Industrial Utility Efficiency    

Pressure

Whenever we start a compressed-air energy survey there are always two key topics plant personnel feel are paramount – leaks and reducing pressure. In this installment of our series on missed demand-side opportunities we’ll address the importance of compressed air system pressure.
The facility is a plastics injection blowmolder and is a division of a large corporation. The following information was produced from a compressed air system assessment done over seven days.
A recent comparative vacuum technology study performed by Dr. Kingman Yee, as part of a Chrysler Summer Intern Professors Program, found that air consumption could be reduced by 98% when equipping a robot’s end-of-arm tooling with COAXÆ technology and a Vacustat™ check valve.
This stamping plant is a 2.5 million-square-foot facility with over two thousand employees.  At the time of the assessment, the plant was processing approximately 1,600 tons of steel per day into automotive vehicle components and parts such as body parts.
This facility processes bulk food ingredients into finished packaged food products. The factory belongs to a division of a large corporation and was spending $732,342 annually on energy to operate their compressed air system. This system assessment detailed twelve (12) project areas where yearly energy savings totaling $214,907 could be found with a minimal investment of $68,350. Due to space constraints, this article will detail only the higher impact project areas. The over-all strategy for improving this air system centers on improving specific power performance of the #3 centrifugal air compressor and reducing over-all demand with compressed air savings projects.
Utilities have been cleaning their boilers for many years using either steam or high-pressure air.  In the past, when air was used, due to the size of the boilers and the reasonable quality of fuel used, a relatively small amount of cleaning was required.
Relatively few people realize that for a variety of industrial manufacturing applications, from air knife drying to simple blow-off nozzles, the use of high pressure compressed air that bleeds into the atmosphere represents a significant waste of energy.  
Almost every industry in America today is experiencing higher costs – energy, raw materials, labor, health care, shipping – you name it.  Energy prices have been rising and many experts forecast that these increases will continue.  Energy costs sometimes are overlooked when developing productivity and cost reduction plans.
Motor Coach Industries, headquartered in Schaumburg, Illinois, is the largest manufacturer of intercity tour coaches for the tour, charter, line-haul, scheduled service, commuter transit and conversion markets in the U.S. and Canada. The company operates a four screw-type air compressor system at its Clarence Avenue plant in Winnipeg. To maintain adequate system pressure at the plant, Motor Coach was forced to run all four compressors 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
New Flyer Industries is a Winnipeg based heavy duty bus manufacturer, supplying vehicles to the US and Canadian markets.  The company specializes in vehicles with†alternative-fuel drives such as electric trolleys, gasoline-electric and diesel-electric hybrid vehicles; as well as standard diesel buses.