To create compressed air a machine is needed to boost the pressure of ambient air. However, this mechanical process can result in impurities getting into the system and these can damage the machinery further down the production line. Most often these impurities build up over time, so it makes sense to install monitoring devices such as ‘oil carry-over’ and ‘dew point’ sensors. Detecting these early may prevent expensive and disruptive events from contaminating the whole down-stream system.
Energy is the largest cost of production at around 73% so minimising energy expenses are key to maximum efficiency. To achieve this, leakages should be reduced with the location and fixing of leaks being responsible for a possible 42% of total savings. To reduce leaks and incoming contamination a selection of flow meters, air quality controllers, pressure monitors and ultrasonic leak detectors can be combined to monitor the compressed gas system.
Attach a Clamp-on ammeter and Power meter: In front of the compressor attach a Clamp-on ammeter which is recommended for audits and will determine the load/unload/stop cycle of the compressor.
This combined with a CS PM5110 Power meter will provide precise data on power usage by the compressor. Precise consumption is provided with Active power in kW, Apparent power (kVA), Reactive power (kVar) and Active energy (kWh).
Insert the air flow meter: Behind the compressor insert the VD500 flow meter to get a direct flow of the wet air which will allow for the calculation of the amount of energy needed to compress 1m3 of air or how much power is used to generate 1m3/min. The compressor should be optimised to consume as little energy as possible to keep costs low.
Ensure dryer is removing sufficient condensation: Following the dryer, an FA510 Dew point sensor can be installed to ensure that the dryer is removing enough condensation. Production can be halted if too much condensation is passing through after the dryer.
Reduce pressure drops by fitting a differential pressure probe: By fitting a differential pressure probe to either side of the filter the effectiveness of the filter element can be monitored. This can reduce pressure drops to waste as little energy as possible making energy usage more efficient.
Ensure there is no residual oil: An Oil Check 400 will monitor the residual oil content left after the filter in accordance with ISO8573-1. This will prevent contamination of the product and samples are easily gathered through a PTFE hose or stainless-steel pipe. Particle monitoring is completed by a PC 400 particle counter that is an online system measuring particles to ISO8573-1 standards. Both devices can be displayed on the DS 500.
Reduce the initial pressure at the compressor: Pressure drop is measured with a CS10 pressure sensor. Few machines require above 6 bar overpressures so by reducing the initial pressure at the compressor it will reduce energy consumption and leakage further down the system. By reducing nominal pressure by 1 bar, it can be possible to generate electricity savings of between 6-8%.
Attach a flow meter after the air quality control system: A VA500 flow meter after the air quality control systems can provide data as to the total consumption of air that is being sent towards the industrial process and help to locate any previous leakages.
If the compressed air is distributed across many lines of production, then multiple inline VA520 can be used to measure the flow of compressed air to each line. This can be used to calculate the leakage rates and cost of air used per line. For ring pipe systems the bi-directional VA 520 is ideal as it can measures flows in both directions.
A VA525 flow meter can then be installed to monitor the consumption of compressed air for individual machines to generate cost and leakage rates. This can reduce energy costs as it identifies leaks within the system.
Monitor leaks with an ultrasonic leak detector: All CS products can connect to the DS500 which is able to display 12 analogue and digital connections from the flowmeters, pressure sensors, dew point and air quality devices. Alerts can be set for each measurement to prevent failure in the system.
To locate any leaks within the system an LD500 leak detector can be used. This will reduce wastage and make the process more sustainable as leaks can be identified easier reducing cost.
A wide range of attachments are available to find leaks at long and short range such as a parabolic mirror which can located leaks to within 15cm from up to 15m away. It can provide photos and locations of the leak and be used to generate an ISO50001 report.
As there is a typical leakage rate of between 20-30% across industry it is clear that reducing this level of leakage will reduce energy consumption, help to drive costs down as well as increase the lifetime of the compressor. Further optimisation of the compressor and system can then be performed after the leaks have been fixed.
For companies with multiple manufacturing sites the CS Leak Reporter Software is ideal as it can provide widespread access to leaks and costs from across all production. This can help to increase overall company efficiency and show which plants have the most energy usage. Over time, it can also be used to classify which plants are reducing their energy usage.
Entire system efficiency can be damaged not only by leakages but by incorrectly sized components. This leads to a higher flow rate and means that there are more pressure losses which will increase the wasted energy. Dryers and filters can also cause pressure losses so ensuring that they are as efficient as possible will reduce energy costs.
Leakages are easiest to spot when production is halted but compressors are still running. Consumption of compressed air should be as close to 0 as possible so the further away the consumption is the more leaks in the system there are.
Our calorimetric range of flow meters are manufactured by CS Instruments. They are suitable for both in-line applications and larger pipe sizes when an insertion type flow meter is required. Typical applications include flow measurement and total volume measurement of compressed air, however the instruments can be setup for use with different gas types. Inline flow meters can be used on pipe sizes from ¼” up to 2” whilst insertion style meters can be used on pipe sizes up to DN300. We can offer both digital and analogue outputs with most models offering a local display with easy push button setup. Mass flow readings can also be output from the flow meter.
Insertion flow meters for heavy duty industrial applications can also offer Atex certification, whilst integrated measuring sections are available with both flanged and threaded connections. Both have been robustly designed for tough industrial applications.
The DS 400 chart recorder can interface with the flow meters to provide complete monitoring and data logging within your air and gas system. The colour touch-screen display shows live an historical data whilst the data-logging is completed for a SD card interface ideal for digital chart recorder applications.
PCT offer a wide range of intruments to faciliate an array of compressed air systems across the UK. If you have any questions about you particular system please do contact us.