Plant applications usually require constant pressure from the compressed air system, and the flow rate must be regulated to match the application’s compressed air demand. There are a number of flow regulation methods available depending on the type of compressor, acceptable pressure variations, air consumption variations and acceptable energy losses.
Because energy consumption represents close to 80 percent of the compressor’s total life cycle cost, the regulation system must be carefully considered. Performance differences vary greatly by compressor type and equipment manufacturer.
Here are the two types regulation systems for fixed speed compressors:
Continuous flow rate regulation — This process involves the continuous control of the drive motor or inlet valve according to varying pressures. The result is normally small pressure variations of 0.1 to 0.5 bar, depending on the regulation system’s amplification and its regulating speed. This type of regulation is also commonly referred to as modulation.
Load/unload regulation — This is the most common regulation method, which involves larger variations in pressure between two limit values. It works by completely stopping the flow rate at the higher pressure (unloading) and resuming the flow rate (loading when the pressure has dropped to the lowest limit value). Pressure variations depend on the permitted number of load/unload cycles per time unit, normally between the 0.3 to 1 bar range.
Regulating your system’s output air flow can greatly impact applications big and small. Learn more about regulation systems available when you leave us a comment below.