Companies Waste £35,500/Year On ‘Free’ Compressed Air
Energy-Saving Air Knives From ACI Pay For Themselves In 2.2 Months
Manufacturers and food producers still using compressed air for drying are wasting as much as £35,500 per year in rising energy costs, new data from Air Control Industries (ACI) reveals.
Too many companies still misperceive compressed air as a ‘free’ resource – when in reality the opposite is true. Compressed air usage can amount to as much as 30% of a site’s total electricity bill
Changing from compressed air to a blower-driven air knife system can save thousands of pounds per month – with the new system paying for itself in 2.2 months. These blower-driven systems are up to 90% cheaper to operate than compressed air dryers.
ACI Channel Sales Manager Matt Shelley said: “With more than 50 years’ experience in the design and manufacture of air delivery systems, we can forecast performance and return on investment.
“So, we know when your new ACI air knife will have paid for itself. And with the cost of electricity rising sharply, that time is now shorter than ever – just 2.2 months in many cases.”
Compressed air is expensive because it is discharged at high pressure. This also makes it a health and safety risk. Furthermore, compressed air can be contaminated with oil – creating hygiene/cleanliness issues for sectors such as food production, packaging/labelling, and auto manufacturing.
But Axminster-based ACI’s air knives use clean, low pressure, blower-driven air. So they are safer, cleaner and more cost-effective. These systems are custom-configured to each customer’s unique requirements for optimum performance – but based on standard off-the-shelf components to ensure maximum value and ROI.
Latest ACI data demonstrate the savings:
But it is not just compressed air that is proving costly for some manufacturers and food producers.
Too many are also wasting money by using badly-configured or ‘DIY’ air blower systems.
“Our engineers see this all the time when they’re out in the field – companies have built their own system using a blower and a tube with some holes drilled in it. These DIY systems were usually created as a temporary fix but end up being permanent.
DIY systems never perform well because they don’t create laminar airflow (a smooth blade of air with no turbulence). Nor do they deliver the correct air entrainment (‘free’ air that is drawn into the blown airstream as part of the process).
This also applies when an existing air knife has either been set up badly or when the application requirements have changed but the system hasn’t been updated or reconfigured accordingly. Without the correct setup, an air knife won’t have the correct air balance. There will be low spots that underperform and high spots that waste energy.
This is why buying an air knife off-the-shelf – without taking expert advice – can be a false economy. There are so many factors that can affect performance.”
These factors include the:
- Length, width, and design of the pressurised air knife plenum (blade).
- Number and width of the air discharge holes or slots in the blade. Many have just one continuous slot. These air discharge slots are adjustable, but ACI recommends leaving them at the settings selected for the application.
- Angle of attack and the ‘roll’ of the blade(s).
- Proximity of the blade to the products requiring drying, cleaning, decontamination, deionisation or blowing away of excess coating(s).
- Position and configuration of other air nozzles and reciprocators.
- Number of air inlets, their diameter and spacing.
- Position and configuration of inlet manifolds.
- Pressure of air being supplied by the blower.
- Geographical location of the site – air temperature, climate, seasonality, humidity.
- Height above sea level (which affects air density).
- Position of the air knife system in the building, sources of air turbulence.
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