We spend a whole lot of time visiting producers and speaking to them about their industrial compressed air methods. Over time, we’ve come to appreciate that there are a whole lot of misconceptions about compressed air. For those who consider any of the compressed air myths beneath, you may be dropping much more cash than you notice. 

Delusion #1: Compressed air is free! 

Properly, you may not suppose compressed air is free, precisely, however it’s possible you’ll not notice precisely how a lot it prices. Compressed air is the “fourth utility” for producers, proper up there with electrical energy, fuel and water. And for many producers, it’s by far the most costly. It takes about 8 HP of electrical energy to make 1 HP of compressed air. In reality, vitality use makes up about 80% of the overall lifetime prices on your compressed air system. 

Meaning losing air is a a lot greater deal than leaving a couple of further lights on. However as a result of compressed air is made on-site and feels limitless, employees usually deal with it as a free useful resource, just like the air we breathe. In a mean store, about 30% of compressed air is wasted, both via leaks or via careless use (like utilizing air to wash the ground as a substitute of selecting up a brush). Tightening up compressed air use and getting a deal with on hidden leaks can add as much as massive vitality financial savings. 

Delusion #2: Greater is best. 

We see this All. The. Time. Many producers consider it’s a good suggestion to oversize their air compressor. They could be nervous about their means to satisfy peak demand, or they could be anticipating expanded manufacturing sooner or later. For those who can afford the bigger compressor, it’s best to go for it, proper?

Not essentially. It not often pays off to oversize your compressor. Bear in mind what we mentioned about vitality making up 80% of your whole lifetime prices for an air compressor? Properly, the bigger the compressor, the extra vitality it makes use of. For those who set up a 50 HP compressor whenever you solely want 25 HP, that may add as much as hundreds of {dollars} of wasted vitality yearly. In case your demand is very variable, a Variable Speed Drive (VSD) motor can scale back vitality prices by ramping down the motor velocity when demand is low. However even with VSD, it normally doesn’t make sense to buy a compressor outsized on your peak demand. It might be cheaper so as to add a small auxiliary backup compressor for rare high-demand shifts, or get a bigger air receiver tank to deal with brief high-demand occasions. 

Delusion #3: I would like extra PSI. 

The corollary to the “greater is best” fable is “extra PSI is best.” However that is one other false impression that may find yourself costing loads. In case your instruments and gear solely require a minimal of 90 PSI to function, operating your plant at 120 PSI doesn’t supply any extra profit. It simply wastes some huge cash. Lowering plant strain by 15 or 20 PSI can save the everyday producer 7-10% on their compressed air vitality invoice. 

Plenty of producers are running at a PSI higher than they need. Usually, it’s because they’re experiencing extreme strain drop on the ends of their strains and elevating plant strain to compensate. A significantly better resolution is to find and fix pressure drop problems, which can embody blocked filters, corrosion in compressed air pipes, a poorly designed distribution system, or extreme leaks in pipes and connectors. With these fixes, it’s best to have the ability to scale back strain drop throughout your distribution system to not more than ~3-5 PSI.

Delusion #4: Pipe measurement doesn’t matter. 

Pipe size for your compressed air distribution system could make an enormous distinction in total efficiency and vitality effectivity. When compressed air pipes are too small, friction from the pipe partitions slows the air down and causes strain drop. The farther the air has to journey, the extra strain drop you will note. However, pipes which can be too massive received’t impression efficiency however will price extra to put in. 

 We regularly see distribution methods with piping the identical diameter because the pipe coming off the compressor discharge, which can be anyplace from ¾” – 2” diameter relying on the HP of the air compressor. That’s tremendous on the level of discharge, however whenever you create lengthy runs, you want bigger pipes to cut back friction and preserve air velocity within the pipe. Typically, the longer your run, and the higher your CFM, the bigger the pipes you will have. Compressed air system designers use charts and formulation to find out the right piping diameter based mostly on run size, max CFM and minimal PSI. 

Delusion #5: I can put my industrial air compressor anyplace. 

We get it; your air compressor isn’t as thrilling as that shiny new CNC machine in the course of your manufacturing ground. However that doesn’t imply you possibly can simply shove the poor factor anyplace and ignore it. Truly, your air compressor deserves to be handled because the most essential piece of apparatus in your plant, as a result of nothing else will work with out it. 

Your air compressor and air dryers must be positioned in a clear, well-ventilated space with at the very least 36 inches of house round them. Keep away from dusty, soiled environments, which is able to shortly load consumption filters and make your system work more durable. Be sure that there may be loads of airflow across the compressor and dryers to stop overheating and scale back the load in your air dryers. And preserve the world round your compressor and dryers clear, so they’re straightforward to entry for upkeep. Your service technicians will thanks. 

Delusion #6: You don’t want coaching to run an industrial air compressor. 

Among the finest issues you are able to do to increase the lifetime of your air compressor and scale back working prices is to ensure your individuals are correctly educated. All employees ought to have coaching on compressed air security and acceptable vs. inappropriate use of compressed air (in order that they’re not utilizing air when they need to be reaching for a brush). Anybody who might be touching air compressor controls ought to have particular coaching on operation and upkeep of an industrial air compressor. 

Subjects for air compressor coaching ought to embody plant strain regulation, compressor preventive upkeep, use of couplers and regulators, and the right way to detect and fix leaks within the compressed air system. Many vegetation additionally profit from knowledge logging or compressed air system auditing. Analyzing knowledge offers essential clues about system efficiency, together with leak price, obligation cycles and demand patterns. Whenever you perceive what your air compressor is telling you, you possibly can take steps to optimize the efficiency of your system. 


Is one in all these myths driving up compressed air prices at your facility? Allow us to aid you optimize your compressed air system. Contact us for a system audit. 


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