Where some people see energy being wasted, others see potential energy savings. So if you have pneumatic or compressed air supply systems – especially if they’ve been installed for any length of time – you’ve got a significant source of wastage. But you’ve also got a source of savings of up to 60%.
Energy costs represent the biggest chunk of the total cost of setting up and running compressed air systems. In fact, they account for around 75%. So allowing poor design, inappropriate use, incorrect settings and leaks to create inefficiencies and air losses can add up to a substantial waste of energy – and money – over the life of a system. In fact, according to the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI on Compressed Air Systems in the EU, as much as 35% of the energy cost of generating compressed air is wasted. So how can you reduce the waste and cut your costs?
The key to successful savings is to take a comprehensive look all along the pneumatic chain, and then to take an integral approach.
Optimise your compressed air systems’ energy usage in this way and you’ll realise not just one benefit, but several that are inextricably linked:
- reduced energy costs
- reduced operating costs
- reduced maintenance and servicing costs
- reduced unplanned production downtime and
- associated costs.
Save from the start
Like any other technology, pneumatic and compressed air systems are more efficient if they’re professionally designed, set up, used and maintained. The kind of savings this approach can offer are highlighted in a new guide from Festo – a leading supplier in industrial automation technology.
“In this guide,” explains Gary Fuller, Festo Training Programme Manager, “we focus on advising plant managers on how they can implement measures to reduce energy wastage, with in-depth statistics and details about compressed air technology.”
Full of detailed and practical advice, the guide outlines the efficient technologies that ensure machines and systems consume fewer resources and less energy, reduce CO2 emissions and operating costs, and increase sustainability and overall productivity.
And you don’t have to wait to read the guide to find the answers to some of your most important pneumatic system energy saving questions – because here they are:
Q. How can I save energy when I need constant vacuum pressure for reliable holding of objects?
A. The need for constant vacuum pressure for object holding is a myth. Continuous air consumption can be avoided by using an energy-saving, air-saving circuit. This is particularly effective with smooth, non-porous surfaces. Festo’s OVEM closed-loop vacuum generators monitor vacuum levels and only consume air when required. Typical savings can be as high as 60%.
Q. How can I reduce compressed air consumption without reducing the effectiveness of my system?
A. Many systems use excessive, wasteful force, which means unnecessary energy consumption. Correct sizing of pneumatic drives – reducing to the next smallest piston diameter, for example – can reduce compressed air consumption by up to 40%. It also helps reduce procurement costs.
Q. How can simply moving a valve save me money?
A. Shorter tubing means saving energy. Unnecessary dead volume in tubing can create wasted consumption, especially where small actuator volumes are involved. Positioning a valve as close as possible to its gripper, for example, means you can use the shortest possible tubing length, achieve savings of up to 25%, and improve cycle times.
Q. Is switching off power worth the effort?
A. Eliminating airflow in systems at a standstill during non-productive phases can save you up to 20%. Energy efficiency modules such as Festo’s E2M can provide active, intelligent control of the compressed air supply – automatically shutting it off during system standstills and restarting it for production.
Q. Does weight matter?
A. Reducing weight and friction of moving elements can have a major effect. This is particularly true on multi-axis systems, where initial over-sizing becomes compounded. Selecting the optimum mix of components and technology – for instance, using lightweight pneumatic grippers for moving applications – can help realise energy savings of up to 18%.
Click the image below to download a free copy of the Energy Efficiency@Festo Guide
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