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Technology, Service, Parts & Maintenance

Operating Analyses: Measuring the Air Requirement of Your Compressor Installation


It’s safe to say that most industrial companies are constantly evolving — whether it’s upgrading to new technology, updating processes or adding equipment.

These constant changes to production also cause compressed air requirements to fluctuate. In order to accommodate these changes, an operating analysis should be used to measure operating data for a typical week. The data collected forms a basis for the optimal air supply needed to keep applications running efficiently.

What is measured in an operational analysis?

The following factors should be measured continuously over a suitable period of time (i.e., at least one week where operations are normal so relevant data can be collected).

  • Operating data (i.e., air capacity at certain hours of the day) of the entire existing compressed air installation
  • Time when the compressor is running loaded, running unloaded and stopped for fixed speed compressors
  • Percentage of actual speed the compressor is running for variable speed compressors

Keep in mind that measurements should be based on current prevailing conditions, and an appropriate margin for expansion should be built into the installation.

What can the operational analysis tell me?

  • Stored data obtained from measuring the operational factors provides an opportunity to simulate different measures and changes in compressor operations.
  • It analyzes the impact of production changes on the installation’s overall economy.
  • It provides a basis for potential energy recovery, which helps in specifying installations and evaluating its operating methods. Frequently, more than 90 percent of energy supplied to the compressor can be recovered.
  • The data can indicate a need for installing smaller compressors to accommodate a decrease in air demand during nights and weekends.
  • Drastic changes in air demand could indicate a leak in the system. 

The operational analysis is an instrumental tool when it comes to improving plant efficiencies. Plant operators can use this data to modify working pressures during certain times in order to optimize energy consumption when there are changes in production.

For more information on measuring your system’s air requirement and optimizing operations, please contact an Atlas Copco expert.

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