Five overlooked compressor truths

There are many aspects of compressed air that are overlooked. A large amount is wasted. Small changes can impact your compressed air efficiency and minimize costs.
By Bob Vavra, content manager, Plant Engineering August 10, 2017

Courtesy: Samuel Zeller, UnsplashAt a recent Pressure and Profit seminar sponsored by Kaeser Compressors and held at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago, Kaeser Compressor business development manager Robert Glenn discussed five often overlooked truths around compressed air:

  1. Compressed air is an invisible utility
  2. Compressed air is an energy source you both generate and consume
  3. Energy as a whole is on a par with materials or labor costs
  4. Compressed air is the single largest contributor to your energy costs.
  5. According to the Department of Energy (DOE), 50% of all the compressed air you generate is wasted.

In discussing the value of better examining the actual cost of compressed air, Glenn used the example of a Tier 1 automotive manufacturer using four 1980-era compressors. The compressors needed to be manually switched on and off, producing wild variations in pressure and wasting a lot of energy in the process.

Following an air demand analysis, a variable frequency drive was added to the compressors and a master controller monitored energy use. Just those two changes produced almost $155,000 in savings, reduced maintenance costs by $19,000 and even earned the manufacturer an energy rebate from its utility.

Bob Vavra, content manager, Plant Engineeringbvavra@cfemedia.com.