There are really only two ways to make a profit in business. Reduce your costs of production or Sell more of your products. The president of your company and your CFO are not doubt admonishing you to cut costs as much as you can.

I’m sure you’ve shared the same mission with your team. One of the biggest opportunities to cut costs is to reduce power consumption. And one of the biggest power users of power in most production plants is:

Your Compressed Air System

Compressed Air System design is a matter of not how much you have but how well you use it. It wouldn’t be uncommon for a business to be able to cut their compressed air demands by 20% just by eliminating leaks.

Beyond that there are opportunities to get the same production for a less costs. (Or create the capacity to scale up and keep your costs constant). Here’s how you can do that

Make Sure Each Piece Of Machinery Is Receiving The Right Pressure.

Unfortunately – when individual pieces of machinery aren’t getting enough air pressure, the maintenance team often just jacks up the air pressure until the complaints go away.

With only a couple of machinery operators complaining, if maintenance increases the system pressure – then it’s a given that a lot of other machinery is going to be receiving too much air.

Best practice to avoid this problem is to divide your compressed air system into zones and use regulators so that the pressure delivered to each zone matches the demand of the machinery. Depending on the complexity of your compressed air system you might want to engage an external compressed auditor (like Pye-Barker) to help guide you through this process.

After you’ve started to manage your air flow more systematically you’ll reduce your compressed air consumption – slashing your power bills by producing less compressed air.

Invest In Storage

Most compressed air systems like to be running at a constant speed, rather than whipsawing between full-load and unloaded every couple of minutes. Depending on the size of your compressor and the storage capacity of your current system this may not be possible.

When your compressors are flip-flopping between loaded or unloaded they consume a lot of power, and incur a lot of wear and tear. If that is the case it is wise to increase the storage capacity of your system to reduce power bills and break down.

You can do this with either dedicated storage, secondary storage or even offline high pressure storage.

Optimize Air Usage

Bearing in mind that it takes between 7 and 8 horsepower to deliver one pneumatic horsepower, it might pay to switch some of your air driven machinery out for more energy efficient options and use less compressed air. For example you might be able to:-

In the end the cost of a unit of compressed air is relatively static. The value you get from your investment in your compressed air is determined by how efficiently you use the air your produce. This is why compressed air auditing is essential for any business running complex compressed air systems. This advice goes double if you are considering adding more compressors to your system to accommodate ‘increased demand.’

There are always opportunities to improve your compressed air system and bring your costs into line with best practices. If you are considering investing in more air compressors or are looking to cut costs I’d recommend starting with an AirInsite compressed air audit. To arrange yours call 404-363-6000 or drop us a line sales@pyebarker.com and we can get the ball rolling.

We do our share of compressed air audits for clients. One phenomena that baffles us and our clients more often than we’d like is when our audit team’s list of “low cost quick wins” often aren’t implemented immediately.

When we check back, many clients haven’t fixed their leaks. They haven’t made simple process improvements to make sure each department that uses compressed air is receiving that air at the correct pressures. They haven’t… they haven’t…

These are simple fixes. They can save you A LOT of money and these savings can be leveraged into other improvements in the compressed air system and around the plant.

Generally the ‘low cost stuff’ is really sorting out the demand side of your compressed air system.

The reason why they don’t get followed up on can be quite simple. Your team’s priorities. I bet your team is busy. I bet they often spend more than their forty hours on the job trying to get everything done.

They don’t have time to read let alone address the findings in the auditor’s report.

In order to capture those improvements in your plant – you need a plan.

Here is how I would attack the challenge of my demand side savings:

Run It As A Project.

You’ve got a goal to capture savings. And to prove this project has paid off you need to be able to measure before and after. You’ve got a set of milestones in your report – you could call them your project deliverables. We prioritize these opportunities (calculate the biggest savings opportunity and make it priority one etc.) for clients in our compressed air audits. Other auditors do not. Lack of clear priorities can be a problem when you are getting started.

You know the project is done when all of those savings opportunities have been captured. Finally once you’re done you can measure the before and after and count the dollars in the bank.

Measurement.

While you are planning your project, get your measurement plan in place. Here at Pye-Barker we have the expertise to measure and manage the installation of a metering system. Be sure to meter your supply side and also the opportunity areas on your demand side.

Tackle Priority One.

Now that we have our measurement in place, we can figure out how we can slash the demand on project priority one. It might be a zone in your compressed air system where you’ve identified some major leaks. Your project manager can work with the appropriate team members to identify and then fix all of the tasks associated with completing this phase of the project.

Then you should be able to do a ‘before and after’ comparison of compressed air and power consumption. And work out the return on your investment.

Repeat for the remaining opportunities.

Plan your next phase, find and fix. Compare your before and afters.

Project management can be as hard or as easy as you want it to be. Generally simpler is better. Be clear about your objectives and be sure you can show a result. Nothing talks more clearly than results.

All compressed air savings plans start with a comprehensive compressed air audit. Pye-Barker has been helping all types of compressed air users get the best return on their compressed air systems with our thorough Compressed Air Auditing system. You can find out more about our compressed air audits by calling 404-363-6000 or emailing sales@pyebarker.com

Compresed Air Leak Audit

Your compressed air is JUST as important. Treat it that way.

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

AUTHORIZED DISTRIBUTORS FOR

Savannah Office Address:
1105 Louisville Rd
Savannah, GA 31415
TEL: (912) 238-0303
FAX: (912) 238-5214
Forest Park (Atlanta) Address:
121 Royal Dr.
Forest Park, GA 30297
TEL: (404) 647-0986
FAX: (404) 361-8579
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Sylvania GA 30467
FAX: (912) 564-2636
Orlando, FL Address:
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Orlando, FL 32824
FAX: (321) 282-6424
Main Switchboard:

(404) 647-0986

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