How to Save Money and Optimize Your Compressed Air Systems Using Master Controllers
The Real Cost of Compressed Air
As compressed air is used in a huge range of industrial operations, it is critical to understand the cost implications that come with its use and even misuse. The energy created through the use of compressed air is commonly used in many different ways from manufacturing uses to oil-free sensitive breathing air.
It can also be used for a range of tasks as simple as spraying dust off a product with an air gun, or as complicated as helping assist a robotic arm in production. In fact, compressed air is often considered the fourth utility in industrial operations, after electricity, water, and natural gas.
This all makes compressed air one of the most cost-intensive aspects of plant operations. Most industrial plants do not have reliable data on their compressed air demands and generation, so demand is often estimated after considering the number of square feet a process uses, rather than the actual need. Plus, multiple units often run simultaneously, without any output enhancement.
To address these less-than-strategic approaches to air management, master controllers can be hugely valuable for facilitating system optimization, allowing multiple compressor units to share data so that plant operators have all the information necessary to make the most informed decisions for optimal system performance and reliability.
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Optimizing System Output with Master Controllers
Simply put, master controllers allow for the consolidation of data from various compressed air systems in an industrial plant. This data, along with load variation analysis, can be hugely helpful in system-wide decision-making processes.
For instance, using this data, it’s possible to run compressed air systems to satisfy real-time compressed air requirements. Since these requirements can change daily, or even from one shift to the next, this approach can allow for significant energy savings. Consolidating all compressed air units to use a single master controller platform also ensures that no unit is running when it doesn’t need to be.
Master controllers allow compressed air demands to be met throughout all plant operations using the most effective combination of compressed air units. Plus, the real-time reporting can help in determining the optimal maintenance schedule for the units while allowing operators to easily assess equipment condition and plan for scheduled maintenance operations — before a system failure occurs. Since master controllers collect so much data, operators are able to thoroughly analyze output and ensure the smoothest, most efficient operations possible.
In this way, air compression controls can also help eliminate the costs associated with unplanned downtime. Although master controllers require investment upfront, the optimization of compressed air units can allow for significant cost savings over time.
Selecting the Right Controller System
Choosing the right type of master controller is essential for ensuring optimal efficiency and cost savings. Plant managers should keep a few key factors in mind when selecting a controller.
First, they should identify the proper performance indicators; these should be both measurable and impactful. Managers should also determine the energy needed for generating the required amount of compressed air. This is usually measured in kW/100 cfm, and should be measured and monitored regularly; this will allow operators to set benchmarks across systems in order to easily compare and analyze outputs. This, in turn, can aid in overall system-performance assessments, allowing operators to identify signs of trouble before serious issues occur.
Other factors — such as plans for plant expansion and the number of systems operating simultaneously — should also be carefully considered before choosing a specific master controller.
Master Controllers from Compressed Air Systems
Compressed Air Systems is proud to carry master controllers from some of the most respected manufacturers in the world. We offer Kaeser controllers and Beko solutions, as well as our own basic sequencers for reciprocating compressors. We can also create custom-made controllers to meet unique application needs.
Our team of compressed air consultants will guide you through the selection process to ensure you pick the best controller for fine-tuning the operations of your compressed air units. To ensure long-term success and performance, we provide complimentary on-site system reviews for all of our Florida-based clients.
To learn more about our selection of master controllers or discuss how air compressor control systems can help with your specific needs, reach out to the team today.