Top tips for increasing energy efficiency in pneumatic systems

A
new Festo guide, EnergyEfficiency@Festo provides detailed information on how plant
managers can improve efficiency in their pneumatic production processes. The
guide also details the availability of efficient technologies that will ensure
machines and systems consume fewer resources and less energy.

EnergyEfficiency@Festo
provides several tips on maximising energy savings in pneumatic production
processes. For instance, the plant can save about 60% energy when using energy
saving circuits such as Festo’s OVEM closed loop vacuum generators, and monitoring
vacuum levels and only expending air when required. Correct sizing of drives
and tubing including reducing to the next smaller piston diameter can decrease
energy consumption by approximately 35%.

Festo’s
tips to save energy also include reducing switching line tube lengths to
achieve up to 25% savings; eliminating flow of air in systems at a standstill by
isolating circuits in standby or shutdown modes to provide savings of 20%; and
reducing weight and friction of moving elements particularly on multi-axis
systems where initial over sizing becomes compounded, saving up to 18% energy.

Energy-efficient
pneumatic applications can only be achieved with suitable compressed air
quality in accordance with ISO 8573-1:2010. Many manufacturing operations can
achieve considerable savings through the efficient use of compressed air. Following
a few simple guidelines in the design and maintenance of pneumatic air
preparation systems can generate significant savings.

Top tips to save energy in compressed air applications

Whenever
possible, switch off the air supply during machine standstills, at the end of
shifts, during breaks etc.

When
higher pressure levels are required at specific points within a network, use
pressure boosters instead of increasing pressure throughout the entire system.

Pay
attention to the flow rates for air preparation units; oversized filter bowls will
not function optimally and won’t remove contaminants from the downstream system.

Carefully
check the need for filters because every filter stage reduces the flow rate and
increases the pressure drop.

Monitor
filter elements and change them before they lose efficiency and effectiveness.
Clogged filter elements reduce the flow rate by even up to 50% through the air
preparation unit and fail to remove particulates.

Installing
flow meters will allow you to monitor air consumption, track trends and take remedial
action.

Use
easy-to-read pressure gauges with pre-set operating zones that enable fast
setting and checking of operating pressures without relying upon skilled
technicians.

Fittings
with modern sealing rings and support functions ensure leak-proof, reusable
connections.

Monitor
all consumption. Countermeasures are only possible if you know how much
compressed air is used.

A
copy of the EnergyEfficiency@Festo guide can be downloaded from the Festo
website. 

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