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.

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

Blood plasma is an indispensable resource in the production of life-saving medicines. It is also in high demand on global markets. To make more efficient use of this valuable commodity, Biotest AG developed a new large-scale production plant in Dreieich, Germany, for plasma fractionation capable of obtaining five instead of the previous three products from a single liter of blood plasma. As part of its strategy, Biotest AG worked with Festo to standardize automation components used at the plant, resulting in simplified installation and maintenance.

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.
Compressed Air Best Practices interviewed Doug Barndt (Manager, Demand Side Energy-Sustainability), Joseph Gress (Principal Engineer, Demand Side Energy) from Ball Corporation and Chris Gordon (Compressed Air System Specialist) from Blackhawk Equipment.  
Encouraged by government regulators, the conversion to waterborne paints is now moving into the collision repair and refinishing industry. The conversion to waterborne paints is proving to have implications for the compressed air systems in the shops. This document provides a checklist of compressed air system topics to ensure a successful conversion to waterborne paints.
Nitrogen gas provides a number of diverse uses for a wide variety of manufacturers. As a sister function of compressed air, on-site nitrogen generation can provide additional opportunities for cost savings and other efficiencies for manufacturers who shift from delivered liquid nitrogen service.
This article describes a compressed air retrofit project implemented at Kellogg’s Eggo factory located in San Jose, California. Kellogg’s continues to realize both annual energy savings and quality improvements because of the upgrade. In addition, Kellogg’s received a substantial utility incentive from Pacific Gas and Electric Company, which was based on the achieved energy savings.
Power Smart® efficiency measures for compressed air systems at Tolko’s paper mill and sawmill at The Pas are saving the company more than $125,000 a year.  
Pneumatic air cylinders play a major role in allowing a modern sawmill to produce at the high-speed production rates required. Stable air pressure is critical to allow the air cylinders to respond in a timely manner and avoid any production delays.
Recently, this major pulp & paper mill made compressed air optimization a mill-wide priority. At the request of the utility company providing energy to the mill, Compression Energy Services performed a comprehensive energy analysis that outlined the following four energy efficiency measures (EEM’s) for the mill to consider.
“We are close to becoming a zero-landfill facility. Zero-waste is the goal,” Mike explained. Company literature on the Green Factory initiative, coordinated in North America by Karen Heyob, Associate Chief Engineer for Honda of America Mfg., Inc. , says the initiative is designed to reduce the impact of Honda’s manufacturing operations on the environment. This includes efforts to reduce the energy intensity of production, as well as initiatives to reduce waste generation, air emissions, and water use at all of the company’s manufacturing facilities in North America.
“First there are the old conventions. The majority of compressor houses still employ fixed speed compressors and a cascaded pressure switch control system. This arrangement will be familiar to many, but it is outdated and inefficient, and needs to be changed. There is a comfort factor with familiar technology, which is exacerbated by constant time pressure due to other day-today responsibilities and a lack of information and good advice on what can be achieved.”  
A Tier 1 automotive plant was spending $364,259 annually on electricity to operate their compressed air system. This figure was expected to increase as electric rates were forecasted to rise from their current average of 7.16 cents per kWh. Our firm, Air Power USA, conducted a full supply and demand-side compressed air system assessment. The set of projects recommended by the assessment, would reduce these energy costs by $218,670 or 60%.