When you have a compressed air system that uses more than one compressor or dryer, it can be difficult to determine which machine to run when. This is especially true if your demand fluctuates daily. If your system isn’t properly controlled, you risk producing too much air, which translates into spending too much money.
The solution: a central controller. Below are six reasons your compressed air system will benefit from central control.
Flexible machine sequencing – Controllers ensure that machines work in groups and adjust to meet demand. In a fixed system, there might be a certain order in which machines are used to meet air demand. In a flexible system with a controller, the best combination of machines is used.
Workload equalization – By spreading the workload over multiple machines, a central controller avoids unnecessarily overloading individual machines. A controller can also prioritize the use of the most economic machines over older, less effective versions.
Continuous use of VSD machines – VSD compressors are the most energy efficient machines for variable load. A central controller can ensure that these machines are prioritized over base-load or single speed compressors.
Regulation of system pressure – With a central controller, machines can operate within a predefined and narrow pressure band. This allows the system to meet demand while still optimizing energy efficiency.
Shutdown scheduling – Central controllers can help operators schedule maintenance and avoid incurring extra costs during non-working hours. Scheduled shutdowns should be part of any predictive maintenance plan.
Fewer service visits – By utilizing flexible machine sequencing, workload equalization and shutdown scheduling, central controllers help machines reduce premature wear. This leads to fewer service visits, and subsequently lower service and maintenance costs.
Depending on the manufacturer, there can be different types of central control systems available. At Atlas Copco, we recently unveiled a new generation of centralized controllers – the Optimizer 4.0. The controller selects the most efficient combination of defined working pressures while balancing the units’ running hours to prevent unequal wear of compressors and minimize service intervals. Using its highly intuitive interface, users can access each machine’s performance data and energy consumption, as well as insight into how the whole system is doing.