Reducing Your Production? Reduce Your Compressed Energy Costs Too
April 22, 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic brought a number of issues to many industries across the country last year and it continues to do so throughout 2021. If your production levels have taken a hit and you are looking for ways to reduce your energy usage, your air compressor might be the answer.
Compressed air systems account for a large amount of energy consumption, so running costs can stay quite high even if production has reduced.
How Can You Reduce Compressed Energy Costs?
1. Install the Correct Type of Air Compressor
First off, you should make sure that you have the correct type of compressor installed that meets your production needs. If your production process requires different levels of demand in different periods, then you should ensure that you are using a Variable Speed Drive (VSD) unit instead of a Fixed Speed Compressor.
Fixed Speed Compressors will run offload which will ultimately waste energy. VSD Compressors can save up to 50% energy as it only produces compressed air as and when required. Assess your current air compressor requirements and your production process to see if this replacement is necessary for your business.
2. Reduce Unloaded Running Time
Speaking of running offload, an alternative to replacing your air compressors would be to implement some changes that will reduce the wasteful unloaded running hours. These changes include:
- Compressor Controllers: If there is no central controller for your air compressors, then the compressor pressure bands should have been set up in a cascade method. Also, the on-board controllers will stop the machines if they are not needed when the compressed air target pressure is achieved.
- Switch Compressors Off: Rather than letting your compressors run unloaded, it may be a better idea to turn them off whilst they’re not being used. Therefore, if production time is short, you will be able to avoid any energy wastage.
3. Lower the System Pressure
A general tip for most compressors is to reduce their system pressure by 1 bar (14.5 psi). By adjusting the compressor’s pressure until the lowest pressure can be reached and the pressure band reduced without affecting the application, it will result in a 7% saving in energy consumption. As well as this, it will decrease any impact of air leaks in the system by 13%.
4. Check & Eliminate Air Leaks
One of the biggest sources of wasted energy in air compressors are air leaks; up to 20% of total compressed air consumption may be lost through leaks. It is definitely worth your time to assess your compressed air systems and detect any leaks. If any are found, fix and eliminate them immediately in order to save energy costs right away.
5. Always Perform Regular Maintenance
By scheduling in regular maintenance and ensuring your air compressor is consistently looked after, then you will sustain the efficiency of the equipment. More efficiency means more energy efficiency and by not servicing your compressed air system, you will see opposite results such as more downtime, increased energy consumption and potentially a breakdown.
6. Use Heat Recovery to Reduce Energy Costs
Waste heat is produced by air compressors and instead of releasing this into the atmosphere, use it for other applications to save your energy consumption. Recovering heat from compressed air means you can save money on heating, decrease operating costs, reduce CO2 emissions and therefore your carbon footprint. Typical heat recoveries are between 70-94%!
Expert Air Compressor Servicing & Advice
At Air Power East, we offer air compressor servicing which could help you draw up a maintenance plan for your air compressor and keep it running energy efficiently.
If you have any question about reducing your compressed energy costs, please contact us today on 01359 251180 or fill out our contact form here.