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What are the 4 ways compressed air systems waste energy & how do we go about it.

Eliminating leaks, over pressurization, misuse and pressure drop ensures efficient compressed air systems. The potential for energy savings are clear. In this article, we will elaborate on the four most common ways air is wasted after it leaves the compressor and how to fix them.

The 1st problem – Leak

Leaks are one of the key cause of energy waste in compressed air systems. By using an ultrasonic leak detector or simply listening for escaping air that would be one method of looking for leaks. More common leak sites are pipe joints, flanges, condensation traps, quick disconnects, fittings, filters, regulators and valves. Systems that are left pressurized when they are not in use can also leak. Besides wasting energy, leaks affect productivity when they cause system pressure to vary. Growing the pressure from the compressor to compensate fairly drives up energy use and can shorten the equipment’s service life. Thus, finding and fixing leaks pays off in more ways than just energy savings.

The 2nd  problem – Misuse

The second most mutual waste of energy is by using compressed air just because it is accessible, even when there are more resourceful power sources for the application. Here are some instances of potential misuse such as creating vacuum, ejecting faulty products from assembly lines as well as removing water, dirt or powder. Some processes need air, but not compressed air. If compressed air is essential, choose the correct equipment and control systems to keep usage to a minimum.

The 3rd problem – Over pressurization

Pressure regulators permits air to be distributed to each tool at its rated pressure. If there are no pressure regulators circulated throughout a system, it is likely that extreme pressure is being used and energy wasted. Do note that if the outlet pressure is the same as the inlet pressure, regulators are not helping save energy. Generally, reducing pressure on double-acting cylinders can save energy. To save energy with valves, decrease the applied pressure to the rated conductance of the valve.

The 4th problem – Pressure drop

 Pressure drop is generally referring to the loss of power available to do the work required. One of the best way to save energy is to discover and remove the cause of pressure drop at its source. Piping can also cause energy loss when there is a change in flow direction, such as at elbows, junctions and shut-off valves. One of the method to prevent pressure drop between a valve and actuator is to use an integrated valve/actuator unit. These integrated components combine the valves, flow controls, cushioning and sensors in the same package as the actuator. It also reduces or eliminates multiple valve islands, external components, tubing and accessories, so not only is pressure drop avoided, but less energy is required and there are fewer points vulnerable to leaks.

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