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New CAPS compressors cut energy usage at beef processor factory

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article image The CAPS Australia installed compressors and ancillary equipment at Kilcoy Pastoral
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A compressor solution provided by Caps Australia to a major beef processing facility in Queensland has helped the processor drastically reduce energy expenditure.

The Kilcoy Pastoral Company’s (Kilcoy) facilities in Queensland refurbished their existing plant and installed new compressor equipment supplied by Compressed Air and Power Solutions Australia (CAPS). Kilcoy is one of the largest integrated beef processors in Australia, selling its product to the domestic Australian market as well as 20 international markets. 

A full energy audit of the Kilcoy plant conducted in 2011 by Energy Efficiency Services (EES), a business division of CAPS Australia revealed that there were considerable savings to be made by ensuring energy efficiency of the compressed air systems. Compressed air is responsible for 10-15% of industrial electricity use nationwide.

According to John Pears, Queensland Sales Engineer for CAPS, an Ingersoll Rand Nirvana R160ne-A compressor was selected to supply compressed air for the meat processors, pumps and tools, in addition to the packaging lines.

Featuring a Variable Speed Drive (VSD) coupled with an intuitive controller with easily adjustable operating parameters, onboard diagnostics and a built-in energy savings calculator, the Nirvana R160ne-A compressor also utilises a unique coolant curtain to reduce energy consumption by injecting atomised oil into the compressed air stream, significantly lowering the energy required for compression. 

The Ingersoll Rand premium efficiency packages supplied with Nirvana compressors allow customers to utilise the full potential of VSD compressors through the use of unique two-stage airends, which deliver up to 15% more air than a single-stage compressor while consuming the same amount of energy. 

Models in the Nirvana range are supplied with the exclusive Hybrid Permanent Magnet (HPM) motor, which provides unmatched reliability and efficiency with unlimited starts/stops and constant pressure control. A ‘soft start’ facility allows the compressor to conserve energy by shutting down instead of running unloaded.

To reduce downtime and lost production, the R160ne-A is rated for continuous operation 24 hours per day, seven days per week at 100% loading. The Nirvana can withstand high ambient temperatures of up to 46°C, ensuring its suitability for some of Australia’s harshest environments. Removable hinged doors in the Nirvana allow easy access to internal components for maintenance.

Kilcoy Chief Executive Dean Goode explained that the upgrade of its air compressor system was part of the processor's ongoing program to improve its performance and reduce plant carbon emissions. The commissioning of new compressors, along with the installation of new refrigerated dryer and additional filtration systems was the largest contributing factor in the company’s energy cost savings. 

Though the average plant compressed air usage has increased by about 14%, there has been an average power reduction of 15% due to the improved compressor technology.

According to Quentin St Baker, National Manager of EES, the Kilcoy upgrade not only substantially boosts performance, but will also help to improve equipment lifespan and eliminate production downtime. He estimated that the resulting air compressor energy savings would exceed 40% and maintenance costs would be reduced by approximately 30%.

Goode adds that the energy savings from the compressed air upgrade will help the company recover its investment within four years.

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