Many customers have to submit for corporate / management budgetary pricing for new or replacement compressed air equipment for pending fiscal budget approval. This monetary amount is compiled for the estimated costs of replacement compressed air equipment or based on estimated additional air required for pending production processes.
With improved technology relating to compressed air audits being able to report current compressed air operation with actual air and pressure requirement for typical daily or weekly operation, determining if existing compressed air system is controlled properly, energy costs of existing equipment, and savings that can be made via an air leak audit and leak repairs that can reduce actual air demand for pending air requirements, below are a few items customers (large and small) should consider with compressed air equipment purchase.
- An air leak survey done via your service provider or via third party auditor will help identify costly air leaks and reduce actual air demand required and reduce energy costs relating to compressed air equipment. The typical costs of air leaks for reference can be found via several engineering manuals – one is BEST PRACTICES FOR COMPRESSED AIR SYSTEMS, 2ND, FIG. A.5.D on page 229. Pye-Barker Supply field service has an ultrasonic UE ULTRAPROBE 3000 digital leak sensing device that interpolates via specific orifice size leaks the amount of air and energy that is lost. An air leak survey will not interrupt production time. An air leak survey is typically done in one day and a leak report furnished a few days after survey. Existing compressed air equipment may meet additional air requirement by eliminating air consumption via existing air leaks.
- GARDNER DENVER AirInsite air audit programs supplied via our service department will provide report and graphs showing compressed air pressure, power use, and interpolated flow during a typical week of operation. The audit is based on kW loggers mounted on each air compressor, one or more pressure loggers on primary airline or via port on air receiver and left in place for typically seven days and then our service tech returns and removes loggers. The data stored on loggers is then downloaded and then converted to require and graphs. Another audit tool option is to mount a flow logger or flow meter to supply actual flow. The data downloaded from kW loggers can be interpolated to supply flow on outlet of air compressors. The flow logger option can be mounted downstream to show actual flow seen at process equipment inlet. No production downtime is required unless pressure logger connection is needed.
- A more detailed audit or inspection can be done to determine if existing piping is properly sized for flow demand required, and if existing system storage or air receiver storage is adequate for worst case air demand while compressor is down or loading. Many customers add new equipment requiring additional air and do not consider the pressure differential of existing piping or cannot afford the downtime to update piping network but also do not consider the additional energy costs relating to increased pressure differentials. For details on pressure drops for piping layouts and storage please refer to BEST PRACTICES FOR COMPRESSED AIR SYSTEMS, 2ND, FIG. 3.A.1 and 5.F.1.
If customers review the power costs of equipment in their plants, they will see that the compressed air equipment is most likely the biggest user and the discussed air leak audit or air system audit will provide a better understanding of current air requirements and / or if additional equipment is needed. If air demand varies during a typical day, an air audit will also assist with adding additional air storage for intermittent needs or show that a variable speed air compressor may be best option versus adding an additional fixed speed air compressor.