Industrial Utility Efficiency    

System Assessments

Sizing, selection, and adjusting control valves often causes confusion for process and control system designers. Improper valve application can cause operating problems for plant staff and waste blower power. Basing the airflow control system design on fundamental principles will improve valve and control system performance.

Blow-off Air

A metal producer, in the Midwest, spends an estimated $2.4 million annually on electricity to operate their compressed air system.  The current average electric rate, at this plant, is 5.5 cents per kWh, and the compressed air system operates 8,760 hours per year. This system assessment recommended a group of “near-term” compressed air demand reduction projects and then a group of separate “longer-term” projects focused on optimizing the air compressors, the controls and the heated desiccant compressed air dryers. The near term demand-reduction projects...

Vacuum Controls

In the world of semiconductor manufacturing, it’s an understatement to say peak productivity and uptime are top priorities. It’s why a leading semiconductor equipment manufacturer in Silicon Valley, California, relies on EnergAir’s Metacentre and Airmaster modular control technology to automate the vacuum system at its plant – and in turn – significantly minimize the risks of unplanned downtime, while also ensuring peak operational efficiencies.

Vacuum Generation

Air-driven Venturi vacuum generators have long been a viable option for fast-response, localized, vacuum-powered systems. Through the last decade, they were considered convenient and flexible solutions with quick response time. However, they were not regarded as energy efficient, probably due to their use of compressed air. Extensive product development with this equipment — particularly the crucial system accessories — often makes the selection of the most energy-efficient items difficult for many localized operations.

Pressure/Vacuum

Machine builders aiming to improve the energy efficiency of their machines tend to focus on using energy media other than pneumatics (typically electro-mechanical or hydraulic) since pneumatics, as traditionally applied, is viewed by some as inefficient due to factors like leakage and over-pressurization (i.e.: supplying a higher pressure in an actuator to accomplish a task which is endemic in practice). But they shouldn't, with its low cost of ownership, pneumatics when properly used remains a viable and many times preferable energy source for a given application.

Conveying

In open end pipe line suspension flow, or dilute phase pneumatic conveying, proper particle velocity is critical to continuing productivity and product quality. Until recently, measurement of actual particle velocity within the pipe has not been practical outside the laboratory. The plant operating personnel depend on a much less accurate metric - estimating the conveying air velocity in the pipe and relating that to particle velocity.

Blower Controls

The capacity and pressure requirements of blowers in a Water Resource Recovery Facility (WRRF) are determined by the aeration system. When systems are manually controlled blowers often operate at constant flow and pressure day in, day out. When the aeration system is automatically controlled to maintain a set dissolved oxygen (DO), however, the blower’s flow and system pressure vary constantly. Understanding these variations will help designers and suppliers optimize blower performance.
In the world of semiconductor manufacturing, it’s an understatement to say peak productivity and uptime are top priorities. It’s why a leading semiconductor equipment manufacturer in Silicon Valley, California, relies on EnergAir’s Metacentre and Airmaster modular control technology to automate the vacuum system at its plant – and in turn – significantly minimize the risks of unplanned downtime, while also ensuring peak operational efficiencies.
Sizing, selection, and adjusting control valves often causes confusion for process and control system designers. Improper valve application can cause operating problems for plant staff and waste blower power. Basing the airflow control system design on fundamental principles will improve valve and control system performance.
Blower & Vacuum Best Practices interviewed Henryk Melcer, Senior Process Engineer, Vice President, at Brown and Caldwell.  We’re headquartered in Denver, Colorado. In all, we have more than 1,700 professionals working in nearly 50 locations, primarily in mainland USA. About 45% of our work is focused on wastewater engineering now, having made a conscious effort to diversify into water treatment and industrial wastewater treatment. That was after we absorbed Dr. Eckenfelder’s old company, which is ironic because it came full circle for me. We also carry out environmental impact assessments, water resources modeling, collection system and stormwater modeling, and a range of other services.
After auditing and field-testing, the Sni-A-Bar Municipal Wastewater Plant in Blue Springs, Missouri, partnered with Inovair to replace 4 fixed-speed rotary lobe blowers on its aeration system with 4 Variable Frequency Drive (VFD), integrally geared centrifugal blowers. The new blowers, along with improvements in blower controls, reduces annual energy use by 442,664 kWh and peak electrical demand by 48.76 kW, which translates to an annual energy reduction of 37 percent and anticipated savings of $42,000 per year. Additionally, a rebate of $45,799 from the local utility resulted in a payback of less than six years.
DMK Deutsches Milchkontor GmbH produces sliced cheese and Mozzarella at its production facility in Georgsmarienhütte, Germany. The various types of sliced cheese and Mozzarella blocks are vacuum packed after processing in several packaging lines. The vacuum supply for the packaging machines is provided by a Busch centralized vacuum system, which supplies both the packaging lines and the thermoforming machines.
Industrial vacuum can be defined as vacuum used to perform a task in industrial processes, operating anywhere from atmospheric pressure to 1 torr. Traditionally, the most common technologies included liquid ring and rotary vane vacuum pumps. But as with any industry, there was room for improvement... otherwise, we’d still be driving Model A Fords and talking on corded telephones. Luckily in recent years, the industrial vacuum market has started making significant advancements in technology and efficiency.
Choosing the right vacuum supply can lead to huge cost savings in plastics processing. Mar-Bal, Incorporated has undertaken a critical review of the existing vacuum supply for injection molding when moving to a new plant and has collaborated with Busch, LLC to find a solution that will achieve savings in energy, maintenance and production times.
This article will focus on optimizing the demand-side so the centralized “supply-side” (the vacuum pumps and controls) can then run at a lower energy and maintenance cost. First, I will start with a simplified model of a vacuum pump system demands. See Figure 1 for a one-pump/one-demand simplified system. See Figures 2-6 for some typical controlled and uncontrolled demands. The symbol with the three lines is an orifice, a hole essentially. I am defining three types of system demands adding up to the total demand on the vacuum pump.
Electric utility incentive programs encourage industrial and manufacturing companies to reduce power consumption by paying part of the cost to upgrade to more efficient equipment. It’s a great concept, but many customers only go after low-hanging fruit, such as upgrades for lighting or air compressors, and go no further.
Blower & Vacuum Best Practices interviewed Republic Manufacturing VP of Sales & Marketing, Rich Leong. Our line of regenerative blowers, also known as side channel blowers, are for vacuum or compressed air applications in both horizontal and vertical mounted positions. Airflow capabilities range from 50 to 776 CFM, vacuum capabilities from 47" to 236" of water (1.7 psi to 8.53 psi) and pressure capabilities up from 47" to 307" of water (1.7 psi to 11.09). TEFC electric motors are cUL and CE certified and come in single and three-phase, dual frequency and multi-voltage versions for worldwide applications. Horsepower ranges from 1/2 to 40 HP (from 0.4 to 30kW).