I know that we’ve been hearing a lot about oil free air compressors of late. Some of you might be wondering about the hype. I believe they are worth the hype and they can represent incredible value to the right customer.

I suspect that as we move forward and the technology becomes more widespread, the costs will come down and we will see the broader market turn to oil free air.

So I’m going to share the ideal situation to consider an oil free air compressor.

Where I Would Look Long And Hard At Oil Free Air Compressors.

Gardner Denver Oil Free Air Compressors do deliver 100% oil free air. No conventional air compressor can offer that. Once oil is in your compressed air it’s impossible to get it 100% out. No scientist would make that claim and no company would guarantee that their filtration system can clean air from conventional air compressor so that you get 100% oil free air all the time.

It’s just a recipe for legal troubles.

You can make those claims with an oil free air compressor.

ISO-Class 0 air is air that is 100% completely oil free. The best you can get with a conventional compressor is .1 mg/m3 under ideal conditions. I’ll admit it can be good enough but it requires a filtration system.

You don’t need to invest in or maintain an oil removal/filtration system if you use an oil free compressor. There’s a savings and depending on the quality of air you need it can be a big one over the life of a compressor.

Then there is always the risk of a contamination ‘event’ and downstream damage. This can be either from oil in the compressed air contaminating your end product – e.g. pharmaceuticals or food and beverage applications or the oil could damage your equipment that runs on compressed air e.g. pumps and tools.

Where you are looking to replace your air compressors anyway and would like to eliminate the costs or the ‘risk of expense’ associated with maintenance and repairs or product damage, that’s where there could be a big payoff. Cleaning up a disaster could well cost you far more than the oil free compressor would have cost.

If you are looking for a new compressor, the team here at Pye-Barker can guide you through the process. Please call 404-363-6000 or drop us a line sales@pyebarker.com and we will explore a range of options based on your circumstances with you.

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.

A lot of workshops and ‘less complicated’ compressed air systems owners often face a variation on which compressor option should we take?

The choice is between:

Installing single large compressor that can deal with the peak load of the system (as well as future increases in demand)?

Or

Installing two compressors that have the same total output as the larger one but will have a lower power demand while they are unloaded.

To be fair when you buy an air compressor you are guessing or modelling what you think your future demand for compressed air will be over the life of the compressor. Which is not an easy task. Think about the money the National Weather Service spends trying to forecast tomorrow to get it wrong…

There are other options too such as a Variable Speed Drive or modulating inlet air compressors… as well as system design features like storage tanks.

The Best Choice of Air Compressor Depends on Your Duty Cycle

Just in case – duty cycle is the amount of time it needs to be running at full capacity. The rest of the time it is running unloaded. So 60% duty cycle means your air compressor will run at full capacity 60% of the time and be unloaded the remaining 40%.

However it will turn on and off based on the demands of your compressed air appliances. So if you need a series of air tools to run 10 hours a day then the demand is fairly constant. However if you are using your compressed air to propel abrasives, the demand will spike while you’re blasting but the rest of the time your compressed air needs might be minimal.

Both scenarios could see a 60% duty cycle for a given air compressor… but you will find the dynamics of your duty cycle will influence your best choice.

As a rule when you have continuous demand you are better off taking the larger compressor that delivers the volume of air you need at the desired pressure.

However when faced with demand that spikes you might find that running two 25hp compressors instead of purchasing a single 50hp compressor will be more energy efficient. It means you’ll still be able to meet peak demand but you’ll consume less power while your compressors are idle or your compressed air consumption is low enough that a single compressor can fulfill the demand, then the second compressor can provide the additional air when it’s needed.

This sort of lateral thinking is necessary when you are looking to buy your next air compressor(s). Power consumption represents up to 75% of the total cost of ownership of an air compressor while the purchase price is usually 10-15%. It can make sense to invest a little extra up front to slash your power bills.

If you are looking for a collaborative approach to getting a more efficient compressed air system then contact the team at Pye-Barker on 404-363-6000 or drop us a line sales@pyebarker.com and we can help find the right compressor solution for your situation.

