Industrial Utility Efficiency    

Show Report: 2016 WEEC: Chiller & Compressed Air Control Technology

The 2016 World Energy Engineering Congress (WEEC) was held September 21-23 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington D.C. According to the producer, the Association of Energy Engineers (AEE), the WEEC is the largest energy conference and technology expo held in the U.S. specifically for business, industrial and institutional energy users. Widely known for its recognized energy certification programs, including the Certified Energy Manager CEM® program, the AEE has led the development of the fields of energy engineering and energy management since its’ founding in 1977.

The Association of Energy Engineers (AEE) has a membership base of over 17,500 professionals in 98 countries and has 96 locally-run chapters. Both Chiller & Cooling Best Practices and Compressed Air Best Practices® Magazines were pleased to be in the literature bins and to have a booth at the 2016 WEEC!


SMARTLINK Energy Management and Data Monitoring

When Atlas Copco announced, a few years ago, they would begin shipping a data logger (they call it SMARTLINK) standard with every air compressor – I was quite impressed. This meant every air compressor would have the capability to self-provide the power consumption data one normally only receives from a compressed air audit. What’s more the data would be better as it would represent power data from as long as the air compressor had been installed – not just from an audit period.

Fast forward to the WEEC where I had the chance to speak with Segment & Global Account Manager, Tony Beeckmans, from Atlas Copco, about the SMARTLINK. “We have close to 70,000 SMARTLINK units installed,” Beeckmans said. “We are providing monitoring services for 8,000 units installed with our clients.”  Beeckmans manages many multinational pharmaceutical and food industry global key accounts for Atlas Copco. “SMARTLINK has become a useful tool for the Energy Managers at our key accounts. We are able to provide them energy consumption data and analysis across their plants. This allows them to identify and benchmark “best practice” plants and deploy their ideas to the other facilities when appropriate.”



Tony Beeckmans, Ryan Wilburn, Chris Dominick and Brian Blum (left to right) reviewed the SMARTLINK Data Monitoring at the Atlas Copco booth.


The SMARTLINK Data Monitoring Program is offered in three levels on the air compressors. The first is a Service level providing a service log book and the ability to easily schedule service visits and request spare parts. The second is the Uptime level where clients receive relevant warning or shutdown alarms via email or text – allowing them to respond more quickly and avoid costly downtime. The third is the Energy level reviewed earlier. This provides, in a dashboard format, key performance indicators in graphs. Energy managers can define data points to data trend including energy consumption, flow, pressure and dewpoint.  Reports can be created at any time with data up to one year old. This data actually provides a better supply-side baseline report to analyze than a compressed air audit – as it covers a one-year period. In closing, I was very pleased to hear this data monitoring program has gone well as it represented an investment for Atlas Copco to help factories manage their compressed air systems better.


ENERGY STAR® Industrial Sector Partnerships

The ENERGY STAR for Industry program, run by Elizabeth Dutrow, is an amazing program within the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). They are a very active participant at the WEEC as they work extensively with the same AEE member industrial Energy Managers who are also our subscribers.  Readers of our publications know we are always profiling ENERGY STAR Industrial Energy Management Partner of the Year award winners.  For companies simply wanting to certify their own plant, they have an interesting energy management tool they call the ENERGY STAR Challenge for Industry. There are over 800 sites using it in North America. In order to participate, a site expresses its goal to achieve an energy intensity reduction of 10 percent in five years or less. A plant baseline is developed and registered with ENERGY STAR. They then have to track their progress and report when they achieve the goal.

At the WEEC, many Energy Managers meet with the industry-specific user groups organized by ENERGY STAR. Here they are able to share “best practices”. I know our Editorial Board Member Bill Jerald, from CalPortland Cement is active here as well as fellow Board Member Paul Edwards, from Compressed Air Consultants, who was invited to speak at the cement users group. Ms. Dutrow also chaired a Session at the Conference titled, “Overcoming Barriers for Savings in Industrial Energy Management”. The four speakers were Lawrence Fabina (Manager of Continuous Improvement, Arcelor Mittal), Brett Rasmussen (Senior Energy Engineer, Nissan North America), Bill Jerald (Chief Energy Engineer, CalPortland) and Sharon Nolen (Manager Worldwide Energy Program, Eastman Chemical).



