Compressed air assessment professionals and service providers know there is no standard pressure for the industrial market. One plant needs 90 psi, the next can’t do without 100 psi, the next needs 110, and some run with levels upwards to 140 to 150 psi.
In the early days, typical industrial air compressors were never rated higher than 100 psi and quite a few system run in the 70 to 90 psi range. This higher and higher pressure trend is costing industrial users money, sometimes for no reason, and cutting into their profits.
Compressed air follows the laws of physics, for every extra psi in compressed air pressure, you must expend extra energy requirement. Where does that energy go? It ends up as heat, which most plants blow outdoors. Many times, this extra energy expenditure is done for no reason, the many compressed air end uses consume much lower pressure than the air compressor is producing.
Pressure loss often occurs in compressed air piping, air dryers, filters, connectors, regulators and hoses. It is not uncommon to see an air compressor running at 120 psi, but the actual pressure at the end use falls under 70 psi at the end use when the device is running.
If your compressed air system is running at pressures of well above 100 psi, you should investigate why — it could save you thousands in wasted power costs.
Some things to consider:
- Find out what end uses are requiring high pressure, often there will be a restriction within the machine itself which can be corrected.
- Measure the pressure loss between the main header and the compressed air powered machine or tool. Often, undersized pneumatic components are greatly reducing the available air pressure.
- Observe pressure gauges — any that are showing large deflections in pressure when machines or tools operate are showing symptoms of a pressure loss problem.
- Check pressure along the main header — many plants that have expanded greatly over the years have undersized main piping causing large pressure gradients,
- Compare the compressor discharge pressure with the pressure coming out of the compressor room — often pressure loss across main filters and air dryers is excessive, often due to maintenance issues, sometimes because the just aren’t sized properly for minimum pressure drop.
Plants that really care about their compressed air costs will be running in the 90 psi range of lower. How low can your compressed air system go?