Turn The Pressure Down & Save Money

In the past your typical industrial air compressor was rated to run at 100 psi and it was not often that this pressure was exceeded.  Lately with modern advances pressures have slowly crept up and have surpassed this threshold.  Unfortunately this has proven costly to the industrial user of compressed air.

To clarify this point, if a compressed air system is set to maintain 102 psi it will cost the plant 1% more in electric costs than if the system ran at 100 psi.  Also noteworthy is that unregulated air demands consume about 1% more flow for every psi of additional pressure.

So why is the air pressure getting so high and what can you do about it?  Here are some possible causes and solutions:

Devices that do require more than 100 psi:  It may not be the pneumatic device at all. If these devices are connected with restrictive fittings or there are excessive leaks in the system this can cause up to a 30 psi increase in line pressure just to make up for the poor piping. If this can be corrected it is possible that the pressure can be reduced.

EXAIR offers the Ultrasonic Leak Detector to facilitate tracking down hard to find system leaks and a wide variety of Air KnivesAir Amplifiers, Super Air Wipes, Air Nozzles, Line Vacs, Vacuum Generators and all of them are engineered to provide peak performance at 80 psi and make efficient use of compressed air. Though it is not uncommon for these products to provide a solution at much less pressure.

EXAIR 9061, Ultrasonic Leak Detector

Applications that are believed to be high pressure:  Plant workers sometimes think that a higher air pressure is required than actually necessary.  This can be caused by a lack of training or perhaps the trainers are simply repeating what they have been taught in error.  It is good practice to review all locations that are using a higher pressure to determine if it is really necessary.

Loss due to undersize pipes:  If your plants compressed air supply lines are undersized for the volume demand, this can cause a significant restriction and raise the line pressure.  The EXAIR Digital Flow Meter can assist in recording how much demand is for a given point in time which will clarify usage.

EXAIR Digital Flow Meter


Filter/Dryer restrictions:  If the Dryer or Filter/Separators are dirty and/or undersized the compressor operating pressure is typically raised to overcome these restrictions.  EXAIR has six sizes of Filter/Separators to ensure they are properly sized for the SCFM required by the devices that are connected to them.  Five of the models feature an automatic drain system and of course we carry the replacement filter elements and rebuild kits to keep them in top operating condition.

Temporary demands: There may be occasional peak compressed air demands in the plant that may be caused by a different or special compressed air process or machine. If the demand is greater than the supply, the pressure may be pulled down to unacceptably low levels.  In an attempt to make up for the increased demand a plant may raise the operating pressures.  The best way to cope with temporary demands is to install a receiver tank that stores compressed air that can be released when the demand calls for it.

EXAIR 9500-60, 60 Gallon Receiver Tank

Factory default settings:  It is common for compressor manufacturers to set the air pressure at or very near the maximum pressure rating for that compressor.  There is no reason for this other than to verify that the air compressor will perform at its rated maximum pressure.  To save on air and maintenance costs the compressor should be set only as high as the maximum pressure for approved uses in the facility.

In the compressed air industry, EXAIR provides tools and products with quick payback times.

If you would like to discuss increasing the efficiency of your compressed air usage, quieter compressed air products and/or any EXAIR product,  I would enjoy hearing from you…give me a call.

Steve Harrison
Application Engineer
Send me an email
Find us on the Web 
Follow me on Twitter
Like us on Facebook

Taking Professional Advice

I have an old house, turn of the last century, plaster and lath walls, remnants of knob and tube wiring, blocked over fireplaces in every room – old! Wiring in houses this old can be brittle which can make installing new ceiling fans tricky. First the ceiling is ten feet so you may be high on the ladder, and every time you need something from below you have to get a helper, carry a tool belt or climb down the ladder. Now if you are an experienced electrician, you have a tool belt filled with exactly what you need and a little extra. Cooks call this Mise en Place. My old man called it having your stuff together.

I don’t do it very well, so I have to climb down the ladder often. I tried to get a helper, but my nine month old son had trouble differentiating between a flat head screw driver and chew toy and wire nuts are clearly a choking hazard. Speaking of wire nuts. They seem to be such an innocuous widget. A wire nut is a wire nut. I have never thought much about them. Well it turns out that after the brittle wire has broken inside the wall. And then you drop the fifteenth wire nut, because it wouldn’t grab your old brittle wire. You spend some time thinking about the wire nuts as you are writing the check to the electrician. He might recommend an expensive brand of wire nuts that he uses that work great in these old houses. He gave me about twenty extra for my next attempt at electrical work, so I have a start on my electrical Mise en Place, but the next problem will probably involve plumbing…

Ceiling fan
Not my house, but similar.

Wire nuts remind me of air nozzles to some degree. They are such simple products but provide tremendous protection, and utility. There is also an incredible amount of brands, styles, and sizes. It is easy to think that the nozzle that comes installed on the thumb gun works great for home use, why should you spend time or money in investing in an upgrade. For the professional electrician, the expensive wire nuts made his day easier, more productive and his final installation safe. If you need to use compressed air to clean, dry or cool your parts, investing in an intelligent compressed air product will make the application quieter, more efficient and more effective.

Nozzle Lineup
EXAIR Engineered Solutions

EXAIR Super Air Nozzles are engineered solutions that meet OSHA requirements for dead end pressure – this makes them safe. The air nozzles utilize the Coanda effect to amplify compressed air flow up to 25 times – this makes them more effective. The small orifices build up pressure inside the supply the line in order to produce higher velocities – this makes the engineered air nozzles more efficient. Stop using cheap inefficient nozzles, think about your tools, and use what the professionals use.

Dave Woerner
Application Engineer


Ceiling Fan Photo Courtesy of Kevin GalensCreative Commons License