Industrial Utility Efficiency    

System Assessment

One of the most satisfying parts of being a compressed air system auditor is resolving compressed air system reliability issues. This article exposes a seldom, if ever, mentioned problem that can occur when air dryers are dedicated to air compressors. It examines a real-world application and discusses the action taken to remedy the situation.

Compressor Controls

In the absence of the control system, the air compressors were loading and unloading according to pre-set pressure bands, which forced the system to operate at higher pressures and run inefficient combinations of compressors in order to effectively match air demand. When switched on, irrespective of air demand, the control system was able to control all compressors on a single, tight pressure band and efficiently match output with demand.

Piping Storage

This article will focus on the suitability of plastic pipe systems as well as joining methodology in compressed air applications. 

End Uses

There are a tremendous variety of unique and creative ways people in the food industry have overcome their need for compressed air blowoffs used for cleaning, drying, cooling, conveying and overall processing. You may have seen some of them yourself. It is not uncommon to view open copper tubes, pipes with a crushed end, plugs or caps with holes drilled into them, modular flex coolant lines or nozzles designed for liquid application but blowing air.

Pressure

Most industrial systems like compressed air have essentially random demand if you look at the long-term life cycle of the system. Hundreds, even thousands of independent small and large subsystems require constant or varying flow. These demands are typically not timed or synchronized with each other, so they aggregate to a fairly random flow profile, within a range. That range changes significantly when production processes change. Certainly a 2-week audit might show some patterns that appear predictable for demand A (“production”) and demand B (“non-production”) or day type, but they change over time as the plant adapts to new production systems and removes old ones. If demand was that profile forever, a lesser experienced auditor might be tempted to size one set of compressors that work perfectly for that profile but not for alternates.

Air Treatment/N2

Regular testing of pure gases helps to ensure the safety of consumers and of end products. Whether the pure gas is used directly for medical patients, or in the manufacturing of food, beverages, or pharmaceutical products, quality is of the highest importance. Inadequate levels of purity or unsafe contamination can be detrimental to the products or consumers.

Leaks

Awareness and interest in leak detection only continues to grow thanks to a number of factors. What we have seen over the last 20 years is a more sustainable way of thinking, established international energy efficiency standards, reliable leak detection technology, and best practices to implement leak detection.

Pneumatics

In manufacturing and packaging facilities that rely on pneumatics, there’s a four-letter word worse than virtually any other: leak. Unidentified air leakage and unexpected maintenance in pneumatic systems are significant sources of revenue and productivity loss but identifying the cause of leakages and preventing unforeseen downtime is typically a challenge.

Vacuum Blowers

Every municipality and utility is facing the reality of rising energy costs. In 2010, the Town of Billerica, MA, which is located 22 miles northwest of Boston with a population of just under 40,000 residents, engaged Process Energy Services and Woodard & Curran to conduct an energy evaluation of the Town’s Wastewater Treatment Facility (WWTF) and pump station systems sponsored by National Grid. The objective of the evaluation was to provide an overview of each facility system to determine how electrical energy and natural gas were being used at the facility and to identify and develop potential costsaving projects.
Boeing Canada has replaced their onsite membrane style Nitrogen generator with a new more modern system with increased capacity and higher efficiency.  As a result, the company is now using minimal amounts of expensive liquid Nitrogen, and has reduced the energy cost per unit of gas produced by 83%.
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.
With all of the different LEED credits and associated M&V requirements and tax incentive opportunities for businesses to reduce energy consumption, we have seen an increasing demand for metering. Companies are looking for more ways to estimate cost savings and prove that their energy saving investments are working.
This steel processing facility has been operating for over one hundred years.  This facility is part of a large corporation with numerous plants around the world.  This audit focused on the compressed air system on one side of the Works which we will call the “North Plant”.
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.