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Identifying inefficiencies in your air compression system

| written by twg

Talk to any manufacturer in 2017 and most of them will always bring up being more efficient in their processes as being a vital ingredient of staying ahead of the proverbial curve. After all – doing more things better and faster is the goal of anyone who’s trying to super charge their bottom line.

That being said, every business has its expenses – and often utilities are hard costs that almost never move in any significant direction. What many folks don’t always consider is that there is a ‘fourth utility’ – air compression – that can be the bane of many manufacturing facilities’ ability to turn profits.

No matter what industry you’re in – not matter what types of parts you’re manufacturing… air compression systems are a vital component of day to day business. From power pneumatic tools to driving conveyors – these systems are often responsible for many critical solutions that a given manufacturer depends on.

In spite of that – these systems account for almost half a facility’s energy expenses. According to the US Department of Energy, improving energy efficiency among air compression systems can save companies as much as 50% of their total electricity consumption. Those savings could result in hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of savings.

We don’t often pass folks around to other sources of information, but in his blog post at pneumatictips.com, Paul Heney discusses the 7 biggest mistakes that engineers make in designing compressed air systems. Avoiding these mistakes can – in some cases – mean the difference between a struggling company and one that’s thriving.

A brief overview of some of the issues he finds, include:

  • Line sizes that are too small for the necessary air flow
  • Not utilizing the compressor to its full capacity
  • Mismanaging air demand during peak periods
  • Not using recovery systems
  • Not enough storage
  • Not taking measures to isolate pressure fluctuations from pressure and flow sensitive need areas
  • Poor routing

Haney goes into detail more in the full post – which can be viewed here – but it’s certainly worth reading when you consider that a more efficient design can legitimately save your company millions of dollars over the lifetime of the system itself. We highly recommend it as required reading.