Purpose of this Reference Guide
This guidebook addresses typical compressed air systems common to most small and medium manufacturing facilities. It covers common compressed air design and operating problems. It is intended to provide you with guideposts about your compressed air system, as well as things to think about as you begin or continue to optimize your compressed air system for peak performance.
You are probably wondering why you should read or refer to this reference guide. You may find this guidebook to be helpful should one or more of the following situations apply to you.
- Utility bills are rising, and your boss wants you to reduce energy costs at your facility.
- You are faced with replacing an old compressor or expanding your compressed air system.
- You know you need to “fix” your compressed air system, but are not sure where to start, what to look for, or where to go for the right information.
- Production is suffering due to excessive downtime or insufficient pressure from your air compressor system.
- You need to provide a sound solution to an internal or external customer who is experiencing difficulties with their compressed air system.
If these situations apply to your circumstances, you probably have one of the following roles:
- A production or maintenance manager looking for ways to save money and boost productivity.
- A utility representative with a mandate to help customers to become more energy efficient.
- An air compressor equipment or service business development representative seeking ways to help your customers to solve an air-related problem.
- A student or trainee who wants to learn about air compressor systems.
a. Why Compressed Air?
Compressed air is not free, but unfortunately it is often treated as such. You should be aware that compressed air is expensive to produce, and is likely consuming a significant slice of your energy dollar.
If you are like most industrial manufacturing or processing businesses, chances are that you have a compressed air system. Your air compressor system may be located somewhere out of sight and out of mind at your facility. You may not know what it costs to operate and maintain.
In addition to system operating costs, there are system reliability and performance issues to be concerned with, as well as the quality of the compressed air. These direct and indirect costs can be determined by measuring and baselining your system.
Compressed air is a controllable cost, and this guidebook will help you to identify some common ways to reduce the energy, maintenance and capital costs associated with owning and operating your compressed air system.
b. What this Guidebook is and is Not
This guidebook was written to help you to become aware of the costs of compressed air, and to point you in the right direction in helping you to reduce these costs. Energy efficiency best practices and tips are suggested and emphasized.
This guidebook addresses the typical compressed air systems common to most small and medium manufacturing facilities. It covers common compressed air design and operating problems.
It is intended to provide you with guideposts about your compressed air system, as well as things to think about as you begin or continue to optimize your compressed air system for peak performance.
This guidebook is general in nature and does not address each and every possible problem and solution that is associated with compressed air systems. It is not a design guide for new or expanded air compressor systems. This guidebook does not, and is not intended to replace equipment manuals, or maintenance procedures.
Readers are cautioned to use proper health, safety, and lockout procedures, and to follow equipment operating and maintenance manuals before, during and after any modifications, work or testing related to compressed air systems. Failure to follow proper and safe procedures and codes could result in serious injury, loss of life, property damage, production upsets and other risks.
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