Compressed Air Audits: Making Decisions Based on Data

air audit equipment

The main purpose of an air compressor system audit is to provide a comprehensive evaluation of current case operating practices and system performance from the perspective of the system’s supply side. The study and analysis are based on measurement and profiling of the production and process demand. Data is compiled and used to model current case operating costs as well as potential solution performance and the resulting cost of improvements to determine their financial feasibility.

Data Collection

The air audit evaluation is conducted with the intent to gather as much real-time data as possible. Flow (scfm), pressure (psi) and power (kW) are measured and data is logged using thermal mass flow transmitters, pressure transmitters and amp or kW transmitters. Transmitter output is recorded on data loggers at a specific polling rate and later downloaded to a computer for analysis and modeling.

Reporting

Once the data is collected, an analysis can provide the basis for power validation and solution modeling. The first report below is a tabular summary of information gathered for a system. This table provides high level attributes and the basis for improvements. Comparing both the Dynamic Efficiency (current case to benchmark) and the energy cost (current case vs. proposed) will help determine the potential and feasibility of system enhancements.

cost saving analysis for compressed air systems

Once the high-level attributes and potential improvements have been reviewed, air audit professionals can dig a little more in depth and look at the actual options available to the customer. Each option should be compared with current case costs in a System Performance Comparative as shown below. This table documents existing equipment and recommendations for future energy savings.

air audit cost analysis

Cost Analysis

The last piece of information that really brings an air audit together is the cost analysis. What is the payback period on making any recommended changes and how much money will actually be saved over a period of time? Below is a graph of a 10 Year Total Cost Analysis for a customer who had three options based on the findings of a recent audit. This graph allows you to see not only the operating cost spread over 10 years, but also shows the payback timeframe for each option if it was to be implemented. Seeing the financial implications in this way allows you to determine if the cost savings are great enough to warrant changes, and if so, to and select the option that makes the most sense for your business.

improvements for air compressor efficiency

A compressed air system audit can provide all the data and modeling that a customer needs to identify opportunities for improvements in air compressor efficiency and cost savings. The certified air compressor technicians at Lewis Systems are experienced in performing compressed air audits and providing cost saving solutions. If you have any questions about air audits or would like to speak to us about having one completed, please contact us and we’ll be happy to discuss it with you.

Air Compressor Technology Advancing the Industry

gardner denver iconn

Industrial compressed air advancements are making systems more productive, convenient and efficient. One of the most promising areas of innovation for the compressed air industry is connectivity and data analysis. The International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts that by the end of 2020, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT) network will consist of more than 29 billion connected devices. Although compressor manufacturers are still trying to figure out the best ways to leverage this connectivity, two growing trends are Data Analytics and Predictive Maintenance.

Gardner Denver Leading the Way

Gardner Denver’s newest monitoring solution, iConn, is a predictive service that provides a detailed view of system performance so businesses can stay ahead of potential issues. iConn sends machine health data directly into the Connected Customer platform, a secure cloud-based database solution. Data from iConn is continually analyzed and consolidated. Trends and visual cues can quickly provide a snapshot of your compressor’s health. Alerts for faults, warnings, alarms and exception-based notifications are viewable from within the platform and can also be sent out as emails or texts.

Benefits of Gardner Denver’s iConn:

  • Real-time monitoring and alarms
  • Cloud-based visualization and data analysis
  • Remote monitoring of real time performance
  • Data analysis available on an app
  • Three levels of services to meet specific needs
  • Ability to plan for scheduled maintenance

The iConn system uses a GSM cellular network, so there is no need to connect to the plant network, which could cause possible disruptions. iConn’s standard data connectivity is a free service that comes installed on all new Gardner Denver CompAir compressors and can be retrofitted for existing compressor installations.