Jeff Kahn (CAM Technologies), Paul Edwards (Compressed Air Consultants), Gerard Zolkowski (Consumers Energy) and Elizabeth Dutrow (EPA ENERGY STAR).


Compressed Air System Optimization

CAM Technologies had a booth where they presented their CAMLink™ compressed air automation systems. There is a Mini system designed for up to four air compressors and an Advanced system designed for up to six air compressors (including centrifugals). The systems monitor changes in the supply pressure to 0.01 psi and respond to the “rate of pressure change.” The company specializes in combining air compressor automation with high-accuracy system pressure control with their CAM Demand Expander™. President Chris Wagner explained, “As the original developers of the Demand Expander, our engineers understand the importance of isolating the plant from the trim compressor supply.” Wagner continued, “When combined with event storage, this valve station provides stable plant pressure, regardless of the conditions of supply. It also provides for the expansion of compressed air from storage to the system with a minimum loss of energy.”



Chris Wagner and Chris Wells (left to right) at the CAM Technologies booth.


The Hitachi Air Technologies group continues to focus on oil-free air compressors, offering both oil-less scroll compressors and oil-free rotary screw compressors. The SRL stand-alone scroll air compressor range is from 2 to 7.5 hp. The SRL oil-free multiplex line offers fully packaged and enclosed units from 10-40 hp. By the  way, did you know Hitachi built it’s first air compressor in 1911? I always find it interesting to think a conglomerate, as large as Hitachi, has air compressors in its’ DNA. Hitachi’s Amy Offord and Shawn Moon told me their move into a larger distribution center, in the Charlotte area, had been completed and it was providing many benefits such as increased testing and packaging capabilities. This is helping them gain approvals for Canadian certifications and work with engineering firm specifications.



Shawn Moon, Amy Offord, Daniel Tisak (Bala Consulting), and Sayaka Eiki at the Hitachi Air Technologies booth.


John Henry Foster, based in St. Louis, is a company whose name keeps popping up when I speak to the Energy Managers at some very large factories in the Midwest. The reason is they are providing compressed air auditing and air compressor service to them. They had a booth, at the WEEC,  where they presented their new AIRx and AIRx Pro air compressor controllers. Their literature states these controllers offer universal integration with any type and brand of air compressor. They also provide detailed monitoring and reports.



Bryan Crane, Ashley Conrad and Ernie Pither (left to right) at the John Henry Foster booth.


VP Instruments had a booth displaying their compressed air flow measurement technology. Menno Verbeek said demand for their VP FlowScope® in-line flow meter continues to grow. It’s interesting to me to see how end user demand, for compressed air flow measurement, is forcing air compressor companies to begin more work with instrumentation. Verbeek commented, “We spend a lot of time educating on how and where to best measure compressed air flow to assure the attainment of reliable and accurate information.” Verbeek was also demonstrating the tool they have to manage the information, VPVision Basic which consists of energy monitoring software and data acquisition hardware. Up to 12 channels can be monitored simultaneously.



Menno Verbeek at the VP Instruments booth.


Speaking of instrumentation, Vaisala’s booth presented their DRYCAP® and HUMICAP® sensor technologies used for dewpoint instruments needed to assure compressed air quality. One excellent “Energy Kaizen” idea is to challenge the notion of a -40 F (-40 C) dewpoint specification for the whole facility. Vaisala offers a hand-held DM70 Meter able to help do a “dewpoint audit” at different points in the factory. They also offer a full range of DMT dewpoint transmitters designed for OEMs building refrigerated and desiccant compressed air dryers.

