compressors use considerable volumes of energy during a typical work cycle. When you add up all the expenses of operating a facility, any
savings can help you boost your bottom line. With air compressors, savings come down to efficiency, which depends on a steady maintenance
regimen. The following 13 ways to reduce compressed air costs can help you increase your productivity, boost your earnings and prevent
costly repairs and system downtime.
1. Turn Off Your Air Compressor
Air compressors use considerable volumes of energy during a typical work cycle. When you add up all the expenses of operating a facility,
any savings can help you boost your bottom line. With air compressors, savings come down to efficiency, which depends on a steady
maintenance regimen. The following 13 ways to reduce compressed air costs can help you increase your productivity, boost your earnings and
prevent costly repairs and system downtime.
of the easiest ways to lower compressed air costs is to simply turn your compressor off during the hours when you do not need it for any
of your applications. To a lot of people, this might seem like a piece of anti-advice. After all, this article is about how to lower
compressed air costs and be productive with pressurized air. How would shutting off the compressor help you achieve that goal? The thing
is, a lot of people keep their air compressors idling during off-hours, oblivious to the fact that this wastes energy.
Think of it this way. A calendar week consists of 168 hours. Unless you actually use your compressor for processes that run nonstop, 24/7,
there is no reason to have your compressor running every hour around the clock. If you only use the compressor for eight, 10 or 12 hours per
day, five days per week, you would only need to have the compressor on between 40 and 60 hours in a given week. By cutting the hours of
usage down to a typical working week, you could cut your energy consumption down by two-thirds and see significant savings in your
subsequent energy bills.
2. Repair Existing Leaks
To save money on compressed air costs, it is crucial to eliminate air leaks as much as possible. With air compressors, four-fifths of
the energy consumed in a given cycle turns to heat, and only the remaining 19 percent yields air power. When leaks and other
performance issues plague the compressor, the overall efficiency drops even lower than that one-fifth level. It is, therefore, essential
to inspect your compressed air system for leaks regularly and perform maintenance when necessary.
Most leaks are hard to detect because they are either located in hard-to-access spots or the rupture is not large enough to be audible at
arm’s length. Depending on the scope and magnitude of your operations, the costs associated with air leaks could spill into the four- or
five-figure range each year. The most effective way to reduce leaks is to use an ultrasonic leak detector, which can detect some of the
smallest and faintest leaks. With a leak detector, you can spot and remedy leaks in their formative stages before they expand and lead to
3. Stop the Formation of New Leaks
achieve lower compressor energy costs, you must perform anti-leak preventative maintenance regularly. During each inspection, leave no
stone unturned in your efforts to prevent the formation of leaks. When it comes to stopping leaks, you must look at various parts of the
system, both inside and out, because various problems can result in new leaks.
The first place to check is the pipes, which could be vulnerable to cracks if corrosive elements are allowed to deposit along the length of a
given pipe or any of the connecting points. If you spot dust particles or sludge around the piping, clean these spots as thoroughly as
possible. To keep each surface in optimal condition, you must keep each pipe clean and dry.
During these inspections, check the filters and drains to ensure that no dust or water accumulates within the system. When mist and dirt get
trapped within the compressor and deposit on various internal parts, corrosive gunk can take hold and lead to rust, leaks and system strain.
4. Lower the Air Pressure
Even when your system is free of leaks and dirt, you can cut compressed air costs even further by reducing the pressure to the levels
required for a given operation. At many facilities, pressure levels are set to maximum thresholds to accommodate the highest-pressure
applications. The trouble is, these high-pressure tools and applications might only account for a fraction of the air-powered arsenal.
If you only use high-pressure tools on a part-time basis, consider the possibility of separating those tools from the rest of your
equipment. This way, you could run your compressor at medium pressure and save energy through most of your working hours and only increase
the pressure when necessary.
If you operate a large facility with multiple compressors, designate each machine for different pressure levels. For example, if you have a
range of lower- or medium-pressure applications and only one or two that require high pressure, you could save energy by moving those latter
applications to a second compressor specifically designated for such tools.
5. Inspect the Drains, Replace if Necessary
condensate drains perform an essential task for your air compressor, the feature itself could be a huge drain on your system if it
malfunctions without anyone noticing. On air compressors with timer drains, the drain valve will automatically open each time the timer
goes off. If the machine is inactive when this occurs, the timer drain will start up the motor for a short time. Consequently, the drain
could often inflict excess wear and tear on your system, just so the drainage process can occur according to schedule.
