Industrial Utility Efficiency    

EnergAir Manages Multiple Air Compressors at Whirlpool

EnergAir’s unrivalled expertise in compressed air management is helping to save in excess of $50,000 per year at Whirlpool Corporation’s Ottawa, Ohio production facility. Whirlpool is the largest global manufacturer of home appliances and employs almost 70,000 people in more than 60 production and technology centres around the world. The Whirlpool plant in Ottawa manufactures a market-leading range of trash compactors, chest freezers, upright freezers and refrigerators.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whirlpool Small

 

 

Whirlpool Corporation’s Ottawa, Ohio production facility.

 

The Compressed Air Audit at Whirlpool

When the company suspected that efficiencies were not being optimised at Ottawa, EnergAir was called in to identify where energy was being lost within the compressed air system and to recommend how these losses could be eliminated.

Compressed air systems are a major source of wasted electricity in manufacturing facilities and this is often overlooked for very long periods of time. EnergAir and their partners are vastly experienced in compressed air technology and have eveloped a unique ability to quickly highlight inefficiencies before implementing highly cost-effective solutions.

EnergAir worked closely with plant personnel to audit the Ottawa plant’s compressed air system in the Summer of 2012. EnergAir’s Nicolas De Deken explained, “the audit revealed that multiple compressors were loading and unloading simultaneously and many stayed on running unloaded during periods of low air demand. We also found that the difficulties in synchronizing compressors were resulting in pressure varying from 110 – 123 PSI which can again be highly wasteful.”


Green Leaf


The consultants from EnergAir began by talking to Whirlpool’s management team and engineers in order to establish a  clear understanding of the company’s objectives.  The following compressed air installations were then comprehensively reviewed:

Compressor 1 - a Quincy Power$ync QSI-1250 Model QSI1250ANA41EC – 250 HP.

Compressor 2 - a Gardner Denver Model EBQQOC – 150 HP.

Compressor 3 - a Gardner Denver Model EAQ99K – 150 HP.

Compressor 4 - a Gardner Denver Model EB 100 MA – 100 HP.

 

Whirlpool Freezers

Whirlpool Refrigerators

The Whirlpool plant in Ottawa manufactures a market-leading range of trash compactors, chest freezers, upright freezers and refrigerators.
 

The Key Audit Findings and Recommendations

All of the air system’s core components were carefully examined including compressor rooms, compressors and associated pipework. Energy consumption was recorded at each point throughout the system and the findings were presented to Whirlpool along with EnergAir’s suggested improvements.

The key audit findings included:

  • The compressors were being inefficiently controlled with air production not being aligned with demand throughout the plant.
  • Because pressure was not being balanced and consistently maintained, it was varying from 110 – 123 PSI.
  • The Power$ync wasn’t trimming with its lift valves to maintain a target pressure.
  • Multiple compressors were running between shifts, at weekends and at other times when air demand was relatively low.

 

Whirlpool Gardner Denver

Measurements of compressed air pressure, flow and energy consumption were taken at the four separate air compressor installations.

 

Whirlpool Measurement

Before the improvements, multiple air compressors were running between shifts, at weekends and at other times when air demand was relatively low.

 

The New EnergAir Metacentre SX Management System

 

 

 

 

  
Whirlpool MetacentreMetacentre TX, EnergAir’s dedicated host server provides remote access to Metacentre visualization screens allowing the performance of the compressed air system to be monitored and reviewed by employees at their desks.
 

 

 

 

EnergAir configured a solution around the proven Metacentre SX management system. This was installed to allow all four compressor installations to be intelligently controlled so that output could be matched with demand to reduce unloading. Metacentre TX, EnergAir’s dedicated host server, was also specified and provides remote access to Metacentre visualisation screens. This allows the performance of the compressed air system to be monitored and reviewed by employees working across the plant.

As such, there is now real time visibility of key performance indicators such as line pressure, flow and compressor status together with unrivalled controllability over the distribution of compressed air. Corrective actions can therefore be quickly taken to minimise operational costs at any given time.

In addition, Metacentre SX is now operating the lift valves on the Quincy Power$ync QSI-1250 compressor on a PID loop. This is helping to consistently maintain target pressure at around 112.5 PSI.

Compressed air output is now also strategically balanced with demand. The Gardner Denver 150 HP and/or 100 HP compressors are running fully loaded in conjunction with the Quincy Power$ync compressor and no unloading takes place.

Glenn Kaufman, Senior Engineer at Whirlpool concluded, “we are delighted with our decision to employ the skills of EnergAir and with the exceptional results that have been achieved. The powder paint, plastic vacuum forming and nitrogen generation sections are the main users of compressed air at our Ottawa plant and we began noticing savings within a week of the improvements being implemented. During quieter periods, we now only operate one compressor rather than the two or three that were previously used. The savings in energy and carbon dioxide also support Whirlpool’s long-term objective to operate in the most efficient and environmentally responsible manner.”


Compressed Air System Improvements at Whirlpool

  • Overall compressed air system efficiency has improved by 3.68 kW/100 cfm for a total annual savings of 589,121 kWh.
  • Annual energy savings exceeded $50,000 with a 6 month simple ROI.
  • CO2 emissions have been cut by more than 919,000 lbs., helping to reduce the factory’s carbon footprint.

 

For more information contact Nicolas De Deken, Chief Operating Officer, EnergAir USA  tel: 855-289-9317 or visit www.energair.com.

To read similar articles on Air Compressor Control Technology visit www.airbestpractices.com/technology/compressor-controls.