In an era where manufacturing and process plants are under increasing pressure from soaring energy bills and ever-tightening CO2 emissions legislation, it begs the question: is there a way to reduce my energy consumption quickly without compromising efficiency or output? The short answer is yes, with the right advice and expertise.
By Jeff Careless, Business Development Manager – Continuous Improvement, SMC UK
Energy and carbon footprint have long-proved a hot topic for users of compressed air as it represents as much as 20% of all factory power consumption. Here, based on our experience, we set out five ways that deliver fast and effective energy reductions.
Relieve the pressure
The first way is to reduce the pressure of your compressed air system where possible. For most industrial plants, typical operating pressure is between 6 and 7 bar. By lowering your pressure to 4 bar, energy consumption reduces by up to 29%. However, expert input is required to avoid compromising performance.
We’ve encountered plants suffering from 20-50% leakage rates, driving up energy consumption and bills. The optimal way to identify leaks is by appointing an expert company to undertake an audit, ideally twice a year. However, for those seeking a quicker route to improvements, shut-off solenoid valves prevent air losses to leaks even when machines are idle. Other solutions include a two-pressure module which switches to a lower pressure during machine idle periods, vastly reducing leakage, or the new plug and play SMC Air Management System, for example.
SMC´s Air Management System Level up your compressed air management
Did you know that air-blow tasks are accountable for more than 40% of your factory air consumption, thus offering a real savings opportunity? Here, sizing your blow nozzles correctly, coupled with a reduction in factory pressure, delivers good results. Further initiatives in this area include better use of regulators to ensure you only use the amount of air necessary. Pulse-blow valves, which switch the air blow on/off very quickly while maintaining the force of the blow, offer another great way to reduce your air consumption, sometimes up to 50%.
SMC´s Pulse Blow Valve – Save on blowing air
Efficient vacuum systems
If you have machinery using air-generated vacuum pick and place applications, the use of vacuum ejectors with multiple Venturi and air switch-off energy-saving technology reduces air consumption by up to 93%.
SMC´s Vacuum Unit – The all-in-one silent energy saving solution
We always say at SMC that energy and cost efficiency is deliverable through many small actions. Choosing components wisely makes a big difference. For example, adding power-saving circuits to your solenoid valves, a speed controller to your cylinders or using triple inverter technology in your thermo-chillers, eases energy bills.
From our experience we know that these five tips reduce energy bills, fast. The only caveat is tapping into the right advice and expertise. So don’t delay: ask our experts to help start your energy-reduction project.