Further problems could arise if the timer drain gets stuck in the open position. Depending on the placement of your air compressor and the
maintenance schedule of your staff, an open drain door might go unnoticed for several weeks or months. That whole time, compressed air will
inevitably leak from the system.
To get around this problem, use a zero-loss drain. This way, your system will not be vulnerable to air loss each time you drain the system.
By investing in a zero-loss drain, you can save in the long run by preventing the air loss and maintenance costs that will mount over time
due to the problems associated with timer drains.
6. Reconsider the Piping Setup
piping for your air system should be wide enough to allow optimal flow and reduce pressure drop. At the same time, pipes should travel the
shortest possible distance to reduce the length of flow, as lengthy flow increases the possibility of pressure drop. With wider pipes, you
can cut pressure drop in half because the air can travel faster and retain its original pressure.
Pressure drop is liable to increase when the routing is lengthy and complicated. The longer each flow must travel, the more the pressure
drop will be by the time the air reaches its end-point destination. If the pipes are changed in a way that doubles the flow, the pressure
drop could increase four-fold. Consequently, your pneumatic processes would be rendered weaker, and the system overall would be less
efficient because of tight, lengthy piping.
In recent years, piping has changed on newer compressed air systems. If your current piping was used years earlier on a smaller compressor,
consider a new arrangement. If your pipes are smaller than the outlets on your compressor, trade up to a new set of pipes that are wider in
diameter. Rather than complicate matters, arrange your pipes so that the flow is wide and as short as possible.
7. Clear the Filters and Replace When Necessary
To further cut compressed air operating costs, clean the filters throughout your system on a regular basis. On each unit, the filters play a
critical role in the process of the system by capturing dust and dirt from the incoming air. This way, the ambient air is free of air-bound
particulates by the time it enters the pressurization chambers. Without the filters, the pressurized air would likely be contaminated and
rendered far less effective for pneumatic applications. Moreover, dust and dirt would filter through the air compressor and accumulate on
various internal parts.
Depending on the volume and frequency of your operations, each filter should be cleaned on a weekly or monthly basis. Make sure that all
dirt is removed before you restart the compressor. Additionally, clean any secondary filters, such as air-line or point-of-use filters
situated outside the compressor room or away from the actual units. When a filter appears worn or soiled with residue, change out the filter
with a matching replacement.
8. Conduct and Schedule Maintenance
When it comes to the operation of your system, one thing is certain — maintenance amounts to savings on compressed air operating costs. To
maximize the functions of your air compressor, you must inspect the unit on the outside and inside periodically. In addition to the pipes
and filters, you should regularly inspect the motor fans, drip tray, belt and lubrication.
The fans in your air compressor perform a crucial function by lowering the heat inside your unit. To keep the fans fully
functional, check the blades for dirt or lint. If one of the blades appears dull or cracked, trade out that fan for a newer duplicate.
Each time you open up the air compressor, inspect the belt to make sure that it has the proper flex to function properly. Give the belt a
slight pull to test its elasticity and run your finger across the side for signs of cracks or dullness. When you check the lubrication, make
sure that it has the proper color and viscosity. If the machine has been excessively hot, the lubrication could melt and leave the internal
parts vulnerable to grinding and rust.
9. Identify and Eliminate Wasteful Uses of Compressed Air
engineer who knows how to save on compressed air costs will work to eliminate wasteful uses of pressurized air. Regardless of the size of
your facility, it is crucial to know the pressurization requirements for the applications at hand and the amount of energy needed to make
it all possible. Otherwise, extraneous uses of energy could eat into your profit margin.
In some cases, various minor acts of compressed air usage can amount to wasteful behavior. For example, if pneumatic blowers are used by
factory floor personnel to dust off tables and shelves, air power is being consumed for a function that could just as easily be performed
with manual brushes.
In other cases, extraneous compressed-air usage can quickly become a costly habit. For example, if air blowers are being used to cool the
interior of an industrial facility, you could be faced with soaring energy costs over a function that would be much better achieved with
fans or an air conditioning system.
10. Rearrange the Air Receivers
In a compressed air setup, the size and placement of the air receiver is a major determining factor in the overall operating cost of the
system. For each successive pressurized air supply, the air receiver functions as a placeholder between the compressor and the system at
large. Within the air receiver, the pressure is modulated to suit the demands of the application at hand.
In some factories, technicians place the air receiver before the air dryer. This way, lingering traces of oil and condensate are removed
from the process before it reaches the dryer. The downside to this arrangement is that the receiver is forced to hold denser supplies of
air. If the demand surpasses the capacity rating, the dryer might get overloaded and increase the dew point pressurization.
