Every successful business keeps a close eye on costs, but do you really know what you are spending on your compressed air?
There are a few simple things you can do to make sure that you pay only for the compressed air that you actually use. Try our top tips below and see how much money you could save!
1. Check your pressure settings
As a rule of thumb for most compressors, a set point reduction of 1 bar will lead to a 7% saving in electricity. The pressure settings of the compressor should be adjusted until the lowest pressure can be reached and the pressure band reduced without affecting the application.
For centralised systems utilising multiple compressors, by using a central controller such as an Atlas Copco ES controller, the network can be set to run within a narrow pressure band which ensures that the compressed air network matches your precise needs. A controller from the ES range can also allow you to manually or automatically create two different pressure bands to optimise energy use within different periods, drastically reducing energy costs at low-use times.
2. Run your air compressor with no production to check for leaks
Leakages are the biggest source of energy waste in compressed air systems, with a leakage point as small as 5mm costing an estimated £3,800 in wasted energy over the course of a year. In one recent study, a leakage detection programme instigated across a UK vehicle manufacturing plant identified leaks costing £102,000 a year in lost energy. A similar programme conducted over the course of three days at a confectionery manufacturer, pinpointed £31,000 worth of leaks that were subsequently repaired.
Process leaks are another reason for overspending on energy and these can be corrected by replacing production line equipment, for example, establishing greater control of pressure or shutting down systems when they are not in use.
3. Ensure the correct type of compressor is installed
Most production processes require different levels of demand in different periods, which may mean that the compressor is running off-load or idle (not producing any compressed air) for long periods of time. Great savings can be made if a fixed speed compressor can be replaced by a variable speed drive unit as it only produces compressed air as and when required. This also minimises offload running of the compressor, which is known to waste energy. A VSD compressor saves an average of 35% energy and a VSD+ unit can save as much as 50% compared to a fixed speed unit, even at full load.
Fixed speed compressors have a fixed amount of motor starts an hour, meaning that the compressor runs offload for a set time which limits the number of motor starts to ensure the motor does not overheat. As a VSD unit ramps up and down in a controlled fashion, the maximum number of starts and stops per hour may be increased, and it also avoids peaks in current when starting.
4. Book an audit
Book a compressed air audit to see the energy saving potential within your production process. An analysis of compressed air usage patterns will show where the system could be improved or optimised for greater efficiency, identify opportunities for eliminating leaks and other wasteful practices, artificial demand and inappropriate use.
We can also offer SmartLink; an easy-to-install, efficient and customisable monitoring system which offers your company complete insight into your compressed air production.
5. Make use of your ESOS data to realise energy savings
According to the Carbon Trust, a business can reduce its annual energy costs by 20% through improving energy efficiency and energy management, which makes it all the more important for those companies who completed an ESOS (Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme) audit to take the next step and turn the recommendations into real-life energy savings.
Wearside Pneumatics can help you to understand the compressed air recommendations by carrying out an air audit at your site. Alternatively, check out the government’s guide which aims to help companies make the most of the energy savings opportunities identified by ESOS.
6. Don’t forget the impact of regular maintenance
The best way of taking care of your compressed air availability is by taking the best care of your compressed air equipment. This means investing in regular preventative maintenance, which will sustain the efficiency that you have gained by purchasing a new compressor, or improves the performance of an older unit.
Wearside Pneumatics provides a range of maintenance contracts offering you peace of mind coupled with fantastic value for money. Whether you choose our unique, all-inclusive ComfortAir package or a bespoke, tailored maintenance solution you can rest assured that our expert engineers will keep your systems running.