Choosing the right air compressor for your application can be a minefield. Beware of companies trying to sell you the most expensive option rather than the one that most suits your needs.
To help you specify a new compressor correctly, Atlas Copco recently launched a new campaign: Go With the Flow.
What is Go With the Flow all about?
The key message of the campaign is that rather than asking for an air compressor of a particular kW size, companies should purchase a machine that suits the pressure and flow they require.
Why is this important?
Compressed air is sometimes called the fourth utility as it can account for anything up to 30% of a company’s industrial electrical power consumption.
As up to 80% of a compressor’s lifecycle operating budget can be taken up by the cost of energy, it’s important to ensure that the performance and output of your machine is matched as closely as possible to the application.
What is over-specification?
In cases where compressors were specified some time ago, or new compressors are brought in as “like for like” replacements without any data logging or analysis, the kW rating is often the benchmark used for specification.
This can lead to over-specification; where a more expensive unit is purchased than required.
What else should be taken into account?
A compressed air system comprises many elements, not just the air compressor itself. These include the pipework, dryers, filters, receivers and valves – along with the processes the system will be connected to.
No system remains the same throughout its lifetime, so potential changes also need to be taken into account, from leakages to wear and tear, as well as the likelihood that the system may require increased capacity in the future.
An experienced compressed air specialist will be able to help you make the correct calculations, with the appropriate flexibility built in.
What are the benefits of a compressor offering the correct flow?
The key benefits are cost and environmental. These can take the form of improved productivity, lower energy bills and reduced lifecycle costs.
Who is the campaign aimed at?
The advice is for companies of all sizes, however the campaign is particularly targeted at companies purchasing Atlas Copco’s small and medium sized G/GX and GA machines. Eshots have been sent to SMEs operating in sectors such as furniture manufacture, sawmills and car bodyshops.
What do the experts at Atlas Copco say?
That the kW power rating of a compressor’s motor provides insufficient data for the specification of a new air compressor. As many companies are purchasing new compressors based on kW rather than pressure and flow, Atlas Copco believes that:
- Average number of air compressors sized incorrectly on the market: 50%
- Differential in flow rate within the same kW category can be: 30%
- Cost of purchase of a compressor within the same kW category can vary by: 32%
What’s the best way to specify the right compressor?
Our compressor engineers are highly trained and experienced and can specify your equipment according to pressure and flow rather than kW.
In most cases, an energy audit is recommended, to data log the existing system and analyse the results for an accurate picture of current use and future requirements.
How can I find out more?