The other option is to place the receiver after the dryer. This way, spikes in demand are received with dry air. For protective purposes,
the ideal arrangement is to affix the supply side with two receivers. In this arrangement, the first receiver controls condensate dropout
while the second handles varying demand levels.
11. Choose the Right Dryer and Filter
importance of drying pressurized air is generally a misunderstood concept, even among people who mostly understand how to lower compressed
air system costs. Consequently, the systems put in place for this purpose are often inefficient. One of the most frequently asked
questions about filters and dryers concerns whether desiccant or refrigerant types are best. The question is usually followed by further
inquiries regarding regulators, lubricants and filtration levels.
12. Get a Professional Tune-up
Before these questions can be answered, the applications of your compressed air system must be taken into account. For example, the level of
your drying needs could depend on whether you operate in a humid environment. That said, certain principles apply in all cases. For
starters, never allow pressurized air to dry beyond the required level of the application, as doing so will make your operations more
costly. The more efficient option is to first use a refrigerant dryer and only apply further drying on an as-needed basis, as determined by
the application. To avoid additional pressure drop, limit your use of filters to the bare necessity.
One of the easiest ways to save money on compressed air energy is to pay for a professional tune-up of your air compressors and peripheral
parts. When you hire a third-party maintenance technician to come to your facility, that person will likely spot issues that your in-house
staff may overlook. Professional maintenance techs have inspected hundreds of different air compressors and know about all the common
mistakes that users make with these machines.
A professional technician will come to your facility with equipment and tools to evaluate and tighten up your system in all the weak spots.
If your connectors are loose, the technician will tighten these spots and run a test on the compressor to verify that the leaks have been
sealed. If your compressor is losing oil, the technician will diagnose the problem and rectify the situation, whether this involves a new
compartment or a new set of fasteners.
13. Select the Right Air Compressor
who really knows how to save energy in compressed air systems will stress the importance of choosing the right type of compressor for a
given set of applications. If your operations are large and high-volume, you will need a different kind of compressor than the type used
by companies that specialize in delicate products and vice versa. In any case, the four main compressor types are defined by the following
Variable speed drive: A VSD air compressor adjusts to speeds that suit the requirements of a given application, which makes this compressor
type suitable for trim applications.
Oil-free: As the name implies, oil-free compressors run without oil, which makes this compressor type the best choice for processes that
cannot tolerate any degree of oily mist, such as food packaging and spray painting.
Centrifugal: Compressors in this class are large units designed for high-capacity operations and are therefore suited for industrial
applications, such as the assembly of aircraft, automobiles and appliances.
Piston: These compressors are compact and easy to transport from one location to another, making them ideal for garage and autoshop work.
Who we are and how Ash Air can help your business!
Ash Air has been around in New Zealand since 1979, and we’ve grown into a nationwide company with international support and a
reputation for quality and reliability.We look after all things compressed air for your business!
Reciprocating, Screw, air compressors
An extensive line of air treatment components
Ash Air's range of Chicago Pneumatic, Alup, Pneumatech, and Quincy compressors are used extensively around the world in industries
ranging from oil and gas to food, automotive and farming, and we bring you these world class compressors here in the land of the long white
cloud.Our technicians are compressed air equipment experts and are dedicated to addressing customer needs. Supported by a 13 locations
nationwide, Ash Air offers one of the widest selections of compressed air equipment and parts available today in New Zealand.
Reliability and Efficiency
With Ash Air compressors, you can count on reliability and high performance for even the most demanding applications. We focus our
efforts on the following:
Intelligent Connectivity System (ICONS) is the eyes into your compressed air system. Ditch the logbooks, the regular visits to the
compressor room and dealing with surprises with your compressor. • Most maintenance organizations operate between 10% to 40% efficiency •
Most spend more than 50% of time on emergency work • Reactive maintenance costs 3-5 times more than preventive maintenance.
Compressed air is used in many different industries. From refrigerator manufacturers to toy makers, companies around the world depend on
compressed air to produce products. It's so important that many consider it a utility as significant as electricity, water or natural gas.
As part of a concerted effort worldwide to reduce energy consumption, CO2 emissions and the impact of industrial operations on the
environment, regulatory authorities in many countries have introduced legislation to encourage the manufacture and use ...
Air is always contaminated with solid particles such as dust, sand, soot, salt crystals and water as it leaves the compressor. An effective
compressed air treatment system lowers the dew point of the air and takes out the elements that may harm equipment downstream of the
compressor and dryer
The ambient temperature in an air compressor’s environment can greatly affect your air compressor’s performance. All air compressors will
generate some amount of water, but depending on inlet air conditions some can produce large amounts of water.