When we talk about saving energy we are really talking about saving money – that power isn’t free now is it?

Up to 70% of the total cost of ownership on an air compressor is buying the electricity – it can be less if you buy smart… But it’s a good indication of the lifetime cost of power.

The aim of the game is to use as little power as possible in order to achieve your goals.

Here are some ways to cut your compressed air power bills.

Use the Off Switch

Unless you are a 24/7/365 operation, you don’t need compressed air 24/7/365. Turn your compressor(s) off when you aren’t working. Depending on when you are open you might only need air for 60-100 hours a week rather than the full 168 hours there are in a week.

Turning the thing off when you are shut down could see a 20% reduction in your power consumption.

‘Free’ Heat Source

To me, one of the highest art forms in industry is taking waste product and turning into a useful input for another process.

Compressing air gives of heat – quite a lot of it. Turning that from a waste product into a useful input could cut down your power bills somewhere else – you could use it to augment or replace a conventional hot water unit for example or you could pump that warmth into a work space keeping your employees warm.

Don’t Use it if you don’t have to…

Are you using compressed air for applications where it would be more efficient to use something else?

I thought so…

Compressed air is frequently used for cooling or applications where a lower air pressure could be used. In many situations it would pay off to change from using compressed air to using a more efficient and economical air source.

Bonus Tip: Use a more efficient compressor. Gardner Denver and Quantima make excellent energy efficient air compressors that can reduce the total cost of ownership compared to many traditional models.

If you are looking to reduce the energy costs of your compressed air system then the best investment you can make is in an efficient air compressor. Contact Pye-Barker on 404-363-6000 or email us at sales@pyebarker.com to see just how much you can save on your energy bills.

There has been a radical shift in air compressor technology over the last few years. A lot of the drawbacks of the previous generation of air compressors have been completely eliminated simply by switching to Gardner Denver’s Quantima™ air compressors.

The problems with traditional air compressors are – they are expensive to run, need continual maintenance to ensure you don’t end up with a very costly repair bill and aren’t particularly efficient compared to what they could be.

Gardner Denver is confident that by using their new Quantima™ Air Compressors you can easily slash 25% of the total cost of ownership compared to other air compressors on the market. Quantima™ air compressors use Variable rate technology to match output to requirement minimizing off-load running and have the lowest off-load power, just 2.5% of full load power. (That’s 7kW for a 300kW compressor).

The Quantima™ range has only a single moving part contained in a magnetic field – so it has no wear and tear. There is no gearbox and no contact parts which cause the bulk of the maintenance issues with a conventional compressor.

Simplification means less maintenance and greater reliability. Compare a screw air compressor to a Quantima™ – see how much less can go wrong.

Component Quantima™ Standard Screw Technology
Gears 0 7
Bearings 4 19
Seals 2 19
Oil System 0 1

 

Going Green As A Bonus

Using a Quantima™ also means:-

 

You know that energy is by far the biggest cost associated with your compressed air system. Quantima™ can deliver significant power savings in your compressed air generation, but so too can improvements in your compressed air distribution and use.

A Comprehensive measurement and analysis of your compressed air systems can tell you exactly what compressed air is costing you, and figure out the savings for switching. Contact Pye Barker on 404-363-6000 or email us at sales@pyebarker.com to see just how much you can save on your compressed air system.

If you are looking to replace or install an Oil Free Air Compressor, there are several critical factors that need to be assessed when you are evaluating each model.

Is It Actually Oil Free?

For those in the know about oil free air compressors – you probably know that not all ‘oil free’ air compressors are 100% oil free. Many traditional makes of oil free air compressors are not actually oil free. They often contain some lubricating oil somewhere… Where there is oil – it can end up in your compressed air…

So to be certain to avoid the risk of oil contaminated air:-

You need to be sure your Oil Free Compressor is actually completely oil free.

How’s The Performance?

Partly because of perception there is a belief with some segments of the market that oil free compressors represent a downgrade in performance compared to their traditionally designed counterparts.

