Reduce energy costs with a compressed air flow meter
Sep 09 2020 Read 1017 Times
When you find out at home that you are using too much water, what do you do? Find the problem and fix it. What if this happened at your plant? And instead of water, we are dealing with compressed air, as it is far more expensive. And how to find the problem? The solution: a flow meter!
Gaining insight into your compressed air system is crucial because contrary to what some people think, air is not free at all. In an average production plant, compressed air costs take up 10 to 30% of the electricity bill! That much money should not allow for leakages or an inefficient production process. Fortunately, there is an easy way to detect losses in your compressed air system: a compressed air flow meter.
Gaining insight into your energy flow: get the complete picture
What exactly is a compressed air flow meter? You can compare it to an electricity or gas meter. It shows how much energy is used (in this case compressed air). The flow meter is placed in a strategic place. E.g. on the main line, right where the compressed air enters the factory. Or at a department level, to measure how much air goes to a specific department.
Just measuring flow or pressure does not tell you the entire story though. VPInstruments’ flow meters are 4-in-1: they measure bi-directional mass flow, temperature, pressure and total flow. You need the complete picture to understand what is really going on.
For example: a pressure drop can be caused by excessive flow through an undersized pipe, or air demand which exceeds compressor capacity. A sudden rise in temperature tells you something may be wrong with your drier.
For some production processes it is critical to maintain a steady pressure or to keep pressure at a certain level. Just “to keep it safe”, this resulted in some cases in a higher pressure than necessary. In those cases, it would be much better to eliminate the pressure fluctuations, which enables you to lower the overall pressure of the entire plant. As a rule of thumb, 1 bar lower pressure equals an energy savings of 7%!
So, to optimise your production process, you first need to gain insight. You get just that by installing a four-in-one compressed air flow meter.
Information from the inside
By installing your flow meters at strategic places, you gain crucial information that will help to set priorities and to back up your decisions with numbers. E.g. how much energy you use on weekdays and how much on weekends. You can also compare one week of data to the next, using advanced monitoring software, like VPVision. In this way you might discover that an excessive leak has caused an increase of your baseline. This knowledge allows you to quickly take action. Imagine how many weak spots you can discover (and solve) thanks to a compressed air flow meter!
A flow meter for every situation
Read the complete article here.
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