How Low Can Your Compressed Air System Go?
The majority of Compressed air assessment professionals and service providers know that there is no standard pressure for the industrial market. One plant needs 90 psi, the next can’t do without 100 psi, the next needs 110, and some run with levels upwards to 140 to 150 psi.
In the early days, typical industrial air compressors were never rated higher than 100 psi and quite a few systems run in the 70 to 90 psi range. The higher pressure trend is costing industrial users money, sometimes for no reason, and cutting into their profits.
A Compressed air follows the laws of physics, for every extra psi in compressed air pressure, you must expend extra energy requirement. Where does this energy go? It transforms as heat, which most plants blow outdoors. In the majority of cases, this extra energy expenditure is done for no reason; the air compressor end uses consume much lower pressure than the air compressor is producing.
However, pressure loss often occurs in compressed air piping, air dryers, filters, connectors, regulators, and hoses.
Also if your air compressor system is running at pressures of well above 100 psi, you should investigate why it could save you thousands in wasted power costs.
Some things to consider:
First, you should know what end uses are requiring high pressure. often there will be a restriction within the machine itself which can be corrected.
Second, you must measure the pressure loss between the main header and the compressed air powered machine or tool.
Third, you should observe pressure gauges any that are showing large deflections in pressure when machines or tools operate are showing symptoms of a pressure loss problem.
Fourth you must control pressure along the main header because many plants have undersized main piping causing large pressure gradients.
Finally don’t forget to compare the compressor discharge pressure with the pressure coming out of the compressor room.
Plants that really care about their compressed air costs will be running in the 90 psi range of lower.
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