CMC’s 5 top air wasters to look out for

If you’re reading this, then it’s likely that air (or rather compressed air) is your currency – or, at the very least, it plays an important role in your day-to-day operation.

So, what if your plant’s compressed air system isn’t running as efficiently as it could? What if you’re losing money on producing more air than you need to?

As compressed air control, monitoring and performance experts, we thought we’d share our five top compressed air wasters.

1. Take control of your compressed air assets

Before the birth of IoT, compressed air auditing and air compressor monitoring technology, there was no real insight into what each and every air compressor was doing and how they integrated with each other. As long as the air compressors got the job done, then it didn’t really matter.

These days, a ‘hit and hope’ strategy isn’t enough – especially with the wealth of accessible technology available; technology that can provide forensic levels of data and insights about every aspect of a compressor. Now, through cloud-based monitoring and performance solutions such as AIRMATICSTM, manufacturers can see exactly what their assets are doing and how they’re performing during every second they’re operational. By getting a better handle on performance, not only will you reduce your compressed air energy bill, but you’ll also prolong your assets’ life as a result of only running them optimally at all times and cut your carbon footprint.

2. A bad match

If you’re a property developer, then building a site from a blank canvas is preferable to adding units and retrofitting services once the build is complete. The same principle applies in a manufacturing environment. The ideal scenario is to design your air compressor installation around your current organizational needs. But if you grow (or shrink) as a business and your needs change, or if you need to replace an air compressor, then you may find yourself with an air compressor mismatch that results in the creation of unloaded, non-productive energy.

Monitoring, as covered in the previous point, is fantastic – but only if you’ve got the right air compressors to begin with. A compressed air audit, such as that provided by SCADARTM, can determine whether or not have the right compressed air setup.

3. Compressed air storage is key

As a ballpark figure, for every cubic metre per minute of air produced, a plant requires storage of between 166 and 250 litres per m3/per min of compressed air generated in order to stabilize air pressure. Without sufficient storage, you run the risk of another compressor coming on line unnecessarily and using surplus energy associated with unloaded power.

4. Size isn’t everything – but it helps

When it comes to air treatment equipment, many manufacturers tend to have too small a resource in place. If your dryers and coalescing filters are unable to process the moisture in the newly compressed air, the resulting pressure drops will send your compressors into ‘overcompensate mode’ to fill the void. Based on how an increase in every 0.5 bar equates to an increase in energy input by 3 per cent, you can quickly see the importance of correct air treatment equipment.

5. Air leaks

This one’s pretty straightforward. After all, a leak is a leak. However, in order to be able to fix an air leak in your air compressor, you need to know that you have one in the first place. And this is where AIRMATICSTM (for monitoring) and SCADARTM (auditing) come in. Only by understanding where the leak is occurring can you do anything about it. And let’s face it, nobody wants to throw money away, which is what you’re doing by paying to create air that’s simply escaping into your plant.