We Have Compressed Air But Do Not Know Where It Goes…

Do you have what you would consider a reasonable amount of air compressor capacity in your facility, but no matter what you do, it seems there are times of the day that you simply cannot keep up with demand and don’t know where the demand is coming from?

I was recently fortunate enough to visit a large paper mill who had this exact problem. It never failed, they would have a large draw on the compressor system that would drop the overall system pressure below a critical point for some machines within the plant. Once below, those machines would shut down and then the maintenance staff have to scramble to figure out the problem. Needless to say, they did not get any help from production workers from other departments to assist them in understanding the nature of the compressed air problem so they could head off future incidents.

On the day of our visit, I introduced the Digital Flow Meter from our Optimization product line. At that point, this issue with the system collapsing due to low compressed air pressure came to mind for the engineering staff. They came up with the plan to install a Digital Flow Meter at various strategic locations within the facility to monitor flow going to each department within the whole process.

In this way, they are able to break the whole compressed air system down into more manageable sized sectors that can be monitored for compressed air usage. They are also planning to use data loggers at each location to catch the culprit of the large air demand so that sufficient measures can be put into place to keep the low pressure condition from causing further down time. In this way, the engineering department can check the flow meters to see where the demand is coming from and do not need to enlist the help of uncooperative production workers.

This customer also apparently has an internal accounting system in which they assign energy use costing to each department. By monitoring the compressed air use for each department, the customer now has a reasonable and accurate method by which they can assign their costs associated with compressed air production across each department.

The next step in their process would be to look at individual applications within each sector to determine if further air savings could be had by applying engineered nozzles, etc.

Thought this scenario would be repeated many times over out there in the land of manufacturing. If you find yourself in the same situation, perhaps now you have a tool to help you out. Our stock flow meters are available for 1 NPT and 2 NPT pipe sizes. Sizes 1/2 NPT through 6 NPT are also available by order.

Neal Raker
Application Engineer

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