Compressed air: Find the leaks, lower the pressure, and measure the results

12/28/2012


The “better practice” would measure compressor power before and after reducing pressure so the reward can be more accurately quantified before impacting a variable that influences operations. Compressor load conditions relative to time would be required to estimate savings.

For centrifugal compressors, engineering data corrected to site conditions and ambient temperatures is essential to estimate any potential savings. Depending on ambient conditions and internal components used in a given compressor, reducing pressure may have no impact on power.

Reducing system pressure can also impact compressed air demand. A common misconception estimates potential savings as a function of peak demand and system pressure. The actual influence on demand is a function of the change in pressure at the point where the gas is expanded. A better estimate will require detailed monitoring and analysis of a given system across all load conditions. Although energy savings can be realized easily by simply reducing compressor and system pressure settings, it is typically executed as an event. Sustaining results can be challenging.

For any production issue associated with compressed air, pressure is the most frequently assumed problem. Most facilities will prioritize measured production results over assumed compressor energy savings. As a result, restoring pressure settings to previous or higher settings is the typical response. 

Measure the results

The “best practice” for compressed air systems requires a transition from executing random immeasurable events to a formal program with performance metrics and a team of individuals accountable for delivering monthly performance goals. When compressed air system performance goals are owned at the appropriate level within an organization, any negative variance is corrected. By focusing on delivering and sustaining reported results, compressed air system efficiency would be practiced regularly. With the appropriate level of visibility and accountability, an increase in leaks would be quantifiable, resulting in specific expectations with measurable results executed as a maintenance practice, not an isolated task. 

Mark Krisa is director of Ingersoll Rand’s Global Service Solutions.


<< First < Previous 1 2 3 Next > Last >>

ROBERTO , TX, Brazil, 01/11/13 04:55 PM:

A no load test , made in a holiday gives you also a good measure of your invisible losses
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
World-class manufacturing: A recipe for success: Finding the right mix for a salad dressing line; 2015 Salary Survey: Manufacturing slump dims enthusiasm
2015 Top Plant: Phoenix Contact, Middletown, Pa.; 2015 Best Practices: Automation, Electrical Safety, Electrical Systems, Pneumatics, Material Handling, Mechanical Systems
A cool solution: Collaboration, chemistry leads to foundry coat product development; See the 2015 Product of the Year Finalists
Digital oilfields: Integrated HMI/SCADA systems enable smarter data acquisition; Real-world impact of simulation; Electric actuator technology prospers in production fields
Special report: U.S. natural gas; LNG transport technologies evolve to meet market demand; Understanding new methane regulations; Predictive maintenance for gas pipeline compressors
Cyber security cost-efficient for industrial control systems; Extracting full value from operational data; Managing cyber security risks
Getting ready for industrial IoT; Visualizing the (applied) automation continuum; Preventing VFD faults and failures; Using wireless for closed-loop applications
Migrating industrial networks; Tracking HMI advances; Making the right automation changes
Understanding transfer switch operation; Coordinating protective devices; Analyzing NEC 2014 changes; Cooling data centers

Annual Salary Survey

After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.

The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.

Read more: 2014 Salary Survey: Confidence rises amid the challenges

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
This article collection contains several articles on the vital role that compressed air plays in manufacturing plants.