If you have a look at your compressed air system, you will likely see a number of gauges telling you the pressure in the pipes — but rarely are there any instruments telling you how efficient your system is or how much compressed air is being consumed.
These missing pieces mean you are operating your system blindly, perhaps purposely ignoring some ugly truths that may be lurking in unmeasured data. And without this data, you will be unable to calculate how much your compressed air is costing … and if there is anything you can correct.
Having a “system audit” done will help open your eyes to unseen problems that may be costing you thousands of dollars per year. Measuring pressure, power, flow, dew point, temperatures within your compressor room for a period of time, and having an expert analyze the results, is a big first step. And allowing a system specialist to measure your leakage and identify inappropriate uses is an excellent way to finish the work.
- A food processor found after an audit that two of his compressors were running when only one was required, costing twice as much as he should be paying for compressed air. Leakage flows were about 50% of the compressed air flow.
- A large farm implement producer found that a full 85% of the compressed air produced by his compressors was due to leaks. Also, his compressors were running 24 x 7, but his actual requirement was 16 hours per day for 5 days a week.
- A post office sorting facility found that their lightly loaded air compressors were consuming 5 times the normal power due to a poorly selected operating mode.
- A food processor found that 75% of his compressed air was being consumed by leaks and enclosure cooling of electrical panels. He didn’t believe these claims until he discovered them with his own eyes by looking at his newly installed flow meter. His system was also overheating, causing wet air to contaminate is piping, causing possible product contamination.
What surprises await you if your system is analyzed? These examples show the value of measurement. All of these systems had correctable problems, with the worst one able to save 88% of current costs.
You should have your system assessed and corrected. And you should develop a system of monitoring to ensure your compressed air costs and levels of waste are always known. Quite often, there will be utility rebates to help pay for compressed air assessments and improvement projects. Investigate this possibility and start the ball rolling. Choose an experienced auditor that looks at both the production side and the demand side of the system. You have no time to lose!