Aug 10, 2012
Air auditing reduces compressed-air costsBack
Artic Driers|Building|Compressors|Design|Eskom|Filtration|Flow|Measurement|Pipe|Pipes|Resources|System|Systems|Training|Waste|Water|Air Audit Equipment|Air Auditing|Air Systems|Electrical Energy|Electricity|Energy|Energy Consumption|Equipment|Flow|Maintenance|Oil-filtration Performance Monitoring|Pipes|Product|Products|Services|Solutions|Systems|Allen Cockfield|Power|Waste|Water|Pipe|Measurement |SMS
© Reuse this
“State-owned power utility Eskom is spending vast sums of money on building power stations while trying to get people to cut down on their energy consumption.
“We assist clients in doing so through this division, which measures how much electricity is being used to produce the air, as well as the air leakage, air usage and the quality of the compressed air,” says Artic Driers GM Allen Cockfield.
He says that compressed air, while being very versatile and a safe form of energy, can also be expensive. He emphasises that air auditing has become a vital tool for engineers in reducing waste and energy consumption.
Artic Driers has spent more than R650 000 on acquiring air audit equipment during the past four years.
“We frequently see undersized piping installed with the compressor house. This leads to pressure restrictions that create a low pressure scenario within the plant. To overcome this, operators will often start up more compressors, which further aggravates the problem, as the piping system is not capable of handling the flows.”
Compressors are notoriously expensive to operate. “For instance, a 200 kW compressor dryer will cost you more than R1-million to buy. In the first year of operation, you will spend about R1-million on electricity if the dryer runs for 24 hours, seven days a week,” he adds.
Further, air auditing can also be used for selecting new types of compressors that will be more efficient to operate. The Air Audit Divi- sion’s services include leak detection; compressor power consumption, air flow and pressure measurement; dew point measurement; oil-filtration performance monitoring; air system design; and air pipeline installation.
By reducing the number of leaks in a factory, the work done by the compressor is reduced, which saves energy and compressor maintenance costs.
Air Pressure Optimisation
When the correct size air pipeline is installed, it reduces pressure drops, which reduces the kilowatts used. This also reduces the air velocity, which, in turn, reduces the amount of contamination at the point of use.
“The velocity of the compressed air is an indication of the friction the air is incurring on the inside wall of the pipe, which creates pressure drops in the system. If you start at 7 bar in a compressor room and the pressure at the other end of the factory is 5.5 bar, this is undesirable and wastes expensive electrical energy.
“The British Compressed Air Society would recommend a velocity of between 4 m/s and 7 m/s as a good air velocity to aim for. If you have a badly designed pipe system, air velocities can reach a speed of 21 m/s, which is way too fast,” he says.
“It is important to know the needs, problems and challenges related to using air dryers to avoid incurring damage,” he says
The consistency of air quality is imperative and industry bodies and plant managers are starting to realise that dry air leads to higher uptimes, lower failure rates on pneumatic equipment, prevention of air-line contamination and a reduction in instrument failures.
“With the latest twelve-channel DS500 and three six-channel DS300 data loggers, we have the resources to provide compressed air data in multiaxis graphs as well as in Excel format for clients on multiple compressor houses simultaneously,” he says.
Air dew point monitoring allows clients to monitor the performance of dryers through easy-to-use plug-and-play dew point monitors.
SMS alerts can be used to inform the factory should there be a problem in the functioning of a dryer. The system is able to detect the pressure, flow, temperature, velocity, power and dew point of the dryer, as well as report on these functions.
“The cost of compressed-air auditing or monitoring is cheap, compared with the cost of compressed-air waste and substandard compressed-air treatment,” states Cockfield.
The development of skills and knowledge of the compressed-air industry is also crucially important for the company.
“There is still a lack of understanding on how much compressed air costs and how to solve problems faced in this industry.
“Artic undertakes presentations that will inform and educate industry players about the importance of training that will develop an understanding of the needs and functions of this sector.
“We do not have these training and mentorship schemes anymore and it is a real challenge to find and employ people who have the relevant skills in our industry,” concludes Cockfield.
Edited by: Chanel de Bruyn© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online
Other Foundries, Forges and Die-Casting News
Recent Research Reports
Steel 2015: A review of South Africa's steel sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Steel 2015 report provides an overview of the key developments in the global steel industry and particularly of South Africa’s steel sector over the past year, including details of production and consumption, as well as the country's primary carbon...
Projects in Progress 2015 - First Edition (PDF Report)
In fact, this edition of Creamer Media’s Projects in Progress 2015 supplement tracks developments taking place under the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme, which has had four bidding rounds. It appears to remain a shining light on the...
Electricity 2015: A review of South Africa's electricity sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Electricity 2015 report provides an overview of State-owned power utility Eskom and independent power producers, as well as electricity planning, transmission, distribution and the theft thereof, besides other issues.
Construction 2015: A review of South Africa’s construction sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Construction 2015 Report examines South Africa’s construction industry over the past 12 months. The report provides insight into the business environment; the key participants in the sector; local construction demand; geographic diversification;...
Liquid Fuels 2014 - A review of South Africa's Liquid Fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2014 Report examines these issues, focusing on the business environment, oil and gas exploration, the country’s feedstock supplies, the development of South Africa’s biofuels industry, fuel pricing, competition in the sector, the...
Water 2014: A review of South Africa's water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2014 report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context, but also in the African and global context, and examines the issues of water and sanitation, water quality and the demand for water, among others.
This Week's Magazine
While strongly welcoming the promulgation of the new Part 101 of South Africa’s civil aviation regulations, governing the commercial operation of civil remotely piloted aircraft (RPAs) in South Africa, the Commercial Unmanned Aircraft Association of Southern Africa...
LSM Distributors has contracted engineering consultancy WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff Africa to undertake the R100-million restoration of the 54-year-old Kyalami racetrack, situated in Midrand. The restoration will assist in re-establishing it as a venue for...
South African Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has expressed the hope that the defence budget will be significantly increased over the next five years. She did so while addressing the media in her recent budget vote media briefing. The 2015/2016 defence...
The African Development Bank (AfDB) has been an implementing agency for the Global Environment Facility (GEF) since 2008. The relatively young portfolio has 28 projects over 30 countries on the continent according to the 2014 AfDB and GEF annual report released...
Investment in South African youth through apprenticeships and learnerships will not only create direct benefits for businesses but will also contribute significantly to job creation and socioeconomic transformation in the country.