Using the iConn solution, along with Gardner Denver’s Connected Customer online portal, allows businesses and their supporting distributors to gain a true 360-degree view of their compressed air equipment. The ability to create and track service history, predict upcoming service schedules, access oil sample reports and help reduce downtime with advanced failure warnings all add to the value of this comprehensive and easy-to-use platform.

DFH Haus GmbH, a prefabricated homes manufacturer in Germany, uses the iConn smart flow management tool to monitor plant data, such as pressure, temperature and energy consumption remotely, so they no longer have to visit installations in person. DFH receives alerts and error messages via email so they can respond to issues quickly.

See if iConn is Right for You

Performing maintenance on an air compressor as soon as it’s due to be serviced is one of the best ways to maximize the machine’s efficiency, uptime and longevity. Lewis Systems is a certified Gardner Denver partner and can set up and service your iConn and Connected Customer platforms to help you get the most out of your compressed air equipment. Contact us at 800.222.4553 to speak with a professional about your connectivity needs.

Powerex: Advancing the Medical Pipeline and Source Equipment Industry

With medical gases currently being used for so many clinical applications in the healthcare industry, improving the reliability and efficiency of medical gas equipment is critical. A leak or failure can have serious health implications on the patients who need these products to function consistently. Powerex, “the leader in pure air technology,” is continually innovating to improve their medical gas pipeline, source equipment and associated components to better serve hospitals, healthcare facilities and patients.

OSHPD Seismic Certification

Powerex Manifolds, Enclosed Rotary Tooth with VFD (medical and laboratory) and Enclosed Scroll (5, 7.5 and 10 HP) systems are now OSHPD (Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development) certified. To receive the OSHPD certification, equipment must be tested and verified for structural integrity, instrumentation functionality and component performance during an earthquake. Powerex is the first medical gas system manufacturer to test and certify manifolds. Many of their other products are already seismic certified for structural integrity.

Redesigned Medical and Laboratory Systems

Powerex has updated their 2–5 HP Open Scroll Medical and Laboratory Systems to save space and allow for easy maintenance of their reliable, energy efficient equipment.

Major updates include:

  • Smallest footprint on the market: Up to 39% less than the leading competitor
  • All systems designed to fit through a 36″ door
  • Low maintenance and easily serviceable
  • Patented Service Slide
  • Basemount extends 20″ from the rack
  • Energy efficient technology

Quiet Oil-Free Enclosure Systems

Powerex’s trademarked Oil-Free Enclosure Systems offer the lowest noise levels in the industry. Each system is packaged in a rigid steel frame with powder coated panels and lined with sound-deadening insulation. The low noise levels and small footprint allow for convenient installation in healthcare facilities at the point of use.


New Medical Claw Enclosed Systems

The industry-first Powerex Enclosed Claw Vacuum Systems also offer the lowest noise levels on the market, allowing flexibility for installation at the point of use. The claw pump design is extremely efficient, and because there is no contact between the rotors and the cylinder wall, maintenance and parts replacement costs are minimized.


New Digital Medical Gas Alarm Panels

With the introduction of MedTouch Series alarms, Powerex now offers the most comprehensive LCD touch screen panels on the market.

  • Text or email alarm notifications can be sent to multiple addresses
  • Customized emergency instructions can be set up to display for each alarm signal
  • Ethernet modules allow secure remote user access and interface abilities with building automation systems

Interested in Powerex Products?

Lewis Systems is a proud installer and servicer of Powerex medical products. Their advancements in medical equipment help us better serve healthcare providers and improve patient care in our area. For questions about Powerex or other medical air, gas or vacuum products, contact us at 800.222.4553.

Maximizing the Energy Efficiency of Your Compressed Air System

Air compressors are some of the most demanding energy users in a plant. In fact, over the life of an average compressor, the energy cost often exceeds the equipment cost several times over. Improving your air compressor’s energy efficiency can make a huge impact on your bottom line. Here are a few ways to reduce the cost of producing compressed air and maximize your energy savings:

Request a Compressed Air Energy Audit

Having a professional perform an air audit to measure your current flow rates, energy consumption and operating pressure can help identify significant cost savings. Often, evaluating things like how your compressors are controlled or whether you need extra storage can improve compressor efficiency. Air audits should be performed on a regular basis and any time changes have been made in your plant that may impact your compressed air system.

