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There is great potential for optimising the efficiency of the compressed air supply and this can often be exploited with little investment. Since energy costs account for more than 80% of the total operating costs of a compressor, even the gradual exploitation of this potential is effective. The user saves energy costs after only a short time and at the same time reduces CO2 emissions.
If you are thinking about buying a new compressor or want to upgrade an existing system, we recommend that you have a compressed air check carried out as a matter of course.
A compressed air check is a very precise procedure in which a data recording device is attached to each compressor in the network, without affecting the production process.
The results show the exact pressure and volume flow of the entire system and allow the simulated selection of compressors to ensure that properly sized compressors are installed. This allows system efficiency to be optimised, thus reducing energy consumption and ensuring the reliability of the overall system. Advanced integrated compressor control systems support continuous data logging, so if the system profile changes, the compressors can also be adjusted to ensure that maximum efficiency is achieved at all times.
The use of the heat potential of the compressor can additionally be checked during the compressed air check. After all, more than 90 percent of the (waste) heat generated by the compressor can be put to good use - for example for heating buildings, hot water supply or as process heat. The greater the importance of heat utilisation for a company, the more crucial it is to select the optimum compressor design (oil or water cooled).
The efficiency of a compressor can be checked with a rule of thumb in which a quotient of compressor power (kW) and the delivery volume (m³/min) at nominal pressure is used to determine whether the compressor needs to be replaced.
The efficiency of the compressor is fully exploited if the air drawn in is as clean and cool as possible. A prerequisite for effective compressed air production is therefore the consideration of climatic conditions (humidity / temperature) when planning the system.
For energy-efficient compressor operation, the lowest possible idling speed should be aimed for. The energy requirement at idle can be considerable, especially with older compressors. If several compressors are in use, splitting them into basic and peak load machines is a good solution.
In a compressed air network that is only moderately maintained, up to 20 or even 30% of the generated compressed air can be lost due to leaks. Regular leakage detection is therefore a "must" for maintenance. In addition to pipe work, shut-off valves and manual condensate valves, hoses, couplings, pipes, flanges and pipe connections should also be checked for leaks – with "on-board equipment" or by the compressor manufacturer or a qualified service provider. This example shows how important and necessary leak detection is: a leak of only 2 mm diameter in a 10 bar network can cause more than 30,000 euros in additional compressed air costs per year.
The higher the operating pressure, the higher the energy consumption. Therefore, the entire network with all its components should be optimised for low differential pressure. This means, for example: short pipe runs, smooth pipe bends and no "bottlenecks" in the pipes and connections. With filter elements, the differential pressure increases with service life, so they must be replaced regularly
The principle of "as much as necessary – as little as possible" applies to compressed air treatment, and the question "centralised and/or decentralised?" should also be decided with a view to energy efficiency. When selecting filters, not only is the validated separation efficiency (ISO12500-1) important, they must also have the lowest possible flow resistance, as this directly affects the energy requirements of the compressor. Use level or electronically controlled condensate drains. The decision for the dryer principle (refrigerant dryer/ cold or warm regenerating adsorption dryer) for new installations or retrofits, depends on the required compressed air quality (ISO 8573-1:2010), the required compressed air volume and the required pressure dew point. The weekly check of non-automatically monitored treatment components has a positive effect on the safe and efficient compressed air supply.
Regular replacement of filter elements can help to avoid pressure drops. If a filter is clogged, the compressor has to use more energy to overcome the blockage through higher pressure. Weekly checks of downstream filters allow potential problems to be identified before they occur.
No-load operation deserves special attention, as the compressor continues to run and consumes energy without producing compressed air.
In addition, the compressor is stopped and restarted, which leads to increased wear and tear on the components and increases operating costs due to higher maintenance costs and energy consumption.
Proper sizing of the system, or the installation of an intelligent compressor control system to ensure the most suitable configuration for the application, will ensure highly efficient and reliable operation.
Make sure that the air reservoirs are correctly sized for the application. As a general rule, the better the control system of the compressors is matched to the current demand (speed-controlled systems), the smaller the compressed air receiver can be dimensioned. Load/idle running controlled systems with e.g. few large consumers, require larger container volumes in order to reduce the switching operations of the compressor drives. This reduces their wear and improves energy efficiency.
The better the compressor is adapted to the respective task, the more efficient it works. The parameters to be considered here include the operating pressure (min/ max), the volume flow (min/ max) and also the required compressed air quality according to ISO 8573-1:2010. The application and the safety level of the supply ultimately determine whether the higher investment in an oil-free compressor is justified. And if the compressed air demand fluctuates, the extra cost of purchasing a speed-controlled compressor is almost always recouped.
The installation of a new, energy-efficient model can pay for itself within a short time. Many customers have been able to achieve excellent payback times in cooperation with CompAir!
Original spare parts offer the best guarantee for long service life and efficient system operation. This applies to compressor stages, valves and seals, but also to lubricants and processing components. The design, materials and quality of the spare parts directly follow the further development of the compressors. Experience shows: The often small additional investment for original parts pays for itself - not only because of the warranty.
Continuous service and maintenance is a central prerequisite for permanent reliability and efficient operation of the compressed air supply.
Our claim is the best possible adaptation to the needs of our customers. Smart Maintenance is not a luxury, but an economically sensible investment that ensures a smooth production process. Our experienced and qualified service technicians and partners maintain your compressors according to high quality standards and with accurate documentation.
The maintenance and protection of compressors is of vital importance for a manufacturing company. At your request, we can undertake both planned and unplanned repairs to complex machines and systems in order to maintain or restore them to full operational capability.
However, we advise you to take out a full maintenance contract including the free iConn compressor service, which includes regular performance and safety checks. This covers emergency repairs as well as preventive maintenance and the supply of original spare parts.
iConn Monitoring provides compressed air users with comprehensive, real-time machine data that is essential for accurate production planning and investment protection.
iConn is designed as an open platform that also supports compressors and treatment products from other manufacturers – thus providing meaningful analysis with added value.
iConn is part of the standard equipment of new compressors, but can also be retrofitted as a "retrofit solution" into existing compressor plants and also into compressors of other manufacturers.