How critical is compressed air to your facility? Without it, would you still be able to produce? Do you know what the costs associated with operating air compression and what are the key drivers to these costs. These are the common questions all facilities need to answer. Typically, most can answer to the criticality of compressed air system, but it gets more difficult to get the information to determine what the air system operating costs are and what are the key drivers of those costs.
Though air is free, cleaning and compressing it is very costly. For many facilities, upwards of 30% of their electricity costs can be attributed back to compressing air. Of course, we can all figure out that the motor driving the compressor is the consumption point for the electricity, but it in itself, is only responding to the needs and demands of the system. Sure, the efficiency of the motor is a driver of costs, but the equipment in the system are the true drivers of the costs. These include the condition of the compressor mechanical components, pressure loss across a filter or dryer, leaks, condition of the tool being used, heat, cooling, and even the piping layout.
It is hard to determine how your compressed air system is performing at any given time as the condition of the equipment is always changing. You can take manual measurements, but this will only give you spot checks of your system and is labor intensive. You can measure on a continuous basis and collect the data, but that gives you data, not answers, Or you can install a FacilityConnex Compressed Air Optimization package that automatically collects data from your system, analyzes it, trends it, alarms on it, and continuously benchmarks it against your KPIs or other equipment.