Industrial Utility Efficiency    

Compressor Controls

UniFirst is one of North America’s largest workwear and textile service companies. They outfit nearly two million workers in clean uniforms and protective clothing each workday. Founded in an eight-stall garage in 1936, the Company has grown to 240 customer servicing locations throughout the U.S. and Canada servicing 300,000 business customer locations. The subject of this article is an energy-saving Air Demand Analysis (ADA), conducted by Kaeser Compressors, at UniFirst’s centralized 320,000 square foot hub Distribution Center located in Owensboro, Kentucky.
Since the cost of energy has dramatically increased during the past few years, it seems that energy audit companies have opened shop on more city street corners than coffee shops in Seattle.  In addition to the mass numbers and abundant varieties of these energy savings promoters, there have been an equal number of energy audit articles written for the engineering magazines.  
Large hospitals often use compressed air for important operational related end uses. The systems that produce this air need to supply clean and dry compressed air with a high level of reliability. These systems are not immune to efficiency problems as is the case for any compressed air system.
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.
This aluminum mill spends $369,000 annually in energy costs to operate their compressed air system. This system assessment recommends actions reducing annual energy costs by $120,000 and improving productivity and quality by delivering clean, dry compressed air.
Compressed Air Best Practices interviewed Mr. John Malinowski, Senior Product Manager-AC Motors, Baldor Electric Company.
This factory currently spends $735,757 annually on the electricity required to operate the compressed air system at its plant. The group of projects recommended in the system assessment will reduce these energy costs by an estimated $364,211 (49% of current use). Estimated costs for completing the recommended projects total $435,800. This figure represents a simple payback period of 14.4 months.
Compressed Air Best Practices interviewed Richard Feustel, the Corporate Energy Manager of Briggs & Stratton.
Compressed air leaks - every system has them.  Is a leak identification and control program economically rewarding and/or necessary? Upper management sometimes doesn’t recognize the true cost of not repairing air leaks.  Knowing the high cost of compressed air, why wouldn’t every facility with a compressed air piping system implement a continuous leak identification and repair program?
This article presents a case study of Grimmway Farms; a carrot growing and packing firm located in California’s Central Valley that was able to improve its compressed air system efficiency after implementing system automation and making relatively small equipment and piping changes.
Easy-to-implement master control and monitoring systems provide crucial system information including the key performance indicators required to manage air compressors and their associated energy costs.