If your company uses air to clean, dry, or cool, your system may not be as efficient as you think – in fact, the worst offenders are less than 10% efficient. Read on to discover what you need to know when considering your processes involving air and how STANMECH Technologies can help you rest assured that your system is the best for your application.
Blow-off of water, dust, coolant and other contaminants, drying, cooling, and heating may all be achieved using either compressed air or blower operated systems; there are several factors to consider when choosing the best system for any application utilizing air. Each factor will have greater or lesser weight depending on the individual application and the existing infrastructure.
1. Energy cost
2. System cost
3. Maintenance and operating cost
4. Application particulars
5. Availability of electricity and compressed air
6. Space and weight
7. Noise considerations
1. ENERGY COST
Blower operated systems, in particular for constant blow-off applications, are by far the more energy efficient choice. In fact, some blower installations can reduce energy costs up to 80% over previous compressor systems. However, in systems where the need for air is sporadic and in short bursts, the amount of energy needed to run a compressed air system decreases. Implementing a control system can minimize the air and power use of both blower and compressor based air systems.
2. SYSTEM COST
If a compressor and lines are already present in the plant, adding tools is fairly easy and generally low cost up-front. However, if there is no compressor available the high cost of equipment and installation must be considered. Blower systems require a higher initial investment but when used for the right application often have an ROI of less than one year due to significant energy savings. Additionally, government grants are available to offset the initial cost of a blower system.
3. MAINTENANCE AND OPERATING COST
Both air compressors and blowers need regular maintenance to ensure proper performance. Direct drive blowers have fewer maintenance costs than traditional belt-drive blowers; there are no belts to break which translates to less downtime and lower maintenance costs. The use of a Variable Frequency Drive (VFD) on blower systems can dramatically reduce energy consumption on blowers. Likewise, use of a PLC system can work to reduce air costs in compressed air based blow-off operations.
4. APPLICATION PARTICULARS
Applications that utilize continuous blow-off favour blower based systems as they are by-far more efficient than compressor based systems. When the product allows, heaters can be added to blower systems allowing production speeds to increase as drying time decreases. Applications which allow the air to be cycled on and off when needed are better candidates for a compressed air system than those that require continuous or near-continuous blow-off. The speed and nature of an application must be taken into consideration when choosing a system. This factor is largely individual from one application to the next and should be considered carefully.
5. AVAILABILITY OF ELECTRICITY AND AIR
Depending on the plant layout either a blower or compressor based air delivery system may be preferred. In plants without access to adequate electrical power blower installation may not be economical. Likewise for compressed air, if there is no existing air compressor or lines the cost of installation may be prohibitive. In plants where compressed air is available, the distance between the compressor and the tool location must also be considered as the greater the distance the larger the pressure drop which lowers the efficiency of the system.
6. SPACE AND WEIGHT
Blower operated systems have a larger foot-print on the plant floor; however, compressors require specialized housing areas elsewhere on the property. Modern blowers are significantly smaller than their predecessors and can be sized according to available space and necessary air supply volume and pressure. A blower operated air knife is larger and heavier than a compressed air version. Blower systems however, can be combined with heaters to provide considerably faster drying times. Severe space limitations can force the use of one technology over the other.
7. NOISE CONSIDERATIONS
The level of noise on the plant floor is less with compressed air operated tools; however, the necessary compressors produce noise elsewhere on the property. Noise from blower operated systems can be reduced significantly with the addition of an enclosure which also serves as additional protection for the blower. Depending on the ambient noise level of the plant, this factor may not be important.
When deciding on an air delivery system for your application there are many factors to consider: the availability of electricity and compressed air, space and weight needs or restrictions, noise considerations, application particulars, and energy, system, maintenance, and operating costs are all factors to consider when making this important decision. Production rates and output can be negatively affected by choosing the wrong system. Additionally, if ill-suited to the application, the system will cost far more to maintain and run than a more appropriate system. It is important to research all the available options before committing to buy.
No two applications are the same and what works for one may not work for you. STANMECH Technologies Inc. has experience with both compressor and blower operated air delivery systems and can help you make the right decision for your individual application.
Contact us at 905-631-6161 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how we can help you optimize your existing system or design a new one with a significant ROI specifically for your application.