Saving energy in air compressors through master control
Your compressed air system will benefit greatly from the use of a master controller system, but more importantly, you can have substantial savings while improving performance!
Let’s go down to basics; most compressed air systems in industrial applications are using individual controls which, while improved, have little authority over the entire structure of your compressed air system. Individual compressor controls have greatly improved through the years, and good individual controls are great for each machine’s maintenance – preventative or remedial – but the modern industrial installations require an additional, higher, level of control.
Compressed air installations do suffer from maladies that are common and appear in very high frequency. The independent operation of air compressors will invariably result in inconsistent pressure, but also waste energy through various avenues. For instance, it is very common to see more machines than necessary running simultaneously, operators running compressors at higher pressures than needed, in order to compensate for leaks, or excessive idling. Such operating settings also have the unintended effect of increasing wear and lead to unnecessary maintenance.
Master control is the modern way to operate an industrial air system installation by unifying the monitoring and control of all air compressors and ancillary equipment. State of the art master controllers have the ability to know each compressor’s type and characteristics, as well as receive data from pressure sensors all over the installation, taking control and energy efficiency to unprecedented levels.
The air system of any installation can benefit greatly from a master controller, improving the pressure stability of the system but also its reliability. Obviously, the primary goal of any such control system is to maintain the air pressure within specified limits. A master controller will be able to do so very efficiently, keeping the system pressure within a very narrow pressure range, but also monitor the change in air pressure and determine the momentary flow demand. Calculating the most efficient reaction to every change, the master controller will be able to use the most energy-efficient way to respond. Knowledge of each compressor’s characteristics is crucial for that operation, which is why modern master controllers are programmable, allowing the operators to input each compressor’s data such as capacity and motor power, amongst others.
Moreover, a master controller will have many connection options and the appropriate software to allow the analysis of historical data, in order to allow in-depth performance and energy efficiency analysis. This will allow the user to determine if the system is in need of upgrade, if some part of the system is inefficient and needs replacement by something newer or more efficient, and in case of an upgrade, the most effective way to achieve it.
The modern industry is all about access to information and augmented smart control. The past decade has seen substantial evolution in the technologies of compressed air applications. We live in the age of smartphones and abundant computing power. Leveraging that technology will not only make a compressed air system more stable and efficient, it will also deliver substantial energy savings, which translate directly to lower operating cost.