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Importance of Compressed Air Efficiency Measurement : Week 2/1/2012

In the last article, we discussed about major problem areas that the plants face in terms of compressed air. We are, by now, clear that Compressed Air, in any plant, can be a very costly affair if not controlled properly. Firstly, the compressed air is costlier to produce than steam & secondly, it gets wasted very silently through various leakage points. In this article, let’s try to (a) quantify the cost of compressed air leakage, (b) see why one should meter the compressed air - are there any benefits?

Costs Involved:

Only 10 to 30% of energy reaches the point of end-use. Balance 90 – 70% of energy is lost in the form of unusable heat energy and to a lesser extent, lost in form of friction, misuse and noise. There is a scope to convert at least 20% of this lost energy into usable form by proper maintenance of the compressor.

Data from both these these tables reveal how important it is to monitor the compressed air consumption in your plant. However, unless it is measured accurately, one can’t control it accurately.

What could be the benefits?

  • If you are able to accurately measure the amount of compressed air (FAD) that is getting delivered from the compressor, it is easier to find the actual consumption at important usage points & the wastage or leakage.
  • You can reconcile the compressed air generation & be able to decide the consumption patterns
  • You can reduce downtime through preventive maintenance, as you will be able to accurately know where the air is getting wasted/leaked
  • You can avoid periodical overhauls when these are not called for
  • It will help you to arrive at your product costing in more accurate manner
  • You can have better process control resulting in enhanced product quality

In our next article, we will discuss on how can we measure the accurate FAD at the discharge point of the compressor with on-line pressure & temperature compensation.