The way compressed air is made has not changed for many years. The oil flooded rotary screw is by far the most popular method and is the industry’s standard today. What has changed is the technology and improvements in rotor design, compressor controls, motor efficiency and variable speed drives. Most plants are running the same compressors they purchased 15 to 20 years ago and most are running more horse power than they need. Even though your compressors are doing a great job and are very reliable, there are ways to make them run more efficiently.
Power Consumption Graph
Master Controller – Used to control all compressors in the most energy efficient cycles
The first step is to have your compressed air system evaluated. A Level I evaluation consists of a job site visit and a walk through of your compressor room and plant. This is done free of charge. Helpful recommendations can sometimes be made from this evaluation. We are looking for the following: How are your compressors operating? Load/No Load or Modulation control. Do you have enough air storage capacity? Is your air piping adequate? Will a master controller or a flow control valve work for your plant? Would a variable speed compressor work best? All these items are addressed during the visit. If we feel it’s necessary, we will recommend a Level II air study or energy air audit. This study will determine exactly how much cubic feet per minute (cfm) your plant is using. Our data loggers will be installed and take readings every 12 seconds for one week. We are measuring and logging flow (cfm), k/W (compressor amps), and plant pressure (psig). From this we can determine how efficiently your compressors are operating and how energy efficient we can make your plant operate after our recommendations are implemented. A return on investment (ROI) is also determined.
Your air compressors are one of the greatest energy users in your plant. If you can cut the cost of producing compressed air by 15% to 20%, you can see significant savings in overall costs. To get started, contact your local branch and request a Level I evaluation today.
The use of Oil Free air compressors has become an absolute must for certain industries such as hospitals, labs, pharmaceutical companies and semiconductor manufacturers, but there is a growing number of other industrial manufacturers that are realizing the benefits of switching to oil-free air compressors. Using oil free air compressors enables you to provide the highest quality air for your manufacturing needs. In doing so, you can dramatically reduce your operation’s negative environmental effects. Eliminate harmful emissions, conserve natural resources and get a clean, reliable, cost-efficient source of air supply. Along with the positive environmental impact, switching to oil free air compressors can have a significant impact on your cost of ownership.
Oil Free compressors can reduce operating costs by:
- Eliminating the cost to collect and dispose of oil laden condensate
- Eliminating the cost of replacing air/oil separator elements and downstream filtration required to remove oil aerosols
- Eliminating oil contamination and costly replacement of desiccant in regenerative air dryers
- Eliminate the potential for compressed air pipeline fires caused by oil carry-over
- Eliminate the cost of ruined products, lost production and damaged reputation
- Eliminate high energy cost
Lewis Systems & Service Co., Inc represents the best in oil free compressed air. We would be happy to review your compressed air needs to discover if a switch to oil-free would be right for you.
Already have an oil free air compressor? We can service them and get you the parts you need. We have certified technicians with years of experience on Gardner Denver, CompAir, Kobelco, Hitachi, Powerex and Cooper Cameron just to name a few. Contact us today.
Lewis Systems & Service Co., Inc. not only sells new and used air compressors but a good part of our business is based around air compressor repair and servicing. Below is a list of some common air compressor repairs that we address in the field. This is not a troubleshooting guide or instructions on how to do repairs, however if your unit is serviced on a regular basis, a lot of these problems can be prevented.
- Rings – As the piston rings wear out, excessive oil consumption will rise.
- Valves – Carbon deposits can build up on the valves causing the compressor to take longer to build up pressure. They usually need regular cleaning or replacing if damaged.
- Controls – Defective pressure switch can cause starting problems as well as a faulty check valve. Problems with the pilot valve can cause the compressor not to unload properly.
- Belts can be too tight or too loose, also the pulley could be out of alignment causing excessive wear on the belts.
- Air intake filters should be inspected and changed on a regular basis. Dirty air filters can cause long pump up times and overheating.
- Routine Maintenance Items: Changing the air filter and oil on a regular basis will prevent many problems. It will also extend the life of valves and rings.
Rotary Screw Compressors:
- Controls / Check Valves: The majority of problems that arise on rotary screw compressors are related to the controls and sensors. A faulty pressure transducer or a sticky thermal valve element can shut your compressor down very quickly. It’s always good practice to have these items in stock or at least know a reliable service center (we suggest Lewis Systems), that normally has these items in stock.
