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.
In thermal power stations, nuclear plants, and chemical and industrial plants, different types of bulk materials are used. The materials exist in different forms including lump, powder, granules, chips, and pallets. These bulk materials, in their different forms, require efficient and reliable material handling systems.
Portland cement companies combat heavy dust, reclaim product and enhance quality control using a variety of vacuum cleaning applications.
In many industrial plants there are one or more applications with intermittent demands of relatively high volume. One example is the use of dense phase transport systems to convey the cement. Dense phase systems can cause severe dynamic pressure fluctuations affecting quality of the end product in a plant.
In many manufacturing operations, a very significant compressed air use is pneumatic conveying of many types of materials such as cement, fly ash, starch, sugar, salt, sand, plastic pellets, oats, feeds, etc. Often these are systems that use high-pressure air (100 psig class) reduced to lower pressures (15 psig, 45 psig). This creates an air savings opportunity.
Temperature control of the musts during the fermentation process is required for the production of high quality wines. Alcoholic fermentation is the chemical reaction in which yeast is used to transform the natural sugars of the fruit into alcohol. The heat generated by this exothermic reaction has to be managed. If must temperatures are allowed to reach the 85°F to 105°F range the reaction will be stopped. This results in high sugar content and an unstable product that requires the addition of sulphur dioxide (SO2) to allow it to be stored without spoiling. In general, optimal fermentation temperatures are 65°F - 68°F for white wines and 77°F for red wines.
Recently, The Kroger Company’s Indianapolis bakery identified the use of compressed air in a blow-off and conveyor gap transfer as a major source of energy loss and cost waste. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, “inappropriate use” of compressed air like blow-off produces high pressure atmosphere bleed leading to significant energy loss and unnecessary operational costs. Carrying a 10-15% efficiency return (according to the Department of Energy), compressed air applications can often be achieved more effectively, efficiently and less expensively with alternative solutions using a high flow rate and moderate pressure.
This Midwestern prepared food company now spends $269,463 annually on energy to operate their compressed air system. This figure will increase as electric rates are raised from their current average of 6.2 cents per kWh. The set of projects recommended below will reduce these energy costs by $112,902 or 41%. In addition, these projects will enhance productivity and quality and reduce equipment maintenance costs. Estimated costs for completing the projects total $146,102, which represents a simple payback of 15.6 months.
One major problem that causes severe damage or system failure for any water treatment station is water hammer shock waves. “Water Hammer” or “Hydraulic Shock” is a pressure surge or shockwave resulting when a fluid (usually a liquid but sometimes also a gas) in motion is forced to stop or change direction suddenly (momentum change). The reversed momentum then continues to multiply the further it travels before being stopped.
A new cogeneration system installed at the Budd Inlet Treatment Plant by the LOTT (Lacey, Olympia, Tumwater, and Thurston County) Clean Water Alliance late last year uses treatment by-products as fuel to generate electricity and heat energy. This renewable energy system, combined with an aeration blower retrofit currently underway at the Budd Inlet Treatment Plant, is expected to save LOTT more than $228,000 per year in utility costs.
"The Numbers Don’t Lie". It’s a popular saying everyone has heard before, applied to a variety of situations – political statistics, figures backing up an athlete’s performance and budget data. Thirty percent is a big number. Applied to the above scenarios, it could entail a landslide victory or a hitter gaining entry into the Baseball Hall of Fame. But just imagine, if the manager of a wastewater treatment facility were to trim 30 percent from their operating costs, he or she might also consider that a landslide victory of their own.