Glen Camilleri, Key Accounts Manager at Southern Cross Compressors Australia Pty Ltd explains how inefficiencies in compressed air systems can lead to higher power consumption.
Compressed air is one of the most expensive energy sources used in industry. Typically 20-30% of the generated power is lost before it even reaches end use, due to inefficiencies. Another 10% is lost to artificial demand caused by higher than required operating pressures while a further 10% is lost due to end use equipment using air when production is turned off.
This builds a strong case for every compressed air user to define a flow profile to identify peak demands, low points and variability, which occurs throughout different shifts. For example, if a plant is shut down overnight with no production, and compressors are not, a flow meter may show there is still some air being leaked representing inefficiencies in the system that can be addressed. Equally it will identify if the right compressor is being used for the application.
In the past, flow meters required the pipes to be cut to install into the air system. Advanced ultrasonic flow meters connect to the outside of the pipe only, resulting in benefits such as zero pressure drops; no process interruption; high accuracy; resistance to dust and humidity; and reduced installation time.
Ultrasonic flow meter technology used to build an accurate flow profile creates opportunities to reduce energy costs significantly. A baseline profile can be created and compared to future profiles to see how air demand changes over time, enabling the plant operator to make informed decisions on equipment and system design.