By Ron Marshall
A printing plant is planning to replace its efficient 100-hp VSD compressor, a premium unit that runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Making a straight change out will gain a small amount of estimated savings, about 5%, because the newer compressor models has been improved and are more efficient than the old — but exclusively looking at only the compressor would be a mistake.
A compressed air auditor helped this customer examine their demand side, where the compressed air is used, and discovered 30 compressed air powered mixers, 6 uncontrolled blowing devices, an unnecessary compressed air powered ionizer bar, and about 35 leaks accounting for 70% of the 300 cfm of compressed air demand.
Over the years, the users of compressed air in the plant started moving from electric mixers to ones powered by an air motor due to convenience, thereby wasting large amounts of compressed air. The staff were ignoring misuse because they were never trained on the high cost of the compressed air utility and what to do about it. Finding the inefficiencies in the system and calculating how much they were wasting renewed the maintenance staff’s understanding about the use of compressed air and better ways to run their process.
If only one-third of the inappropriate uses are eliminated, and half the leaks repaired, this plant will be able to realize $10,000 per year in operating cost reduction! And, in addition, qualify for a significant incentive that will pay for half the cost of their new compressor. Good things happen when you examine the demand side of a compressed air system.