Exploring Optimization: Standards And Certifications For Compressed Air Audits

EXAIR Corporation has devoted almost 37 years to manufacturing engineered products aimed at the most efficient, quietest, and safest use of compressed air.  Sometimes, a caller has recognized that an open pipe blow off, for example, is loud, wasteful, and unsafe, and just wants to install an engineered product that they know will be an improvement.  They may not be interested in precisely quantifying the savings…they’ll just notice that their lone air compressor runs less, and their electric bill isn’t as high anymore.

Others, however, may have a compressed air system that comprises multiple compressors, with advanced controls, and they may have specific operational goals in regard to how the individual compressors are loaded and controlled, or maybe even eliminating the need to run particular compressors all the time…or at all.

The skills & knowledge necessary to handle such a task are within the confines of discipline of mechanical engineering, but oftentimes, specialized training is needed to effectively conduct an audit in order to formulate an execute such an optimization plan.  If you’re interested in pursuing this training, or working with trained personnel, here’s a brief description of the training that’s available, and how you can find people that have been through it:

  • The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) publication “Guidance for ASME EA-4, Energy Assessment for Compressed Air Systems” details the requirements for performing an audit.  Since there are so many configurations of compressed air systems, it’s not a “step by step” procedure, but it IS handy for developing one, if you know how.  Speaking of which…
  • The Compressed Air & Gas Institute (CAGI) offers training & certification in two categories:
    • Certified Compressed Air System Specialists (CCASS) – these are qualified experts who have demonstrated competence (by means of a comprehensive examination) in skills and abilities relating to the design, service, sales, and installation of compressed air systems & equipment.
    • Certified Compressed Air System Assessors (CCASA) – in addition to CCASS certification, these individuals has passed another comprehensive examination, verifying their knowledge and skills as practitioners performing assessments (audits) of compressed air systems.

Both of these certifications comply with the ISO 17024 Conformity Assessment standard, which governs General Requirements for Bodies Operating Certification of Persons in any field of endeavor.  This means that, not only have certified personnel all passed the same tests regardless of where they are, but the tests they’ve passed meet stringent standards for examining knowledge level and competence in these fields.

Bottom line: if you want an in-depth, accurate evaluation of the efficiency of your compressed air system, experts are available.  The Compressed Air & Gas Institute even publishes directories so you can find them in your area.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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Parts of a Compressed Air System – Where EXAIR Fits In

Founded as the American Society of Mechanical Engineers in 1880 in response to numerous steam boiler pressure vessel failures, ASME is now a multidisciplinary and global organization. ASME is one of the oldest standards developing organizations in the world, producing approximately 600 standards covering many technical areas, such as boiler components, elevators, measurement of fluid flow in closed conduits, cranes, hand tools, fasteners, and machine tools.

ASME has developed some information about compressed air, in ASME EA4 they divide a compressed air system into 3 sub-systems; Supply, Transmission, and Demand.

  1. Supply: conversion of primary energy resource to compressed air energy. … includes generation, treatment, primary storage, piping, controls, performance measurement equipment, and reporting systems.
  2. Transmission: movement of compressed air energy from where it is generated to where it is used…. includes distribution piping mainline and branch headers, piping drops, secondary storage, treatment, transmission controls, performance measurement equipment and reporting systems.
  3. Demand: the total of all compressed air consumers including productive end use and various forms of compressed air waste…. includes all end uses, point-of-use piping, secondary storage, treatment, point-of-use controls, performance measurement equipment, and reporting systems.

All three subsystems can be dealt with individually in order to produce efficiency gains within your own system. EXAIR is vital when focusing upon the DEMAND sub-system, specifically point of use. ASME defines the point of use as “where compressed air energy is converted to mechanical work or accomplishes a production related task.”

Why is EXAIR vital? Because EXAIR manufactures some of the most efficient point of use compressed air blow off products in the world. Too many production processes use open pipes, crimped nipples, drilled holes and other home-made contraptions to convert compressed air energy to mechanical work – these solutions are simply as inefficient, loud and potentially dangerous as it gets.

EXAIR’s engineered products focus on and improve the three features any home-made solution fails to completely address; air consumption efficiency, noise level safety , and outlet pressure safety. This family of blow off products includes our Super Air Knives, Super Air Amplifiers and Air Nozzles to mention a few.

The DEMAND sub-system of your compressed air system can provide some of the largest quantifiable improvement in your compressed air system. Don’t ignore those home-made solutions, let EXAIR assist you with retrofitting your current point of use applications and you will begin to see, and hear quick improvements.

Kirk Edwards
Application Engineer
kirkedwards@exair.com