- Not Building Pressure: Number one cause: a dirty inlet air filter. Also problems with the inlet valve or minimum pressure valve. Both should be inspected and cleaned on a regular basis. Both normally have packing rings or seals that need to be replaced occasionally.
- Inlet Valve Maintenance
- Excessive Oil Carryover: A common cause for oil carryover is a blocked or faulty scavenge line check valve. Oil separators can rupture if they are not changed on a regular basis which will cause oil carryover as well.
- Routine Maintenance Items: Changing the air filter and oil filter on a regular basis will prevent many problems. It will also extend the life of the compressor lubricant and oil cooler.
- As you can see, there are lots of maintenance and repair issues that should be addressed on your air compressor. Don’t forget that Lewis Systems & Service Co., Inc. has a fully staffed service department at each of our locations to assist you. From emergency repairs to proactive maintenance agreements we can help keep your plant up and running.
Positive displacement (PD) blowers and vacuum pumps take advantage of positive displacement technology; which causes movement by trapping a fixed amount of air then forcing (displacing) that trapped volume into the discharge pipe. These pumps can be further classified depending on what type of mechanism is used to move the air.
Positive displacement blowers usually come in either bi-lobe or tri-lobe configurations. Bi-lobe blowers and vacuum pumps have been around for a long time and are used in a wide variety of applications because of their durability and flexibility. Tri-lobe blowers usually can operate with higher throughput than the standard bi-lobe units. Tri-lobe blowers often operate with less noise and pulsation levels as well. Another design configuration available to both bi-lobe and tri-lobe blowers is a helical lobe design which can allow for even more noise and pulsation reduction.
Yet another more recent improvement is the helical screw blower which offers reduced energy consumption compared to traditional lobe blowers as well as eliminating the pulsation that standard lobe blowers create. Helical screw blowers can reach higher pressures than lobe blowers, but can’t produce the higher flow rates that lobe blowers are known for.
In general, positive displacement blowers are most effective with high volumes at low vacuums and pressures. Choosing the right blower is critical to maximizing productivity and ROI. There are so many different variables that need to be addressed that it is hard to tag a specific style blower to a specific application. A general overview of applications in which you would find PD blowers being used can be found below:
|Aquaculture – Aeration
||Oil & Gas – Gas Collection & Sparging
|Cement – Fluidization & Conveying
||Fly Ash Conveying
|Chemical – Vacuum Processing & Conveying
|Coal /Landfill – Methane Gas Recovery
|Dairy – Automated Milking
||Processing & Conveying
|Dry Bulk Handling – Trailer Unloading
||Potholing & Slurry Recovery
|Vacuum Extraction & Sparging
||Environmental – Sewer Cleaning
|Industrial – Material Vacuuming
||Aeration & Backwashing
During the summer, there are a few extra challenges your compressed air system faces. Heat and humidity can cause all sorts of problems if you don’t prepare your system to adequately address them. Here are a few simple reminders of things to check to prevent downstream problems and equipment failures.
- Condensate Drains – With the extra humidity there will be extra water. Check all of your drains and drain lines to ensure they are sized correctly and operating properly.
- Heat Exchangers – Check your after coolers and oil coolers to make sure they are clean and the fans are operating correctly. These coolers are your primary defense for keeping your oil temperatures acceptable and removing the bulk of your liquid water from your compressed air system.
- Air Dryers – Both refrigerated and desiccant compressed air dryers need to be checked and prepared for the summer heat and humidity. Condenser coils and condenser fans should be checked on refrigerated dryers. Pre-filters and drains should be checked and serviced on desiccant dryers to protect the desiccant bed from slugs of liquid water and oil.
- Oil/Water Separators – All the water that your drains and dryers are removing should be routed to an Oil/Water Separator. These separators help you safely and legally dispose of your compressed air condensate. Be sure to replace all carbon bags and filters to ensure proper operation.
Lewis Systems & Service Co., Inc. carries a full line of drains, dryers and filters to help your compressed air systems to deal with the heat and humidity that the summer brings. So give us a call if you find yourself “under water” this summer.