Industrial Utility Efficiency    


A food processor was having compressed air problems, so they invited a compressed air auditor into their plant for an assessment and to help them size future permanent air compressors. The plant was experiencing low air pressure and detecting water in the compressed air lines despite having a desiccant air dryer. The auditor thoroughly analyzed the compressed air system production equipment and did end-use assessment and leakage detection. This article discusses the findings leading to a potential cost savings of 52% of the current level.
A compressed air system assessment saved this building materials manufacturer over $518,000 per year in energy costs, with a simple ROI of 11 months. 
The Compressed Air Challenge® (CAC) is a voluntary collaboration of industrial users; manufacturers, distributors and their associations; consultants; state research and development agencies; energy efficiency organizations; and utilities. This group has one purpose in mind - helping you enjoy the benefits of improved performance of your compressed air system. The mission of the Compressed Air Challenge (CAC) is to provide resources that educate industrial users about optimizing their compressed air systems.
This article will focus on a compressed air system assessment done at a printing facility in Canada. The energy costs at the time, in Manitoba, were $0.025 per kWh and the installation was of just 65 horsepower of air compressors.
The facility is a plastics injection blowmolder and is a division of a large corporation. The following information was produced from a compressed air system assessment done over seven days.
A recent comparative vacuum technology study performed by Dr. Kingman Yee, as part of a Chrysler Summer Intern Professors Program, found that air consumption could be reduced by 98% when equipping a robot’s end-of-arm tooling with COAXÆ technology and a Vacustat™ check valve.
This stamping plant is a 2.5 million-square-foot facility with over two thousand employees.  At the time of the assessment, the plant was processing approximately 1,600 tons of steel per day into automotive vehicle components and parts such as body parts.
This facility processes bulk food ingredients into finished packaged food products. The factory belongs to a division of a large corporation and was spending $732,342 annually on energy to operate their compressed air system. This system assessment detailed twelve (12) project areas where yearly energy savings totaling $214,907 could be found with a minimal investment of $68,350. Due to space constraints, this article will detail only the higher impact project areas. The over-all strategy for improving this air system centers on improving specific power performance of the #3 centrifugal air compressor and reducing over-all demand with compressed air savings projects.
Utilities have been cleaning their boilers for many years using either steam or high-pressure air.  In the past, when air was used, due to the size of the boilers and the reasonable quality of fuel used, a relatively small amount of cleaning was required.
Relatively few people realize that for a variety of industrial manufacturing applications, from air knife drying to simple blow-off nozzles, the use of high pressure compressed air that bleeds into the atmosphere represents a significant waste of energy.  
Almost every industry in America today is experiencing higher costs – energy, raw materials, labor, health care, shipping – you name it.  Energy prices have been rising and many experts forecast that these increases will continue.  Energy costs sometimes are overlooked when developing productivity and cost reduction plans.