Industrial Utility Efficiency    

Industries

Outsourcing maintenance agreements for compressed air systems is commonplace in the food and beverage industry. The maintenance programs are often performed by air compressor distributors, who are experts in the specifics of the air compressors and compressed air systems they sell and service.

Auto

A Tier 1 automotive supplier was concerned its compressed air system was not operating as efficiently as it could be. The situation called for a site visit and metering and evaluation of the company’s air compressors to generate a representative data sample that accurately captured the compressed air needs during typical production and non-production periods.

Bulk

Reverse pulse type dust collectors often represent a challenge to compressed air energy efficiency, and sometimes throw a wrench into the works by causing huge air pressure fluctuations, high transient flows and just plain large leaks. This article discusses this type of dust collector, often installed in food processing plants, and gives some real-life examples of problematic installations. Some suggested measures are mentioned to ensure your dust collectors keep running in a trouble-free manner.

Food

Electricity and compressed air play an important role in the thermal and kinetic processes for everything from mixing and extruding the ingredients, deep-freezing to -13°F (-25°C), dipping into various chocolate coatings through to final packaging. Energy efficiency is therefore right at the top of Unilever’s list of priorities. As part of the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, this global corporation has succeeded in saving more than $186 million in energy costs from efficiency improvements in production alone since 2008.

Medical

The air is delivered through a distribution piping system that ends with a medical air outlet within the room. Outlet requirements per room are governed by American Institute of America (AIA) Guidelines for Design and Construction of Hospitals and Healthcare Facilities. Equipment is plugged into the medical air outlet to treat the patient. Many studies have been done determining the load required for medical air compressors. The sizing can be calculated using several methods. 

Metals

One topic up for discussion in the metal fabrication industry is the assist gas used for laser cutting. The assist gas is fed into the laser head, and surrounds the laser as it cuts the work piece. The assist gas is intended to facilitate a smoother cut, increase cutting speeds and productivity, and to prevent discoloration, oxidation, scale, burred edges and other defects that can arise from the hot cutting temperatures. Since Nitrogen is an inert gas, it is used as an assist gas on many laser cutting systems to prevent oxygen from coming into contact with the metal while it’s being cut. Nitrogen is supplied to users in traditional cylinders, and with on-site nitrogen generation.

Paper

The facility has a compressed air system consisting of four, 200-horsepower (hp) two-stage water-cooled lubricant-free reciprocating air compressors. The air compressors are controlled individually with local pressure switch controls connected to a common pressure sensing point. These air compressors have been operating since the mid-1960s and are very difficult and expensive to maintain because parts are scarce and service companies with experience servicing this type of air compressor are difficult to find.

Pharmaceutical

This article is intended to show the relationships between risks and specifications, opportunities and responsibility in validation, and in particular, the use of modern and calibrated measurement technology in the sample chain.

Plastics

By making changes primarily focused on compressed air uses, Winpak, an international plastics products manufacturer based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, increased compressed air production capacity and reduced annual energy consumption by 33%. These benefits have been accomplished while the company was making the switch to lubricant-free compressed air to support product quality goals. This article discusses some of these changes and addresses measures that could be implemented in any compressed air system.

Power

A newly constructed ethanol plant experienced control gap issues shortly after comissioning.  This article discusses the cause of the issue and how the problem was solved.

Printing

The Trinity Mirror Group print works on Oldham is one of the UK’s largest newspaper printers. The nine presses in the facility produce around 1million papers every day, including the Independent, the Daily Mirror and a range of local, regional and sports titles. Printing on this scale does not come cheap in energy terms, however. The plant’s annual electricity bill is in the order of £1.5millon. With energy prices on the rise, and a strong desire to improve environmental performance and reduce its carbon footprint, the plant’s management has recently embarked on a project to cut energy use substantially.

Transit

When the New York City Transit Authority (NYCT) set out to comply with local regulations calling for reductions in energy usage, it leveraged new air compressors for use in transit bus maintenance and repair – and took things to another level by recovering air compressor waste heat to provide hot potable water for the bus depot. The air compressor and heat recovery system, installed in spring 2017, is on its way to helping NYCT achieve the best energy savings possible.

