Compressed air is a widely used energy source for many businesses, including manufacturing, agriculture, and medicine. If not properly maintained, machine deterioration may progress more rapidly, which can mean increased costs, loss of productivity, and physical injury. There are various measures you can take to keep your compressors efficient and reduce operating costs.
Use these tips to maximize efficiency of your air compressors:
● Monitor air conditions. The condition of the intake air can influence the machine’s performance. For example, air temperature determines the ease of compression so cool air takes less energy to compress. Dirt and moisture can accumulate inside the compressor, causing wear and tear and reducing the amount of available space. Keep the air clean and dry to reduce dirt and moisture intake that can damage the compressor.
● Change parts over time. Refrain from using worn-out parts when they begin affecting efficiency. Maintenance only takes up 12% of a compressor’s lifetime cost. Investing in repairs is a cost-efficient move that brings more benefits than costs. Calculate the expected lifespan of your parts and replace them regularly to keep efficiency high. Be vigilant to avoid leaks; leaks represent both a waste of energy and drop in air tool efficiency.
● Retire old compressors. Finding replacements for old, outdated compressors is often more cost-efficient than continuing to use them. Newer models operate more efficiently because of better technology, and finding parts for maintenance is easier. Products at the end of their life cycle also tend to suffer from mechanical issues more often, prompting more repairs and replacements that can impact efficiency.
● Save energy when needed. Many systems run at full capacity for around 60 to 100 hours a week (out of 168). Track the usage of air compressors in the business to calculate your average capacity. Turn off any redundant compressors during off hours when demand is lower to reduce energy costs. Refrain from overtaxing your compressor system in the name of saving money. Keeping the compressors on full burn regularly reduces their overall lifespan, making the necessity for replacements more frequent.
● Straighten the path. Keep the path the air travels as straight as possible. Sharp bends and narrow points in the delivery system can cause pressure drops, which lowers the available pressure at the point of use. Reduce the number of bends or loops in your system to create a more efficient line. This arrangement can produce more pressure for the same amount of energy.
● Use several small compressors. Using one oversized compressor can be less efficient than using several smaller ones. A large compressor uses more energy per unit; smaller units use less energy for a similar amount of work. You can also incorporate sequencing controls for a network of compressors. This allows you to shut down parts of the system by turning off some of the compressors.
● Reuse heat. Air compressors produce a great amount of heat, which can be reused. Up to 90% of this waste heat can be recovered and used for other purposes (e.g. heating the air during winter or heating water to make drinks).