Performance, Precision, Partnership

Go Yellow, Be Green and reduce your energy consumption

Energy Efficiency

It is estimated that air compressors account for more than 10% of the total energy consumed by UK industry, but many of these are unfortunately old and inefficient. Whether you’re keen to be greener or you’re a UK manufacturer looking to reduce overheads by thousands of pounds, switching to the most energy efficient air compressors can help.

Here are 3 things to consider when updating your electric air compressors.

  • Screw air compressors or reciprocating air compressors?

Screw air compressors are more energy efficient with lower operating costs (and electricity bills) over their lifetime. The main difference in the technology is that screw air compressors use two meshing helical screws rather than pistons driven by a crankshaft (with a lot more moving parts).

You may have started out with a reciprocating air compressor (as they are usually cheaper), so perhaps now is the time to invest in a screw compressor to reduce costs in the long run and improve your environmental performance?

  • Energy efficient motors

The electricity used to power the motors accounts for most of the total energy used in an air compressor system, so motor efficiency is an important factor. Afterall, not all motors are created equal.

If you have a screw air compressor, make sure it features Super Premium Efficiency IE4 or IE3 motors that give exceptional power but use low amounts of electricity. HPC KAESER is currently the only compressed air systems provider to equip its compressors with Super Premium Efficiency IE4 motors as standard, thereby ensuring maximum performance and energy efficiency.

For reciprocating air compressors, premium quality IE3 motors still provide outstanding performance and efficiency. They reduce energy losses, on average, by 40% compared to conventional motors. They also operate at significantly lower temperatures compared to conventional motors, yielding significant energy savings, as well as enhanced reliability and service life.

In pounds and pence this means a 15kW machine in an automotive setting running 2,000 hours per year would cost £3,000 per year to run. A 40% saving as quoted above would be £1,200 per year. A machine like this would cost around £6,000 so the ROI on energy alone would be 5 years. Plus you are saving the planet and have a shiny new “Yellow” machine with a 5 year warranty.

For a larger factory with a standard 45kW machine running 8,000 hours per year, the cost to run is normally about £36,000 per year, a 40% saving (with a new compressor) would be £14,400, an ROI of about 2 years.

  • Energy-saving control

A sophisticated air compressor control system is where some of the biggest energy savings in a system can be achieved, with energy management systems able to identify wastage and take action.

Sigma Manager

At HPC, the SIGMA AIR MANAGER 4.0 (SAM 4.0) - Master Controller (central intelligence) and SIGMA CONTROL 2 (SC2 & SC2IO) - Compressor Controllers (local intelligence) ensures efficient interplay between all components in the compressed air system. The capabilities of an intelligent computer are needed to perform such a complex task, including:

  • Ongoing reduction of energy consumption throughout the entire life cycle of the system
  • Control of individual components within a compressed air station
  • Compressed air and compressed air cost management
  • Communication between a wide range of system components

HPC Kaeser

One example is on the integrated refrigeration dryer on HPC’s BSD-T units which provides high efficiency performance thanks to its energy-saving control. The dryer is active only when compressed air actually needs to be dried. This approach therefore achieves the required compressed air quality with maximum efficiency.

Not ready to invest?

And if you aren’t ready to invest in new air compressor systems, there are still some simple ways to potentially reduce your energy consumption. You can simply switch off compressors when there is no demand for air, fix any leaks, recover some of the heat you are wasting with retrofit systems, and make behavioural changes with new processes to ensure staff only use the air they actually need.

Optimising efficiency and reduce costs on your site - contact your local HPC dealer now for support and advice.