Industrial air compressors are integral for many factories and manufacturing plants, but they don’t always operate as efficiently as possible. Fortunately, there are a few simple steps you can take to make sure that your industrial air compressor is running at peak efficiency. In this blog post, we’ll discuss how to optimize the performance of your industrial air compressor so that it runs reliably and uses less energy.
1. Identify and Eliminate Air Leaks
Air leaks are one of the primary issues that contribute to inefficient compressed air systems. Leaks can lead to a major loss of energy and air over time, causing the compressor to work harder than it has to due to increased pressure drops. Unscheduled downtime and your energy bill will undoubtedly increase due to increased wear and tear on the compressor system overcompensating for the artificial demand created from air leaks.
This overcompensation means the compressor runs harder (more kW) and longer (increased hours) to meet required PSI parameters. Air leaks are often left unmanaged because they are typically not seen or heard, which can lead to wasted air and hidden costs for compressed air systems.
Here are a few ways you can identify and eliminate air leaks:
- Check connections. Common leak areas occur in drains, valves, disconnects, pipe joints, hose reels, fittings, and regulators. Inspect points along your compressed air system and downstream. Tighten anything that appears to be loose or releasing air. Inspections should be conducted on a regular basis as part of your preventive maintenance.
- Check drains and traps. Buildup of rust, sludge, or other materials can cause stress on your system. Normally, condensate buildup will restrict air flow, however, this buildup could force open drains and force air leaks. Additionally, the faulty drains will allow moisture and other condensate contaminants downstream, resulting in premature wear of compressed air components. It is best practice to test your drains daily.
- Invest in a leak detection device. Ultrasonic leak detection is state-of-the-art technology used to detect leaks in compressed air systems. At Air Handling Equipment, we have partnered with Sonotec to deliver industry-leading leak detection services. Our Technical Solutions Group offers a leak prevention program that identifies leaks, documents leaks (size, location, type), repair leaks (and document repairs), and follow up with periodic reviews. Our team can also review and recommend optimal pipe system designs to best distribute air flow and minimize pressure drops. Our professionals are here to protect your system and minimize your production downtime due to system inefficiencies.
2. Understand and Manage Your Capacity
Whether your compressor runs for a few hours a day or constantly, there are cost-saving opportunities. Air Handling Equipment offers our customers data logging to help measure system performance. Data logging reports compares efficiency of current compressor setup vs. proposed future options.
Right sizing compressor output to meet production demand is essential for system efficiency and high performance. One solution may be to convert to a variable speed compressor, which can save over 25% in energy costs. There are many variables and constraints that factor into system design. Air Handling Equipment can support this effort in delivering the right solution for your facility.
3. Minimize Pressure Drops
Excessive pressure drops can create system inefficiencies and increase energy consumption. If pressure drops are significant enough where they affect end-user equipment, do not be quick to jump at a compressor issue or a need to add capacity with another compressor to meet pressure demands. Often times, compressors are operating at higher pressures to meet pressure control settings because of pressure drops. There are a few ways to identify and reduce pressure drops.
Inadequate pipe size and layout can drastically affect pressure downstream. Poor maintenance can also negatively affect compressed air system efficiency. Proper maintenance includes making sure filtration and air dryers are kept clean to remove debris, oil, and moisture entering downstream.
The team at Air Handling Equipment can assist with both maintaining proper system design and maintenance to reduce pressure drops and allow the compressed air equipment to operate efficiently at the lowest operating pressure.
4. Invest in Energy-Efficient Accessories
There are many compressed air accessories available to optimize your compressed air equipment that can deliver a strong ROI as well. Storage tanks, pressure flow controllers, sequencing, regulators, air dryer, high performance filter(s) and dew point monitors are all examples of potential energy-efficient options to optimize your compressed air system. Reach out to our team at Air Handling Equipment today to determine which tools and accessories will optimize your compressed air system and ultimately save you money.
5. Perform Routine Maintenance
It’s important to routinely check your compressed air system. There are daily, weekly, monthly, and annual inspections that should be followed. These service checks are vital to prevent unscheduled downtime due to premature wear or damage of components. Beyond the cost of repairs and lost production due to unscheduled breakdowns, poorly maintained compressed air systems can cause wasted energy and more hidden costs. Air leaks and pressure drops, as discussed above, are leading consequences from lack of maintenance.
Air Handling Equipment offers customized maintenance plans for our customers to ensure peace of mind reliability of their compressed air systems. Our experienced technicians are available to support customers’ needs 24/7 on any make and model of compressed air equipment. In addition, with industry-leading manufacturers , available parts, and superior customer service, Air Handling Equipment has you covered. Trust the experts at Air Handling Equipment to keep your system running efficiently for years to come. For an in-depth look into preventative maintenance from Air Handling Equipment, check out our blog post, Actively Proactive: Compressed Air Maintenance Plans.
With office locations in Sidney, Milford, and Gahanna, Air Handling Equipment has been providing compressed air system solutions to the Midwestern and Southern Ohio markets since 1977. This includes proudly serving the greater Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton, Lima and Findlay, Ohio areas. Call one of our locations or fill out our online contact form and someone from our team will get back to you as soon as possible.