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The importance of regular air compressor maintenance and servicing

Editorial

Sitting away in a quiet corner of every factory floor is the ever reliable air compressor. It’s often operational 24 hours a day and there is a casual ignorance of its weighty contribution to the production process.

When a breakdown occurs, production can sometimes cease to complete halt. Nonetheless, it stands that overlooked servicing and maintenance of your compressed air system can be a very costly long-term strategy.

KAESER Compressor’s National Service Manager, Ulf Torpman, strongly states that companies who neglect their air compressors are soon due a punitive and expensive lesson. "

"Air compressors are incredibly sophisticated machines. They are not cheap [to purchase] and yet people think its ok to take shortcuts with servicing and maintenance to cut costs," he said.

"Would you buy an expensive sports car and then run it all day, forever, without any servicing at all?"

There are a myriad of benefits to a regularly and well-serviced air compressor. Companies will avoid untimely and extremely costly production down-time due to compressor breakdowns; but they will also increase the total life-cycle of their compressor.

Torpman states that "theoretically well-serviced compressors should run for an extremely long time.Unfortunately, I've seen units run all day with no maintenance. They don’t last 5 years."

Good servicing starts with good customer support. This is achieved by having a deep understanding of the customer and formulating a complete overview. Customers should expect their compressors service operators to conduct meticulous site inspections with a formulated checklist that will provide them with an inclusive overview of all their compressed air operations.

Torpman contends that some of his contemporaries take a narrow-minded view to servicing.

"Don’t only change oil and filters on your compressor. Look at the auxiliary equipment such as ducting, pipe works, drains, filters, control modes and controller."

Flat fee servicing the way forward

Flat fee servicing is increasingly gaining traction as a viable and attractive servicing option for many customers. It works by formulating a servicing agreement between parties for a set number of years to conduct minor and major servicing and maintenance at regular intervals throughout the year. It usually also covers the costs of spare parts to the whole compressed air system.

"If you have a flat fee pricing, the customer knows the costs in advance and they can budget for the financial year," Torpman explained.

"They also know that the compressor station will be in prime condition and this works to his benefit; no unnecessary breakdowns and disturbances in the production."

Flat fee servicing eliminates the variance and uncertainty that would normally accompany the running of the air compressor.

Flat fee servicing agreements contain several inherent benefits for the customer. They are billed regularly instead of having to process larger invoices at irregular intervals. The peace of mind with flat fee servicing cannot be understated.

"If you have a service agreement in place, you can rest assured that we will take care of your compressor station. As a supplier, we know and can plan the maintenance to the smallest detail; which saves both money and time for the customer and us."

 Maintenance done correctly and on time minimises unplanned stoppages in production. Industry standard service intervals are approximately 3000 hours which mean the following*:

  •              Single shift: One service per year (3000 hours)
  •             Double shift: Two services per year (6000 hours)
  •             Multi shift: Three services per year (9000 hours)

 *Depending on site conditions

While it is startling to think of the many number of site operators who choose to neglect their air compressors; they must also be wary of fraudulence at the other end of the spectrum.

"There are operators who will over-service your compressor . . . sometimes even every 1000hours. You’ll have a fantastic air compressor, but it will be very expensive to run!"

Torpman said KAESER’s Preventative Maintenance Program has been developed to overcome some of these issues.

"This is our all-inclusive service program for all your production demands. It has been developed to give customers an understanding of their compressor lifecycle costs and one price service meant there are no surprises or hidden costs."

A well maintained compressor reduces CO2 emissions

In view of soaring energy prices and ambitious climate protection targets, modern industry is experiencing unprecedented pressure to make production processes as efficient as possible. Fortunately, Kaeser’s Intelligent Energy technology results in significant energy savings and therefore minimises CO2 emissions. 

Energy costs taken over the lifetime of any compressor can add up to 70% of the initial capital cost. Investing in an efficient compressed air system combined with a Preventative Maintenance Program has the highest impact on reducing energy consumption than any other factor. It is possible to reduced compressed air creation costs by up to 30%, and ultimately greatly diminishing CO2 emissions. 

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