Compressed air is used in a number of processes in the food industry. It is used as an ingredient in whipped products such as ice cream, to slice or cut soft products and to open packagesbefore filling of product. Currently, food manufacturers are under pressure to validate the safety of all ingredients or processes for regulatory compliance, but unfortunately, there is currently no standard method to evaluate the microbial content of compressed air.
The United States accounts for roughly half of the global pharmaceutical market. This certainly keeps the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) busy in its oversight of pharmaceutical safety and effectiveness, including with the production processes. As the pharmaceutical industry has grown, so too has its utilization of compressed air for breathing air, operation of equipment and instrument air.
We conducted a comprehensive compressed air system assessment. Opportunities to improve the system were found in the main piping system, in reducing pressure losses in the mold machine piping, and with the high ambient temperatures found in the compressor room. We estimated energy savings of 403,500 kWh per year for a power savings of $65,000 per year. The total projects costs were $48,000 for a simple ROI of nine (9) months.
This pharmaceutical plant spends $265,100 annually on energy to operate the compressed air system at their facility. This figure will increase as electric rates are projected to be raised from their current average of 7.7 cents /kWh. The set of projects identified in the compressed air system assessment could reduce these energy costs by $139,300 per year (52%).
Dewpoint is defined as the temperature to which a gas (e.g. air) must be cooled, at constant pressure, for water vapor to begin to condense to liquid water. In other words, when the dewpoint temperature has been reached, the gas is fully saturated with water vapor.
This West Coast pharmaceutical facility has a very clean and organized compressed air system. All equipments is in good working order in the compressor room. The compressor room itself is very clean and well ventilated. The management requested a compressed air system audit for two reasons:
Swiss brush company Ebnat-Kappel uses non contact transfer technology from Bosch Rexroth to automate a problematic section of its packaging production process.
Roxane Laboratories, Inc., a subsidiary of Boehringer Ingelheim Corporation located in Columbus, Ohio, created a world-class air system that generated $61,314 per year in electrical energy cost savings (1,156,868 kWh), improved productivity and quality, and allowed the successful completion of a significant plant expansion.
Compressed Air Best Practices interviewed Paul Lukitsch. Mr. Lukitsch is the Regional Facilities & Energy Manager for Millipore Corporation.
Industry standards serve a very important purpose for the end users of compressed air equipment. If the standards are well written, they can help to promote the equipment that they govern, as long as the equipment manufacturers properly apply and promote the standards.