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Red Dragon Limited

Unit 15 Abergorki Industrial Estate

Ynyswen Road


South Wales

CF42 6DL

United Kingdom

T: +44 (0) 1443 772500

F: +44 (0) 1443 775426

E: sales@reddragonvalves.co.uk

Applications Compressed Air
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Compressed Air

Compressed air is employed in most industrial applications as a source of motive power for linear and rotary actuators for generating movement for processes as well as indirectly through actuated valves. It is also used for signalling, cooling and other manufacturing processes.

Compressed air is expensive to generate and much of the pressure energy is wasted through leaks and air being exhausted to atmosphere by pneumatic valves.

Regular or continuous monitoring of system air consumption, air quality and the energy used to generate and treat it is crucial to determine ways of improving plant operating efficiency and we have many ways of helping you to achieve significant savings. Below is an overview of some of the key areas for consideration.

For more information and assistance with selection of an appropriate product for your applications or for us to specify a complete monitoring solution please contact us.

CSM-2G monitoring and analysis software sreenshot showing measuring points on compressed air system for power, voltage, flow, dew point, temperature and pressure

Generation Costs

Determining the electrical power consumed for each compressor and dryer unit is easily achieved using the S 110 power meter which continuously measures the current consumption and voltage. Additional energy costs for compressors come from the cooling required due to 90% of the electrical input energy being converted to heat. By using an S 460 flow meter to monitor the coolant flow and temperature to the compressor, the actual energy consumed can be measured. Similarly the same principle could be applied to downstream dryer systems to further refine the operating costs.

The output signal from these devices can pass to a datalogger such as the S 331 or S 551 for offline evaluation or directly to the plant control system.

This gives us the running cost of generation but needs the actual air consumption to provide a specific cost per litre or cubic metre of air. The S 430 is ideally suited to wet air flow monitoring prior to dryer installations.

Distribution Costs

Compressed air includes aerosols of oil and water vapour, particles of dirt, rust and other impurities all of which need to be removed through filter and dryer stages before distribution. At all stages, restrictions and leaks reduce the air pressure which in turn allows more water to condense out of the airstream causing potential corrosion, component failures and process contamination. Continuous monitoring of dew point and pressure will help to identify quality problems before they become significant and measure the efficiency of the distribution system.

Measuring air consumption for different plant areas allows the determining of air cost centres and can be achieved economically with S 400 insertion type or S 420 inline type flow meters.

Ring main systems can hold huge volumes of compressed air across a plant and any leakage can be hidden in the overall air consumption figures. Finding leaks at components, joints and open valves can be simplified through the use of an ultrasonic leak detector which is much faster than the traditional soapy water method and pays for itself very quickly.

Managing system pressures will also improve operating costs through reduced compressor load and can be implemented through reduced pressure zones at point of use as well as keeping the ring main pressure at the minimum level. Separate reduced volume ring mains may be installed with different pressures for coping with varying pressure demands in the plant.

Regulators, back pressure regulators or pressure sustaining valves can be used to regulate mains pressures while at point of use, filter regulators are ideal.

For breathing air needs, point of use pressure reduction is needed as well as sub micron filters to remove water and oils. Residual oil and dew point measurement at these points of use is also important for operator safety and plant compliance.

For more advice on reducing costs or increasing safety in your plant through measurement and monitoring, please contact us today.

Click for more on air quality measurement and ISO 8573

Efficiency and Cost Analysis

Using a fixed or portable measurement, display and logging solution purely to provide data to analysis software for the production of reports can be a cost effective way to measure operating costs and identify areas for improvement.

CSM-2G web based monitoring and analysis software gives flexibility for clients to monitor systems independent of computer hardware requirements and location. Integral alarm settings and the ability to set up measurement for different locations simplifies 24/7 monitoring and cost centre analysis.

Custom CAA compressed air analysis software is supplied with the S 551 portable logging system for comparing pressure, flow and energy consumption readings and detailed performance analysis.

The analysis results can indicate areas where further efficiency improvements can be considered and used as ongoing performance benchmarks for the early identification of maintenance requirements.

CS 110 power meter measures instantaneous current (over each of 3 phase supply) and voltage to produce output of instantaneous power consumption kW, total consumption kWh, cos phi etc CS 530 ultrasonic air/gas leak detector for easy identfication of system leakage points CS 325 display and datalogger with inputs from pressure transmitter, CS 450 insertion type thermal mass flowmeter and CS 210 dew point sensor CS 550 portable data logging unit with CS 400 insertion type thermal mass gas flow meter, CS 215 dew point sensor, pressure transmitter and current clampmeter for portable inspection, air audits, analysis and energy surveys CSM monitoring and analysis software can produce graphs and reports based on data from all sensors