What gets measured, gets managed
Compressed air comes at a significant cost to companies operating in the food, beverage and packaging industries. In fact, in many areas of production, more than 20% of compressed air energy can be wasted.
As with many industries, a key strategy to reduce this waste should include an analysis of existing energy consumption and identifying strategies to reduce waste and avoid excess energy to improve the efficiency of compressed air usage.
When asked what ‘inefficient compressed air’ demand looks like, Paul Grantham, Key Account Manager for SMC Corporation Australia New Zealand (ANZ), said there are many factors that could lead to wasted energy, including higher than necessary flow rates, excessive pressure leading to higher pressure drops and high leakage rates.
SMC has long been an advocate for energy-saving technology and has spent years developing new energy-saving technologies for its customers through its Energy Conservation Group.
According to Grantham, SMC uses a four-step plan to easily and quickly help customers in the food and beverage industry realise energy-saving opportunities, which he has explained below:
- Visualise or identify: SMC works alongside the customer to identify energy-saving opportunities and gain an understanding of their compressed air utilisation and the potential for energy savings. Initially, we would look at baseline data. When this isn’t available, we work with the customer to collect this data. It is here that SMC’s monitoring equipment, including flow meters and pressure sensors, comes into play.
- Analyse: Once the data has been collected it can be analysed and related to the compressed air processes to identify areas where the most significant energy savings can be realised. By reviewing energy-saving opportunities in an efficient and structured manner, the cost of improvements can often be significantly reduced. Small changes can often make a big difference.
- Implement: Having identified and analysed the processes using real data, it is possible to incorporate energy-saving techniques to compressed air processes. Through monitoring components such as flow meters and pressure sensors there is improved visibility and feedback relating to energy consumption. This allows users to make informed decisions and to efficiently manage their current and future consumption.
- Improve: Once the smart technology is implemented, we continuously review the processes and savings to identify the next opportunity for improvement and to ensure that any change is reviewed against the baseline data to quantify the measured improvement.
SMC’s Energy Conservation Group works with its customers globally to provide initiatives and solutions that are delivering efficiencies, process improvements and reduced costs. More than just identifying efficiencies, the group takes a long-term approach to also identify management and control solutions. To find out more, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Digital flow switch for large flows
Suitable for industry, the SMC PF3A series now has an IO-Link digital flow switch complete with two-screen display. The compact device provides improved display visibility, a built-in temperature sensor, enhanced energy savings and is IP65 compliant.
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