Background:

A home appliance manufacturing company based in the UK faced operational challenges across two locations, operating a total of 10 compressors, including four variable speed drive (VSD) compressors. The existing system controllers were incompatible with the VSD compressors, treating them as conventional load/unload compressors. This approach led to inefficient operation, ramping compressors from zero to 100% capacity and back down to zero, potentially causing unnecessary wear and tear.

Additionally, the company lacked visibility into plant room operations and did not monitor downstream air treatment equipment. This posed the risk of system contamination from potential dryer failures, which could introduce moisture into the system and cause significant production issues and losses.

Challenges:

The company faced critical challenges in effectively managing and monitoring its compressor systems across multiple sites. The incompatibility between existing system controllers and VSD compressors resulted in suboptimal performance and potential damage to the equipment. The absence of real-time monitoring also increased the risk of compromised air quality, jeopardising production processes.

Solution:

The company implemented several key enhancements to address these issues:

  1. Installation of an Airmatics System Controller:
    • A single Airmatics System Controller was installed to manage all 10 compressors across both locations.
    • The controller’s pressure balance feature optimised the operation of different-sized fixed speed compressors in conjunction with VSD compressors.
    • This streamlined approach ensured seamless compatibility and efficient performance across all compressors.
  2. Remote Visualisation:
    • Remote visualisation was installed, providing continuous monitoring of both live and archived system activity.
    • This gives real-time insights into plant room operations, enabling the prompt identification and resolution of any issues.
  3. Enhanced Monitoring of Air Treatment Equipment:
    • Dryer alarms, air treatment differential pressure monitoring, and system dewpoint monitoring were installed in both plant rooms.
    • These monitoring systems were integrated into both remote and local visualisation platforms.
    • Alarm levels were set to provide early warnings, facilitating proactive maintenance and response to potential production issues.

Results:

The adoption of the Airmatics System Controller and advanced monitoring measures have delivered substantial improvements including improved visibility of what is happening in the plant room 24/7 and optimised operations. More importantly, it has delivered increased efficiency:

This has resulted in energy savings of 800000 kWh / £120,000 per year.