Compressed Air Best Practices® Magazine hosted a WEEC Conference Session on September 22nd titled “Best Practices in Compressed Air.” An original title, I know. The Session was very well attended. Our focus this year was on the compressed air distribution system. The proper use of compressed air piping, storage, flow control and knowing how/where to measure flow was the focus. I’d like to thank our speakers for making the time and for presenting:

  • Wayne Perry, Senior Technical Director, Kaeser Compressors: “The Proper Application of Pressure/Flow Controls.”
  • Frank Moskowitz, AirScan Specialist, Atlas Copco Compressors: “Compressed Air System Storage.”
  • Menno Verbeek, Sales Manager, VP Instruments: “The Importance of Bi-directional Flow Measurement in Compressed Air Systems.”
  • Kenneth Flannery, Energy Engineer, Bender Energy Group: “Compressed Air Piping Optimization for Low Pressure Drop.”


Chiller Plant System Optimization

tekWorx is company closely aligned with AEE member Energy Managers and whose principal, Mike Flaherty, is often asked to speak at the ENERGY STAR user group meetings. They conduct comprehensive chiller plant system assessments for many industrial companies. They then can offer optimization solutions for both small chillers and large complex chiller plant stations. Their COACH™ system is a scaled-down solution able to provide standalone and integrated control for smaller chiller plants of even two chillers. For larger plants, tekWorx conduct a full system assessment, laying out hydronic and control modifications to maximize efficiency and configure their CEO® algorithms into a customized central controller for the entire chiller plant. I can tell you, tekWorx has the attention of our Energy Manager subscribers. The two Chiller Control Webinars they have done for us have been extremely informative and well attended.



Eddie Rogers at the tekWorx booth.


Smardt claims to be the #1 manufacturer in oil-free centrifugal chillers. They have long seen energy and water optimization, of industrial and commercial chiller systems as the next frontier. CEO and Founder Roger Richmond-Smith was well ahead of his time when he launched Smardt in 1992 and developed the Turbocor Compressor (the first oil-free magnetic bearing refrigeration compressor). Now a division of Danfoss, Richmond-Smith remains directly involved. The Smardt booth featured Smardt S-Class Solar Integrated Chillers rated for 100 to 450 tons. A patent pending design, their product literature claims ROIs of less than 2 years, lower noise levels and a durable 20 year PV warranty. Mounted on rooftops, the idea of integrating solar into large chillers is very interesting to improve chiller efficiencies.



Joseph Bissi and Caleb Jones (Kiltech) at the Smardt booth.


Kiltech offers a Central Plant Energy Control System (CPECS) to control and optimize the performance of multiple chillers. Closely aligned with Smardt and with many team members involved with the development of the Turbocore compressor, the basis of CPECS is an optimization logic created to sequence anywhere from 2 to 8 variable speed refrigeration compressors installed on a single chiller. According to their literature, CPECS utilizes Continual Feedback Loops and Advanced control algorithms to provide real time and predictive data processing that analyzes the historical data, load profiles of the building, climate data and the manufacture's equipment performance models to provide automatic modulation of control levels to all VFD's. CPECS logic provides the maximum level of system performance while respecting chiller, tower, building flow and temperature limits.

Chiller & Cooling Best Practices Magazine hosted a WEEC Conference Session on September 23rd titled “Best Practices in Chiller and Cooling Systems.” An original title, I know. Even though it was held the last morning of the show, it was very well attended! I’d like to thank our speakers for making the time and for presenting:

  • Roger Richmond-Smith, Chairman and CEO, Smardt: “New Levels of Chiller Plant Energy Efficiency attained by Remote Monitoring, Chiller Plant Optimization and Continuous Commissioning.”
  • Adam Medaugh, Director Centrifugal Chiller Products, Daikin Applied: “Refrigerants: Where are we Headed in North America?”
  • Howard Kielar, Engineering and Technical Services Manager, MTA-USA: “Designing Free-Cooling Chillers to Maximize Efficiency.”
  • Davide Peter Ross, Dirctor Audits and Research, Pangolin Associates: “Chiller Savings Using Automatic Tube-Cleaning Systems.”


The 2017 WEEC will be held at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia and will feature President George W. Bush as the Keynote Speaker. For more information on the 2017 WEEC, visit


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