Find and Repair Air Leaks

Leaks in your system cause an unnecessary load on compressors, which inevitably requires more energy and maintenance. Without a proper air leak maintenance program in place, leaks in your air compressor could account for 20–30% of your total air demand and cost you thousands of dollars a year in wasted energy. Some leak surveys have actually enabled customers to completely shut down extra compressors.

Reduce Air Pressure

Less pressure = less energy. It’s that simple. According to the Compressed Air & Gas Institute, for every 2 psi reduction, you can save approximately 1% in energy consumption. Make sure your system hasn’t been set at a higher pressure than is necessary or requiring additional pressure as a result of leaks.

Maintain Your Equipment

Compressed air equipment is a big investment. Avoiding regular maintenance can lead to inefficient operation, costly repairs and even equipment failure. Following a consistent preventive maintenance schedule is a smart way to protect your investment and maximize savings. Changing filters and lubricants and having your equipment inspected regularly will keep it running efficiently and reduce your total cost of ownership.

Put Wasted Heat to Work

Compressing air naturally generates heat. Generally, this heat is wasted, but the majority of it can actually be recovered and used for operations like heating a warehouse or providing hot water for cleaning.

Use Your Energy Wisely

Too often, compressed air is used for tasks that could be completed more economically, such as using it as a blower to clean up or as a fan for cooling. Make sure your staff is educated on proper and improper uses of compressed air.

At Lewis Systems, we want to make sure you’re getting the most efficient performance from your system. Our factory trained service team can perform everything from ultrasonic leak detection to an in-depth Energy Audit and Air Study. We also offer maintenance, service plans and compressor repair services to ensure your equipment is operating at peak efficiency. To discuss your energy needs, contact us at 800.222.4553.

PD Blowers and Vacuum Pumps: Why Replace the Whole Package?

Keeping positive displacement blowers and vacuum pumps well maintained by performing small repairs can extend the life of both pieces of equipment. But as they age and corrosion occurs from moisture inside the inlet and discharge silencers, both will eventually need to be replaced. When the time comes to replace a bare blower or vacuum pump, it’s smart to consider replacing the whole package.

Advantages to Replacing the Whole Package:

  • Energy efficiency: New packages are considerably more energy efficient and could help provide long-term cost savings for your operation.
  • Reduced noise: New packages are often quieter and can reduce pulsation issues.
  • Space savings: New smaller packages can accommodate sizing requirements that have changed since the original package was installed. They’re also easier to access for repairs.

As you evaluate your positive displacement blower and vacuum pump package needs, there are a few questions you should consider to make sure the replacement process goes smoothly.

Does the blower motor need to be replaced?

If your PD blower is showing signs of wear, how much longer do you really expect the drive motor to last? Replacing the motor before there is a serious issue can help avoid a costly breakdown.

What type of blower do you need?

New tri-lobe or helical screw blowers are more efficient than a bi-lobe blower. Upgrading your blower style can also reduce pulsation and noise.

Would you like new controllers or VFDs?

New packages can be fitted with all sorts of controllers, monitors and variable frequency drives.

Could you benefit from a new cabinet enclosure?

Upgrading or adding a cabinet enclosure could help reduce noise.

Is it time for new gauges and/or monitoring?

New packages offer intelligent monitoring solutions that can help you keep track of how your equipment is performing at all times.

Lewis Systems sells and services major PD blower and vacuum pump brands such as Gardner Denver, Powerex and Travaini. Our factory trained and certified technicians can work with you to determine the extent of your repair or replacement needs. Contact us at 800.222.4553 if you have questions or would like to discuss your equipment options.