Raising the bar on compressor efficiency
Pre-emptive control is key to lower compressed-air costs.June 19, 2012
By Dusty Smith, P.E. Pneu-Logic Corp., Portland, Ore.
Compressed air is an expensive resource. For each dollar’s worth of electricity used to produce compressed air, as little as 10 to 15% of that energy may be used on the factory in the form of compressed air. As energy costs increase, plant operators need to become sensitive to how much energy and money can be wasted if compressor operation is not tightly controlled, and even the smallest air leaks are not repaired.
When energy was less expensive, manufacturing plants would leave compressors on all the time during a production shift. Then, more than 20 years ago, rudimentary sequencing control systems were introduced that turned compressors on or off in a predetermined order as the plant’s need for air fluctuated. Using sequencers was better than leaving compressors on all the time, but precision in matching air flow with demand was still lacking and energy was being wasted. What was needed was a more predictive and flexible means of pre-emptive compressor control. (click here to read full article)