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The hidden cost of compressed air

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article image KHE110 air compressor

Southern Cross Compressors Australia Pty Ltd  has been helping its clients identify the hidden costs of compressed air and take suitable measures to address the problem.  

Southern Cross Compressors has been serving the needs of a broad range of industries from manufacturing and mining to transport for over 30 years with a comprehensive line of air compressors.  

Supplying high quality new and used compressor equipment to industry, the company offers maintenance programs for compressors of all makes.  

Southern Cross National Sales and Marketing Manager, Mark Ferguson explains that many customers get fixated with the capital cost of air compressors with very few actually understanding the long term overall operating costs of compressed air.  

Energy is the biggest component of the total costs involved in producing compressed air. With a new carbon tax around the corner, businesses using compressed air equipment must address energy consumption as a priority to achieve substantial potential savings.  

Air compressors over the last 20 years have transformed from large heavy units to cheaper, lighter weight units incorporating components with a limited life span. Additionally, there are several cheaply built air compressors in the market with variable speed drives that are projected as being energy efficient.  

While many demonstrate reasonable part load efficiency, other key factors tend to negate these savings contributing to higher costs in the longer term.  

Key factors to be considered for lowering compressed air cost:  

  • Selection of the right unit for the application
  • Appropriate control system, air quality and set pressure
  • Adequate ventilation and a clean environment
  • Appropriate servicing and a preventative maintenance program
  • Correctly sized and designed downstream reticulation system free from leaks
Southern Cross employs a large team of compressed air specialist technicians with in-house electrical and refrigeration expertise to conduct essential site audits for its clients.

Southern Cross’ checklist for compressor equipment upgrade/ replacement:  

  • Air demand on each production shift
  • Operating environment
  • Air quality and pressure required
  • Power usage tariff objective
  • Long term maintenance costs
  • Reticulation system
  • Safety issues
  • Plant life expectancy
  • Available equipment options
Southern Cross has partnered with a world-leading manufacturer of air compressors to offer the latest technology built on traditional heavy duty design platforms with durable components.

Key features of Southern Cross air compressors:   

  • Direct drive with no air-end gears
  • Additional bearings and larger bearing sizes
  • High efficiency TEFC - MEPS2 compliant motors
  • Schneider electrics
  • Laminar flow intake controllers
  • Large scale single pass controllers and stainless steel control lines
  • Application of solid piping or stainless braided hoses resulting in longer operational life

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