Cost Saving Tips for Rotary Screw Air Compressors

Rotary screw air compressors are complicated pieces of machinery and let’s face it, they are not inexpensive. If you look at the total cost of ownership, however, the initial purchase price is minimal compared to the energy cost required over the life of your compressor. Here are a few money saving tips that can help reduce the cost of operating your equipment:

  • Change your air filter regularly
    • The intake air filter is your first line of defense in protecting your compressor and its lubricant. A dirty, clogged filter element causes loss of efficiency and reduces lubricant life. A clean element will help your compressor run cooler and use less energy.
  • Change your oil filter every 1000 hours
    • Plain and simple: if you don’t change your oil filter element you’ll do damage to your compressor. This inexpensive part removes dirt and abrasives from the lubricant. When changed regularly, it will extend the life of your lubricant, protect your air/oil separator and reduce wear on your compressor.
  • Change your air/oil separator every 4000 hours or at least annually
    • If you have oil-flooded rotary screw compressors the air/oil separator provides the final removal of oil from the air stream. Contaminant and particulate build-up in the element will cause pressure drop across the separator to increase. As a rule of thumb, every 2 PSIG increase in pressure drop raises BHP use by 1%. Servicing your air/oil separator will also keep your oil carryover low and reduce lubricant consumption.
  • Keep your aftercooler/oil cooler clean
    • Check for dirt or particle accumulation on the coolers. As the exterior fin surfaces become clogged, dirty and damaged, your coolers lose their ability to effectively dissipate heat. Increased running temperatures can damage your compressor and reduce the life of synthetic lubricants.

  • Oil Analysis
    • Synthetic lubricants do a great job of protecting your compressor and holding up in harsh environments. However, they don’t last forever. Take the guesswork out and get professional analysis done regularly.  It will tell you if there are any issues. As synthetic lubricants break down they can become corrosive and create varnishes, so being proactive in this area will save a lot of money in the long run. (Lewis Systems offers free analysis on all lubricants that are purchased from us).

These aren’t overly complicated things to do, but they can be overlooked easily. Our Service Team would be happy to help you out with developing a routine maintenance program that fits your needs and budget. Proactive maintenance is a lot less expensive than reactive maintenance.

Having a Rental Air Compressor Plan

So what happens when your air compressor goes down?  Hopefully, your backup compressor fires right up and your production doesn’t miss a beat.  But things don’t always work out that way.  At some point in time, you may have to get a rental compressor. Having a plan in place for rental compressors will save you a lot of time and frustration. Here are a few things to think about ahead of time:
 

  • Where would this compressor be installed? Do you have room and easy access in your current compressor room, or will it need to be installed in a remote location of the plant?
  • What are your pressure and CFM requirements? Knowing this ahead of time will expedite the process of finding a rental.
  • How would you incorporate the rental into your existing compressed air system?
  • Will you need an extra hose to connect? If it’s necessary to put the compressor in a remote location, make sure you know how much hose you’ll need to tap in to your plant system.
  • You’ll also need extra wire to run power to the compressor. Knowing how much you need will save time.
  • Keep air quality in mind as well. If you have to locate the rental away from your other air treatment equipment, consider a dryer and filter to go along with the rental compressor.
  • If it’s going to be a long-term rental, be sure to find out up front who is responsible for the routine maintenance and any repairs necessary on the rental.

At Lewis Systems & Service Co., Inc., we have a wide variety of rental compressors available-from reciprocating to large flow oil-free rotary screw compressors.  We also have NFPA 99 medical compressed air and vacuum packages available for short – and long – term rentals.  Contact us and we’ll be happy to help you out.

Cold Weather Diagnostic for Compressed Air Systems

With colder weather coming soon, compressed air systems that are subject to lower temperatures may deal with slow starting, possible control line freeze problems, and condensate lines freezing.  To help prevent some of these problems, heat lamps can be installed close to the lines to prevent freezing. Also, applying heat tape with a thermostat to control lines and condensate lines is a great way to protect your equipment located outside.  However, keep in mind that anything installed on the lines themselves might have to be removed when the equipment is being serviced.

Here is a basic cold weather diagnostic outline:

  • Check insulated areas and make sure the heat is staying inside and the cold is staying outside.
  • Also check any weather stripping and replace areas that are worn out and not working properly.
  • Check condensate drains throughout your system for proper operation. Excess water in your lines and freezing temperatures are not a good mix.
  • Check the intake for your air compressor. If it’s exposed to the outside elements, your inlet air filter can be damaged from ice and snow.
  • Compressed air receivers should be protected as well. If condensate is allowed to collect at the bottom of the tank it can freeze.  Insulate any outside pipes feeding the tank as well as the condensate drain for the tank.
  • Kind of a no brainer here, but make sure your compressed air dryer and compressed air filters have been serviced and are operating correctly. Their job is to remove condensate from your compressed air system.  The less condensate in the system the less there is to freeze and cause problems.

Contact us today if you need any help with addressing your cold weather vulnerabilities. Taking these proactive steps now, can help prevent some major problems once it turns cold outside.

The Benefits of Quick-Lock Aluminum Piping

The piping system used to deliver compressed air throughout your facility is very important. Its material, age and condition affect both reliability and air quality.

Quick-Lock Tubing is the world’s only totally metal push-connect piping system with many advantages over all current push-connect systems. It is the only push-connect system that fully complies with the ANSI B31.1 piping system code. No special tooling is needed to install the Quick-Lock system, and has electrostatic powder coating for all internal and external applications.

Piping made with iron will rust and corrode, creating buildup on the interior and reducing air flow capacity. This will also contribute to contamination and poor air quality for your downstream processes.

 

Aluminum piping systems have some substantial advantages:

  • They don’t rust or have scale buildup inside, eliminating contamination to avoid reduced efficiency due to pressure drops Much easier to modify than traditional black pipe
  • Substantially lighter than steel
  • Can handle a wide range of operating :.99 bar to 220 psi
  • Can handle a wide range of temperatures: 4 F to 176 F
  • Significant reduction in air leaks saves money in lost power
  • Safer than plastic and will not become brittle
  • never use PVC for compressed air
  • Pipes are color coded for easy identification: air is blue, vacuum is grey and inert gas is black
  • Versatile, tough and long-lasting metal fittings made of brass, plated with nickel
  • Wide range of sizes for varying air flow needs: 14mm to 63 mm
  • Advanced fittings eliminate the need for drilling into tubing
Remember: Plastic is for Toys. Don’t Settle- Choose Metal.

Download our Quick Lock Tubing Brochure or contact us today.