Be sure that the oil free air compressor you are looking for will actually meet the performance demands of your air system.

There are now plenty oil-free air compressors on the market that have fantastic performance.

Total Cost Of Ownership

Power consumption of your air compressor is going to be the most expensive part about owning one. The single biggest saving you can make is finding the most efficient Air Compressor that suits your needs.

Always get a compressor that is properly sized for your needs with a variable speed drive. The energy savings from having it tick along at about 70% of load can represent a 25% reduction in your energy bill over a fixed speed compressor.

Ease of Maintenance

Many buyers neglect the true cost of downtime when a machine goes down. If your air system is mission critical, then every moment your compressors are down for maintenance or repair is very expensive.

So be sure that routine maintenance can be carried out efficiently – air compressor units are not all designed equally. What can be a quick job in one can take an hour or longer in another.

If you are looking for an air compressor that is 100% oil free compliant with ISO Class: 0 and is silicone free as well, consider a Gardner Denver EnviroAire Compressor. It offers industry leading performance and has been used successfully in diverse industries such as Food and Beverage, Pharmaceutical, Electronics, Chemical, Textile and Utilities.

The EnviroAire Compressor also has been designed to make servicing as fast and simple as possible.

To get a more information on the Gardner Denver EnviroAire series call 404-363-6000 or email sales@pyebarker.com and we can discuss your needs and provide you with the information you need.

Some of our clients keep their compressed air systems in pristine condition. Others would be horrified if they shut down their workspace for 12 hours and went around listening for leaks. Others could do that and their team would shrug.

I hope you and I are on the same page about this – we can’t really afford to be wasting money in this day and age. Competition is fiercer than ever and every cent wasted in inefficient operation could be the difference between life and death.

Some of our clients waste thousands of dollars a year with an inefficient air system

With that in mind I thought I’d share with you just what can be done to improve your air compressor’s efficiency so that you can free up some more money and either put it in the bank or use it to make your operation even more efficient.

Fix Your Leaks.

Honestly, I can’t stress this enough. If your air system is leaking it is money down the toilet. To make it more real – go to the bank take out $1,000. Go to the nearest bathroom, rip up the money drop it in the bowl and flush.

You wouldn’t do that. So why wouldn’t you fix the leaks?

70% of the total lifetime costs of your air compressor is electricity and in a typical industrial installation up to 30% of the energy consumed is wasted – it sounds expensive and it is.

The cost of a single of your compressed air, that you just spent electricity to produce, can run between $200 and $2,000 per year.

Get Your Drains Right.

If you are still using the older condensate drains – especially the mechanical types – remember they are going to leak. And leaks should be fixed. They often end up discharging a lot of compressed air when they discharge the condensate.

Smarter drains discharge on a timer. They open for 10 seconds every 5 minutes. But the problem is that they do this even if there is no water to discharge (or not enough water to discharge for the full 10 seconds). If there is air coming out, it’s a leak – costing you money.

Compressed air is expensive and both mechanical drains & ‘smart’ drains leak. Think about the number of drains in your system.

It’s time to switch to “zero loss” drains. They only discharge water. The capital cost to put these in is fractional compared to the costs of air leaks.

Eliminate Pressure Drops

Pressure drops are when compressed air flows through a restriction in your system and is the difference in pressure before and after the restriction. They only occur when air is flowing through your system.

You can measure your pressure drops only when your air is flowing; the more air flowing the more obvious the pressure drop. You need a measurement of air pressure at your air compressor and at your end use machine(s).

If you can reduce the pressure drop by one psi, in many systems that could be a savings of $100’s of dollars per year depending on the size and number of air compressors you are running.

If you need some help identifying how you can optimize your compressed air system, give the team at Pye-Barker a call on 404-363-6000 or email sales@pyebarker.com we’ll conduct a no cost no obligation analysis of your system.

 

While the vast majority of our customers are looking for a direct replacement for an existing blower, or have engineers designing their new system who have made the calculations to determine the flow and pressure/vacuum required so then all we have to do is match the specs… we still get enough instances where a customer/engineering firm will pick a blower from a catalogue, order it and then complain to us about the results.

