In many industrial environments, compressed air is a vital resource that powers a multitude of operations. Despite its importance, compressed air systems are often overlooked when it comes to energy management and cost control. A comprehensive compressed air audit conducted by qualified professionals can uncover inefficiencies, leading to significant cost savings and improved operational efficiency.

Why Conduct a Compressed Air Audit?

Compressed air systems are inherently complex, with both supply and demand aspects that need to be balanced for optimal performance. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, as much as 50% of the energy consumed by a 100hp air compressor can be wasted. A professional audit helps identify these inefficiencies, providing an opportunity for businesses to significantly reduce energy costs and enhance their system’s performance.

Key Benefits of a Compressed Air Audit

  1. Identify Energy Waste: An audit reveals areas where energy is wasted, such as leaks, over-pressurisation, and inefficient equipment usage.
  2. Improve System Efficiency: By optimising both supply and demand sides, the audit ensures the system operates at peak efficiency, reducing unnecessary energy consumption.
  3. Reduce Operational Costs: Lowering energy usage translates directly into reduced operational costs, often yielding a quick return on investment.
  4. Enhance Productivity: Efficient compressed air systems support consistent production, reducing downtime and maintenance issues.
  5. Sustainable Practices: Regular audits contribute to long-term energy savings and sustainable operations, which can result in up to an 80% reduction in operating costs for some facilities.

What to Expect from an Effective Audit

A thorough compressed air audit provides a comprehensive review of the entire system, focusing on both supply and demand aspects. Key components of the audit include:

Preparing for a Successful Audit

To maximise the benefits of a compressed air audit, businesses should:

  1. Schedule the Audit During Normal Production Hours: This ensures an accurate assessment of the system under typical operating conditions.
  2. Engage with Plant Personnel: Discuss known issues and priorities with employees to ensure that the audit addresses critical concerns.
  3. Install Instrument Taps in Key Locations: Facilitating effective data collection is essential for a thorough audit.
  4. Accompany the Auditor: Staying involved during the audit helps ensure all areas of concern are addressed and provides valuable insights for system optimisation.

Key Findings and Common Issues

A well-executed audit often reveals several common issues that contribute to energy waste, including:

Conclusion

A comprehensive compressed air audit is a powerful tool for uncovering inefficiencies and realising significant cost savings. By identifying areas for improvement and optimising system performance, businesses can reduce energy consumption and operational costs, ensuring a reliable and efficient compressed air supply for their operations. Investing in regular audits and maintaining a robust air management programme can lead to lasting benefits and a more sustainable future.

CMC NV provides compressed air audits through their SCADAR™ solution. This assists service providers by equipping them with the necessary tools to conduct forensic compressed air audits, support their customers’ journey towards carbon neutrality, and identify areas where compressed air efficiencies can be improved. If you’re interested in improving your compressed air system’s energy efficiency, these audits play an essential role in both environmental and economic health.