Industry News

Compressor inventory – not a lot of hot air

Southern Cross Compressors Australia Pty Ltd points out that many companies tend to look solely at the capital cost of the compressor. A few look into servicing costs but very few fully understand the long term costs.

According to Southern Cross Compressors, the initial purchase price typically represents between five and 10 per cent of the lifetime cost of owning and running a system when calculated over a 10-year period.

A broad study into your compressed air requirements should examine air demand per shift, load profiles, operating environments, air quality, pressure required, installation and servicing, air service lines or reticulation systems, life expectancy, reliability, future plans and safety.

?With many apparently cheap compressors on the market, key features to look for are direct drive (no gears) air end, high efficiency (MEPS2 compliant) known brand motors and high quality electrics, a laminar flow intake controller, large ?single pass? coolers, 316SS control lines, and solid piping or stainless braided hoses,? said Rod Peirce, Southern Cross general manager.

A simple start is to take an inventory of current equipment, understand the production requirements and how compressed air impacts on this. Of particular importance is a comprehensive check of the air reticulation lines because if you can hear a leak it?s already costing around $360 to $400 per year.

As with all plant maintenance, principals such as the development of a leak management program, eliminating any improper uses of air through bad work practices, shutting down the compressor when air is not required and setting the air line pressure to meet requirements will save money.

A reduction in pressure of just 50kPa can represent savings in the order of four per cent per year.

A 37kW motor operating for 4000 hours with a power consumption of $0.12c/kWhr at 95 per cent efficiency operating at 100 per cent loading is calculated to cost almost $19,000 per year to run and that is serious money.

Source: Southern Cross Compressors

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