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Compressed air is one of the most popular forms of energy that many people use for industrial purposes.
The type, model, motor power rating, size, control mechanisms, system design, uses, and maintenance of the air compressor are all factors that influence its efficiency.
Moreover, the most prominent reason for the inefficiency of an air compressor is the loss of heat generated from the high temperature of pressurized air. The friction due to the system’s dynamic parts also plays a part in this.
If you want maximum efficiency, you have to evaluate the entire system, including air storage tanks, air dryers, supply lines, receivers, and after-coolers.
Here are the ways through which you can maximize the efficiency of your air compressor.
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Table of Contents
1. Optimize the Air Compressor Controls
The controls of your air compressor are the intermediary between the demanded load and the compressor’s output. That’s why matching the controls to the tool’s capacity is very vital.
Compressors work by delivering a specific volume of air in a certain range of pressure, and the controls regulate this process and make them stop when they reach the required range.
And on the contrary, they set a minimum pressure at which the compressor kicks back on.
It’s always better to have a control system that delivers consistent pressure that is closer to the minimum than the maximum. This is because high pressure can put a lot of strain on the system when it’s sustained for long periods.
And here are the ways through which you can optimize your controls:
Start and Stop Controls
These act as cues to the compressor to turn on or off, according to the desired pressure.
Load and Unload Controls
These work in tandem with start and stop controls. Together, they tell the compressor to release pressure.
Modulating controls allow you to set standards for your compressor to monitor its own needs such as flow.
Multi-step controls give your compressor the ability to function without a full pressure load.
Dual and Auto Dual Controls
These controls enable the user to choose between the start and stop or load and unload switches.
Enables the tool to function in various conditions of partial load.
Variable Speed Drive
This drive creates power in the motor that gets rid of quantized output and enables the engine to work with multiple levels of demand.
System Master Controls
This set of controls gives the user an increased ability to maximize the device’s efficiency.
They’re suitable for more complex systems where the localized controls aren’t enough to run the system.
High-quality master controls can even provide trends and analytics to help you adjust the system.
Pressure and Flow Controllers
These work as extra storage of energy, supplying the compressor with a quick stock if there is a dip in pressure.
By optimizing these controls, you’ll enhance the operation of your air compressor.
2. Enhance Your Overall System Design
The design of your air compressor plays a huge role in how efficiently it runs.
Here are some tips to help you streamline the design of your system:
Choose the Appropriate Size for the Distribution System
To ensure the best flow and pressure delivery to further locations, you should get a compressed air distribution system of the right size and material.
If you’re planning on expansion, getting a bigger distribution system from the get-go can save you thousands of dollars down the line.
Minimize Bends and Angles in the Flow Path
Sharp turns to increase the amount of friction in the compressed air. Consequently, inducing heat that inflicts damage on the compressor’s parts leads to higher pressure drops.
Get a Recovery System
The heat produced by an air compressor steals away most of the energy and leads to operation at a lower efficiency.
That’s why using a heat recovery system is a good idea as it can recover almost all of the lost power.
The system then leaves you the freedom to use it for warming your workspace or use it for other applications.
Use a Storage Tank
Storage tanks allow air supply to supplement the system if necessary. Therefore, they reduce the overall curve of air pressure delivery.
If you’re going to use a storage tank, make sure you get one that matches the size, horsepower, and applications of your compressor.
Enhance the Quality of Incoming Air
It’s better if you cool down the incoming air using a heat exchanger or any other method. This drastically reduces the energy consumption of your tool.
Use Multiple Small Compressors
The higher the workload you put on a single compressor, the lower its efficiency is. That’s why you should consider installing multiple smaller compressors instead of a single large one.
You can synchronize them by using the system master controls, making only some compressors work when the load decreases.
Get Rid of Any Leaks
The leaks in your system can result in lower pressures at points of use as well as strain the compressor to work harder and longer to maintain the system’s pressure.
A reliable leak management system can reduce the cost of operation by up to 25 or 30%.
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3. Minimize Pressure Drops
Pressure drops can happen for different reasons, but reducing them can make a world’s difference when it comes to how efficiently your air compressor runs.
Use Proper Pipe Sizes
The quality of your compressor’s functions can be affected if you use pipes of the wrong size between the equipment and distribution headers.
Make sure your piping system can handle the maximum flow rates –not just the average ones.
Moisture inside your compressing system can lead to condensation, which eventually leads to rust.
And if there’s rust, there’ll be a lot of leaks and increased resistance against the flow.
That’s why you should always drain your system and use drying equipment.
Clean the Filters
If dirt stands in the way of air filters, it obstructs the system from drawing air inside. This leads to drops in pressure.
To avoid this hassle, keep a schedule for filter replacement.
Ensure Low-Pressure Drops
When you’re shopping for items such as separators, filters, regulators, dryers, lubricators, connections, after-coolers, or hoses, make sure you get the ones with the lowest possible pressure drop.
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4. Regularly Maintain Your Equipment
Set up a schedule according to which you provide your equipment with proper maintenance to maximize its efficiency in the long term.
Maintenance includes detecting leaks, cleaning or replacing filters, checking on pipes, and getting rid of moisture.