for easy plug-and-play installation and immediate realization of energy and cost savings.

Drive improvements with digital insights

The Internet of Things and data analytics can help operators understand how efficiently a compressor is operating and if improvements can be made. This information will not only help highlight potential current problems, but will also allow operators to predict potential future problems, depending on the deterioration of machine performance.

Predictive maintenance models based on real-time data can be established to help reduce energy consumption, improve process efficiency and limit risk. Connectivity continues to be a key part of the CompAir portfolio, with the company’s iConn service providing intelligent information that helps operators monitor a system’s performance in real time and remotely.

Accessible from smartphones and tablets, the browser-based system allows users to proactively manage any potential issues that arise at any time, reducing associated downtime and ensuring the system operates as expected.

Guaranteed insurance with service contracts

To help businesses avoid unplanned and unbudgeted downtime and production interruptions, CompAir has launched a series of new Assure service contracts. Available to all compressed air users, regardless of manufacturer or equipment age, they help companies optimize operational efficiency, mitigate risk and streamline work practices by ensuring that customers only have to deal with one compressed air supplier.

From the entry level, AssurePLAN, which covers the rapid replacement of consumable components such as oil and air filters, separators and oil, with a 12 month warranty on these assets, to the most comprehensive, AssureCOMPLETE, which guarantees all operational risks for a compressed air system is transferred to CompAir, a service contract is available to meet a company’s exact needs.

In addition, these agreements include original spare parts. Although a non-genuine part may be less expensive, it can jeopardize the long-term compressed air investment and end up costing a company more. Genuine parts, on the other hand, are manufactured to the same high standards as the compressors for which they are intended.

Don’t lose profit

It is essential to manage pipe leaks. Air leaks are the leading cause of energy loss in industrial air systems, wasting up to 20-30% of system output. There are many causes of leaks in a compressed air system, including shut-off valves and manual condensate valves left open, as well as leaking pipes, fittings, hoses, flanges, and pipe joints.

With a leak as small as 3mm potentially costing over £800 in wasted energy, one solution is a simple leak detection survey which can quickly identify any issues so corrective action can be taken. Alternatively, a flow meter is a reliable way to assess compressed air production and downstream inefficiency costs. Indeed, finding and fixing a 3mm leak could potentially save enough money to cover the cost of purchasing a leak.

Carry out an energy audit

Whether buying a new compressor or upgrading an existing system, a good starting point is to always undertake a full site energy audit. This will establish current compressed air usage and costs, help identify air leaks to determine where energy is being lost and where savings could be made, and test air quality to ensure that the compressed air generated meets the correct standards. Not only does an energy audit help reduce a company’s total cost of ownership, it also helps reduce environmental impact.

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