If you want to avoid being disappointed with a blower unit you’ve purchased then here are the three most common rookie mistakes:

Picking the Wrong Sized Blower

These clients will often select the smallest blower to provide the flow and pressure they require.  This is often at the top end of the flow and pressure curves, and not the optimum performance point.

This results in higher than necessary power consumption and a shorter life for the blower. We are all too familiar with trying to save a little bit of money upfront and then it costs us over the long term with higher running costs, higher maintenance costs and lost productivity due to downtime.

We try to select a blower at approximately 85% of its maximum.  This is the “sweet spot” for performance, life span of the blower and energy efficiency.

Someone Messed Up Their Calculations

We do see errors in the system calculations that can result in selecting the wrong blower.  Failing to account for line losses in piping would be an example.

While there isn’t much you can do to after the horse has bolted except get in a blower that can do the job. You can always double-check your work and also double check your measurements, and also explain to us how you came up with your specifications so we can double check them for you.

When the Blower Doesn’t Do What It Says in the Brochure

We also see that clients forget to adjust their blower specifications for atmospheric conditions (elevation/atmospheric pressure, temperature, and humidity) when selecting the blower.  Remember, the manufacturer’s literature show performance based on standard conditions (14.7 PSIA, 68 deg F, and 36% humidity).

For the record: At elevation you can use a smaller blower; at lower temps you can use a smaller blower; at lower humidity the air the blower has to push against is less dense so it can move more air.

Whatever happens we can help you by double checking your calculations and specifications before we recommend a blower for your system. Call 404-363-6000 or drop us a line at sales@pyebarker.com and we can review everything so that you don’t get short with your next blower purchase.

Getting  The Longest Possible Life Out Of Your Air Compressor

 

Air Compressor Service

Speaking from YEARS of compressor service experience

A good air compressor should only be noticed when it isn’t working. The rest of the time it hums away doing its job so that all of your factory’s vital functions can continue on, as expected.

Downtime is frustrating not only because something you expect to work isn’t but also for many businesses we service, an air compressor being down means no product is going out the door.

The downtime is costing you in maintenance and profit as well as upsetting the guys on the floor.

Here are the questions we get asked over and over again about air compressor oil maintenance. Following this advice will save you a fortune in both downtime and repair bills.

Can I top off the existing compressor oil with another oil?

When you mix two different oils is you create a third oil. The resulting third oil’s chemical properties may vary significantly depending on the mixing ratio, 50/50, 90/10, 10/90, etc. The suitability of this new oil for your compressor is anyone’s guess.

Additionally, these different mixtures have never been tested in operating conditions for extended periods of time so the expected oil life is not predictable – so this just results in a need for more monitoring that could be avoided by using the right oil in the first place.

You place your compressor at even more risk if you mix your oils. Don’t do it.

What do you mean mixing your oils?

Mixing oils with different chemistries or mixing a PAO base oil with a Petroleum base oil can cause varnishing.

Varnishing can cause your compressor to run hot often leading to costly repairs and expensive downtime.

Mixing oils can cause solubility problems between base fluids. They could emulsify and/or lose viscosity. If soluble, the oil will behave as well as the worst lubricant, mineral lubricants shorten the life of synthetics. Which creates another unnecessary expense – faster oil change.

Will I invalidate the compressor warranty by using aftermarket oils?

It is recommended that you use the compressor manufacturer’s oil thru the warranty period. If there is a problem and you make a claim against the warranty, the oil will be tested. Contaminating one oil with another is typically grounds to invalidate a warranty.

How long will the compressor oil last?

This depends on several factors, including application, cleanliness of air and type of oil used. Use the following table to estimate how often you need to change your compressor oil

Discharge Aeon 4000 Aeon 6000FG  Aeon 9000SP Aeon 9000TH
Up to 180F   4000 Hours 4000 Hours 8000 Hours 8000 Hours
180F to 190F 3000 Hours 3000 Hours 6000 Hours 8000 Hours
190F to 200F 2000 Hours 2000 Hours 4000 Hours 8000 Hours
200F to 210F 1000 Hours 1000 Hours 2000 Hours 6000 Hours

 

Why do I have to change the oil anyway?

