With the end of the financial year in the not too distant future, it is almost certain that your company’s accounts department will be asking you to look at possible cost savings with all of your plant and equipment.

With 10 to 15 percent of all industrial electricity used generates compressed air, and servicing and energy costs accounting for 80 percent of an industrial compressed air system’s overall lifetime cost, there are many opportunities to make considerable savings.

We spent some time with Dino Alessio, an experienced engineer and CAPS Product Manager for Rotary Screw Compressors to outline several considerations where costs can be reduced.

  1. Make sure your industrial compressor is not oversized, and is proportionate with your needs. A system that is too large will ‘’waste’’ large amounts of compressed air.
  2. Create a culture of preventative maintenance. Service your compressor at the recommended manufacturer intervals. Major breakdowns can be very costly, not only for the repair, but also for lost workplace productivity.
  3. Replacing filters often (as per required system intervals) will reduce error rates in any ‘’products’’ that are affected by air compressors.
  4. Fix existing leaks, a tiny leak in your compressed air line may cost you thousands of dollars each year.
  5. Turn it off. There are 168 hours in a week, but most compressed air systems only run at near or near full capacity between 60 to 100 hours. Depending on your shifts, turning your air compressors off at night and on weekends can save up to 20 percent on air compressor costs.
  6. Are your condensate drains working properly? Condensate drains on timers should be adjusted periodically to ensure they open as intended or aren’t stuck open. Better yet, replace timer drains with zero-loss drains to stop wasting compressed air.
  7. Raising the pressure costs you money. Every time pressure is raised by 2 psig (13.8 kPa), the change will equate to one percent of power drawn by a compressor (so raising pressure from 100 to 110 psig [700 to 770 kPa] increases your power consumption by 5 percent). This would undoubtedly have a major impact on your yearly power costs.
  8. Operate your pneumatic equipment to manufacturer’s specifications. Air tools are designed to operate at maximum efficiency at 90 psig (620 kPag) and if the air pressure in the supply system is less than that, you will find that tool efficiency falls quickly. At 70 psig (482 kPag), the efficiency of an industrial air tool is 37 percent less on average then at 90 psig. So a useful rule of thumb is that air tools lose 20 percent efficiency for every 10 psig (69 kPa) drop in system pressure below 90 psig (620 kPag). Raising system pressure will increase air tool productivity (but also increases the wear rate).
  9. Review piping, many systems aren’t optimised. Shortening the distance compressed air has to travel across a pipe can reduce pressure drops by up to 40 percent.
  10. Cut out inappropriate uses of compressed air, you would be surprised how much it actually costs to clean a work area with compressed air.

For more information, contact one of our experts here.

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