Wastewater

The plant upgrades, in combination with a progressive management strategy, allows the plant to consume less energy and reduce its reliance on outside contractors for biosolids removal, resulting in total operational savings of approximately $60,000 per year.  The plant is also positioned to efficiently manage the area’s wastewater for decades to come.
The Trinity Mirror Group print works on Oldham is one of the UK’s largest newspaper printers. The nine presses in the facility produce around 1million papers every day, including the Independent, the Daily Mirror and a range of local, regional and sports titles. Printing on this scale does not come cheap in energy terms, however. The plant’s annual electricity bill is in the order of £1.5millon. With energy prices on the rise, and a strong desire to improve environmental performance and reduce its carbon footprint, the plant’s management has recently embarked on a project to cut energy use substantially.
The purpose of the audit is to improve reliability throughout the facility. Reliability on the demand side can be defined by having adequate air pressure and air quality at all times throughout the facility. This outcome is a function of both the operation of the supply side in the operation of the demand side. If a demand problem occurs, such as a dust collector pulsejet failure, it can reduce the air pressure in a local sector. If a compressor fails, any backup compressor takes too long to start, the pressure would drop in this circumstance too
In the 1970s, the use of filtration in air quality management in pharmaceutical production, hospitals, and medical device manufacturing facilities became increasingly important and increasingly of interest to regulatory agencies. The air quality field was growing. From the air moving into and out of clean rooms to the protection of surgical environments to the expansion of the global medical drug industry, compressed air began to play a larger role—a role that continues undiminished (and, in fact, has increased substantially) today.
This chemical plant spent an estimated $3,153,022 annually on energy (steam and electricity) to operate the compressed air system at their facility. The plant staff established their energy costs as 5.3 cents per kWh and $9.00 /1,000 lbs of steam per hour. The set of projects implemented in this system assessment reduced energy costs by an estimated $2,794,598 or 88% of current use. In addition, these projects reduce demand on the boiler systems and add reliability and back-up to the compressed air system.
Keeping an open mind is critical in all system assessments. Each client has different priorities and circumstances. In this case, the elimination of the “close-scrapes” with insufficient pressure was the priority. The energy and rental/maintenance savings realized were just an added bonus. In this article, we have focused on the supply-side of the system and how the centrifugal compressors could be made to supply the system reliably – without the need for rental air compressors.
The 2012 Edition of the PepsiCo National Fleet/OG&S Sustainability Training Summit and Trade Show took place in San Antonio, March 19-22. Held in the San Antonio Convention Center, over 700 PepsiCo fleet and operations personnel attended. Led by Compressed Air Best Practices® Magazine’s Editorial Board Member, Eric Battino, over 150 people involved with Resource Conservation at PepsiCo also attended.
This food industry factory, located in California, was spending $386,533 annually on energy to operate their compressed air system. This system assessment detailed eleven (11) project areas where yearly energy savings totaling $154,372 could be found with a investment of $289,540. A local utility energy incentive, paying 9 cents/kWh, provided the factory with an incentive award of $159,778. This reduced the investment to $129,762 and provided a simple ROI of ten months on the project.
Spoetzl Brewery is the nation’s fourth largest craft brewer, and although founded 102 years ago, the Shiner TX-based company uses the latest, most efficient technologies - along with its traditional, time-tested beer production protocols - to make its range of popular Shiner beer brands. Among the advanced brewing technologies Spoetzl uses are two Miura ultra-low NOx modular on-demand steam boilers, which provide multiple advantages for the unique needs of the craft-brewing industry
A plastics molding plant had engaged us to conduct an ‘on-site’ Energy Assessment of their facility. The annual ‘spend’ for electricity, natural gas, and water was about $3.2 million for this modern 275,000 square foot, fully air-conditioned facility. During the Review, several opportunities were identified and delineated in lighting, HVAC, process ventilation, the water systems and energy supply contracts. However, the most significant savings were in their compressed air system.
Treating compressed air as a true utility and outsourcing the entire process is a growing trend in the industry. If a plant does not generate their own power, provide their own water or deliver their own natural gas, then why not treat compressed air requirements in the same manner? This article will use a recent project as a case study to show the benefits one factory received by making the decision to outsource compressed air like a utility.