Four ways to manage a compressed air system’s efficiency

There are many factors affecting the bottom line of your facility. A leak or inefficiency in a compressed air system may spell much higher costs. Follow these tips to ensure your compressed air system is running efficiently.
By David Manney, L&S Electric October 26, 2017
Photo by Scott Webb on UnsplashMany different industrial applications use compressed air. Although a necessity at many facilities, compressed air is also one of the more expensive factors associated with your business. An inefficiency or a problem in the compressed air system results in a significant increase in power consumption and end up costing you a lot of money. Those inefficiencies eventually cause unnecessary wear to the compressor, leading to a shorter lifespan.
Tips to save money
If you use compressed air regularly, these four tips can help reduce the amount being spent:
1. Analyze air consumption
Most businesses use compressed air on an ongoing basis without ever actually considering how to use it. Many facilities use only 50% of the compressed air for its intended purpose and are wasting the other half in leaks or misusing the system. There is also a problem with artificial demand, which is associated with an oversized compressed air system and requirements. Often, this issue results in up to 15% of your compressed air costs.
Sometimes, compressed air is used for unnecessary purposes, such as cooling personnel, cabinets, or machinery, as well as open blowing of the compressed air. In many cases, the same objective is better served with an oscillating fan or blower while reducing energy consumption.
2. Reduce the pressure
Many compressed air systems operate at a very high pressure, but they are doing so unnecessarily. In some cases, it may just be a matter of turning down the pressure. In other cases, using a secondary compressor for jobs that require less pressure end up saving money in the long run.
3. Turn the unit off
When the plant shuts down at night, for the weekend, or holidays, is the compressed air system still operating at full capacity? A significant amount of waste occurs when the compressor is running unnecessarily.
4. Check for leaks
Even a very tiny leak consumes a massive amount of compressed air energy. The leaks may not be evident when you inspect the equipment, but ultrasonic leak detectors detect even the smallest leak.
Make ultrasonic detection part of a routine maintenance program. Over time, even the tiniest air leak ends up hurting your bottom line.

David Manney is marketing administrator at L&S Electric. This article originally appeared on Watts New, L&S Electric’s blog. L&S Electric is a CFE Media content partner.