Compressed air measurement equipment

Measurement equipment and the art of cost efficiency

30 jun 2021

Small things can add up over time. Given that compressed air accounts for as much as 75% of the energy cost of a compressed air system, monitoring basic parameters is the first step to big savings.

The example of a medium-sized plant in Table 1 shows that leakages claim as much as 30% of energy costs. But compressed air losses don’t stop with plugging leakages.

There are other parameters to observe: flow, dew point, pressure, temperature, power and air quality. Pneumatech’s easy-to-install range of sensors helps you monitor these parameters on the run and make the necessary interventions.

Compressed air is quite expensive!
Example
Medium-sized production plant  
Company size 200 employees
Typical compressor capacity 16m3/min = 960m3/h (565 cfm)
Efficiency factor 80% including night-idling
Electrical power input 100kW
Daily operation time 2 shift operation / 16 h
Annual operation time 276 days = 4416h
Energy costs 4416 h x 80 kW x 0.11 €
   38,000€
 
Leakages Approximately 20% to 30% of the total consumption, this is typical for old plants
  approx. 10,000 €

What energy monitoring looks like?

  • When the operating pressure is increased by just 1 bar, it leads to an increase of 6%–10% in energy costs. So it’s important to keep operating pressure as low as possible.
  • An analysis of the load/unload performance shows that there is 30% input even when supply is at 0%. So it’s important to have an energy-efficient system. The compressed air plant should have more load hours and only a few unload hours.
  • Measure the flow on weekends. You might find there is still a flow of 100 cubic meters per hour flow. This is caused by leakages.

Energy monitoring in the compressor station

Figure 2. Energy monitoring in the compressor station

You can start by measuring the efficiency of the compressor with the power meter (in this example, PMH PM 5110). Then, you can measure the pressure dew point (for instance, the PDP Check) to check whether the fridge dryer is really delivering the required dried air. Some low-cost dryers hardly reach the ideal level of 3°C/37°F, sometimes going up to 10°C–15°C/50°F - 59°F .

Measuring pressure is also important because if the pressure downstream from the compressor/receiver is low, it will result in a pressure drop in the installation. It is also possible to measure the differential pressure of a filter; we fit our filters with a differential pressure gauge.

Flow meters can be used to check energy use, help in the control of leaks and plan for maintenance. Compared to other calorimetric measuring instruments, the Flow Check S3/ S4 sensor is completely wired and has a considerably lower mass and therefore a faster response time.

Leakages are the biggest waste of energy in compressed air systems. Pneumatech’s Leak Check series gives you all the functionality needed to detect inefficiencies, measure energy and determine potential for energy savings.

All readings at a glance

So you have all your sensors set up. You won’t have to visit each sensor to read them. Pneumatech Chart Recorders offer the convenience of viewing all the readings at a single glance. All sensors are identified directly and powered by Check Box S6, which allows for the recording of measured data, display on a 7" color screen with touch panel, alerting, storage, and remote read-out via webserver.

All our sensors, as well as any third-party sensors and meters, can be connected to our Chart Recorders. The broad category of sensors offered by Pneumatech include the following:

Flow sensors: These sensors are usable for different gases: compressed air, nitrogen, argon, carbon dioxide and oxygen.

Dew point sensors: These sensors are long-term and stable with quick adaption time and large measuring range. Our dew point sensors can be used with all driers: desiccant driers, membrane driers, refrigeration driers.

Pressure sensors: We offer a large selection of pressure sensors with different measuring ranges for each measuring purpose.

Temperature sensors: You can choose from our large selection of temperature sensors for the measurement of the ambient temperature or gas temperature.

Compressed air quality measurement: This monitors compressed air for the presence of residual oil, particles and residual moisture, according to ISO 8773.

Current/effective power meters: The PMH  PM 5110 measures voltage and current and calculates the active power [kW], the apparent power [kVA], the reactive power [kVar] and the active energy.

Intuitive software that brings it all together

The PMH Basic Data software makes all the data available to users in graphic and table form. Its intuitive operation allows for all important functions to be retrieved via the dashboard. Users can view the minimum or maximum measured values, the time and the length of occurrence at a glance. For better visualization, the measurement diagrams are indicated in color. The software issues a consumption report for all connected flow sensors at daily, weekly or monthly intervals. Depending on the device, data transfer is done either via USB stick or Ethernet connection.

That puts the power of intervention in your hands.

To know more about how you can make your compressor station more cost-efficient, explore our proven measuring technology. Get in touch with us at support-eu@pneumatech.com

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