The short answer is oil oxidizes. Oxidization is the chemical reaction between oxygen in the air and the oil being forced together by mixing at high temperatures. Oxidation is the number one reason why the fluid must be changed out.

Oxidation of any PAO based fluid (Many compressor lubricants are PAO based) can lead generation to varnish formation in the fluid is allowed to run through the compressor without the presence of antioxidants. Oxidation by-products can accumulate in the fluid, become insoluble and collect on the surfaces of the compressor as varnish.

If the varnishing is bad enough if you turn the compressor off long enough for the oil to cool down – say for the weekend, the varnished oil will become a thick dense mass causing the compressor to lock up and not restart once the oil cools down to room temperature. Once the varnished oil has cooled down it turns into a thick mass and it cannot be cleaned out. Any piping containing varnish as well as the air end will need to be replaced.

As long as the varnished oil stays hot and in a liquid from the unit can be cleaned out using the Comp Clean product.

Obviously this can all be avoided with regular oil changes – so don’t let them slip through the cracks.

Oil Testing and Oil Analysis Reports

Pye-Barker Supply has free oil testing with a detailed analysis reports thru Gardner Denver Oil Services Laboratories, to get an analysis for your compressor just call 404-363-6000 or ask your technician the next time he is on site for a service.

Gardner Denver IQ Package

Gardner Denver IQ Package with the panels removed

We’ve got clients in multiple industries using Gardner Denver IQ Blowers for applications including pneumatic conveying, vacuum and aeration in wastewater treatment. However, I know there are clients and customers who should be using them but aren’t.

I thought it was time to do a review of the IQ Blower range and talk about why they are, in my humble opinion, the best blower units on the market.

The design team at Gardner Denver has worked very hard with the IQ Blower range to achieve 3 primary goals:

Minimized Downtime: For many of our clients their blowers are mission critical – and downtime costs more than the costs of the parts and labor to repair their blower. It can result in missed production quotas, missed shipping deadlines, damage to reputation, and possibly even long standing client relationships.

The Gardner Denver IQ Blowers have several ‘low cost’ but high value features built in to them to minimize downtime and to give the buyer the lowest possible total cost of ownership. Features like the cooling fan – that runs for 10 minutes after shutdown – cooling down the unit sufficiently, or the automatic tensioner on the belt drive, to get maximum life out of each belt.

Ease of Maintenance and Repairs: The physical unit itself has been designed to make routine maintenance, repairs and even overhauls as easy as possible. The pop-up top on the unit gives direct access to filters, oil refill caps and conduit boxes.

The side panels can opened with a quarter turn latch key, where the oil drain taps, filters and sensors are immediately available.

If you need to remove the blower package for any reason it can be removed in one piece by forklift so that major works can be done in the open – as quickly as possible.

Control System Integration: The Air Smart Controller will sync up maintenance history, advisory history, temperature shutdowns and it can interface with a SCADA system – allowing you to monitor your IQ blowers from your control room.

Coupled with the fact that the unit is actually ‘plug and play’ – no special foundations – just put the unit on a level surface and connect power and plumb in the pipes, program the Air Smart Controller and you are pretty much away to the races.

If you need a new blower or are looking to replace an existing blower, Gardner Denver has a great blower sizing tool – if you need a rough estimate of what you need. Otherwise the team here at Pye-Barker can help you with an in-depth analysis of your existing system or new system and we can help you select the right blower for you. Just get in touch by phone at 404-363-6000 or drop us a line at sales@pyebarker.com

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
Sylvania Address:
452 Industrial Park Rd.
Sylvania GA 30467
FAX: (912) 564-2636
Orlando, FL Address:
524 Mid-Florida Dr., Suite 204
Orlando, FL 32824
FAX: (321) 282-6424
Main Switchboard:

(404) 647-0986

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