On the road to compressed air energy efficiency
Part 3: Maintaining compressed air energy efficiency into the future
In the final part of our ‘on the road to compressed air energy efficiency’ blog post series, we look at how compressed air energy efficiency can be achieved in the long term.
Selecting the right compressed air equipment to meet your compressed air demand requirements is really only half of the story if you are looking to operate an energy efficient compressed air system into the future. Anyone interested in long term compressed air system efficiency should also consider the following points;
Follow the OEM’s maintenance schedule
It is important to follow the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) maintenance schedule in order to ensure your compressed air system operates reliably at all times.
Why is this important when it comes to energy efficiency? When the compressed air system is operating reliably, it will also be operating efficiently. The result, energy costs stay as low as possible.
The manufacturer’s maintenance schedule will include a number of checks that need performing and consumables that need changing over the lifetime of your compressed air equipment. An example would be the periodic replacement of separator cartridges. To ensure the efficient separation of oil from the compressed air outlet, it is important to periodically replace the separator cartridge in your oil lubricated compressor. An inefficient separator will increase your all up energy costs.
Following the OEM’s prescribed maintenance schedule is therefore one factor which will be crucial to the ongoing efficiency of your compressed air equipment.
Opt for genuine spare parts
When consumables need to be replaced, there are a number of reasons why you should always opt for the OEM’s genuine spare parts – not least the resulting energy efficiency.
Only genuine spare parts have been rigorously tested by the OEM for their; durability, performance, efficiency and safety with the compressed air equipment. Inferior parts may well lead to inferior compressor efficiency.
Take for example filtration; when air or fluid passes through any filter it will lose pressure. Running a compressor at a higher pressure to overcome such losses will lead to higher power consumption and higher running costs. Keeping that pressure loss to a minimum is therefore key to saving energy. Genuine OEM filters have been designed for a specific application. That means they are fit for purpose and will have a low pressure loss. However, you will not know what the filters pressure loss is with a non-genuine filter, and in running/energy costs that could end up being a very pricey unknown. It is worth bearing in mind that 1 bar lower differential pressure will save 10% in energy at the compressor.
The decision of choosing genuine or spurious spare parts will also impact the compressors internal oil temperature. A high oil temperature will increase the compressors running costs, and therefore energy costs. In fact, just a 10 Kelvin temperature rise will deteriorate the specific output by approximately 2%. However, opting for genuine spare parts – that have been specifically designed for the specific application – will contribute to keeping the compressors internal oil temperature low and stable, thereby keeping the operating and energy costs down. In addition, ensuring that the components inside the compressor which keep it running cool are serviced and maintained correctly, will also ensure low running costs and system reliability.
Overall, when it comes to consumables it is worth remembering that only the OEM’s genuine spare parts have been;
– designed to meet the demands of the applicable operating conditions,
– quality tested to ensure the best possible performance,
– designed to assure the life cycle commensurate with the maintenance intervals.
Choose a qualified Service Technician
Following the OEM’s recommended maintenance schedule and opting for genuine spare parts will certainly assist you in achieving compressed air energy efficiency in the long term. However one final area that should not be overlooked is the quality, credentials and experience of the Service Technician you choose to perform this service and maintenance work.
It is advisable to select current OEM qualified Service Technicians. They will have the necessary skills and access to up-to-date training to provide the very best expert service. This in turn will significantly enhance the long-term reliability and efficiency of the compressed air systems.
Seek expert advice
Finally, any changes to compressed air consumption will also impact the all up energy efficiency of your compressed air system in the long run, and as your business may change over the years – such as changes to production levels – so will your demand for compressed air. Seeking expert advice at these times will ensure that your compressed air system can evolve with you, ensuring you stay on track in operating an energy efficient compressed air system well into the future.