One of the key issues that most people working within the food and beverage (F&B) manufacturing sector is that air compressors will use an average of 10 to 15 per cent of a facility’s energy. That’s a significant figure.
In an interview with Food & Beverage magazine, CAPS Product Manager for Compressed Air Products, Paolo Lazzari, explained that energy usage and waste could be minimalised with the correct air compressors in place.
"In large manufacturing operations, two-stage rotary screw air compressors can reduce waste and increase plant efficiency. There are substantial savings to be had when utilising a two-stage compressor compared with a single-stage compressor in these circumstances,” Paolo said.
The fundamental difference between a single and two-stage air compressor is the number of times the air gets compressed. In a single-stage, the air is compressed one time; in a two-stage, it is compressed twice for double the pressure. In larger installations, dual compression is better, but for smaller operations, these compressors may not be as suitable as the same savings are not translatable.
According to Paolo, the benefits will not be noticeable in compressor installations of below 90kW and with an operation of one shift. Whereas in facilities that operate with two or more shifts and where the operating costs are quite high, the savings that can be gleaned from a dual-stage compressor are impressive.
"Two-stage compressors operating at slow speed – along with splitting the pressure ratio into two stages – significantly reduces the bearing load and extends the compressor life,” Paolo said. “Furthermore, compressing air in two stages instead of one provides an energy saving of between 10 to 12 per cent.”
As those working in the manufacturing sector will be aware, compressed air is used in various applications and plays an invaluable role in any operation. It can be used in packaging, product transportation and storage, filling, capping, cooling, spraying and cleaning and even fermentation and aeration.
In a large F&B manufacturing context – where air comes into contact with a food product – an oil-free two-stage air compressor is recommended, if not required. As F&B manufacturing processes must abide by high air quality standards, installing the correct compressors is essential. Particularly as operators must meet the air quality standard that is specified in ISO 8573-1:2010 Class O.
Paolo says a two-stage, oil-free rotary screw air compressor will probably work best in larger F&B manufacturing or processing plants where durability and efficiency are core requirements of an operation. One of the compressors that CAPS has in its portfolio is the oil-free compressed air technology, Ingersoll Rand Nirvana.
However, when it comes to choosing the most suitable air compressor type for an operation, Paolo says it’s important for customers to meet with a CAPS consultant before making a purchase. This will ensure they are getting the right compressor for their needs. Additionally, CAPS can provide unbiased audit services to clients, which assess the existing air compression flow and pressure in their operation.
"At CAPS we don’t just offer compressors, but turnkey solutions. Our sales consultants have the know-how to identify what is the best compressor for a particular application. This ensures that our customer needs are properly met,” Paolo said.