There are lots of products currently on the market to aid in air compressors efficiency. Here are a couple of key things to look at before making a choice to add one of these products to your compressor. At Compressed Air Systems we want to make sure you have all the information to make the right choice for your compressor package.
Variable Frequency Drives
These devices will keep the compressor loaded and delivering only as much air as you are using. The benefits are that the compressor will start and produce the exact amount of air being used from a storage tank and the airlines tied to it. Variable frequency drives also come with a soft start feature so the compressor starts slowly and rises to max RPM over a period of a few seconds. By doing this the compressors keeps your electrical demand rate at a minimum. There are certain states and municipal electric companies that offer rebates for installing these devices on the compressors. (Check with our electric company to find out what is available.) Variable frequency drives (VFD) do come with a large expense up front. If there is not a rebate offered it may not be a viable option. It is best to check and see if the VFD will pay for the added expense in the electrical savings over the life of the compressor. Since they are an electrical device, voltage and amp surges or drops can affect the VFD. It is a necessity to verify your incoming power before ordering this device on your compressor.
This is the original form of efficiency. You have two compressors on one tank, when both are needed, both run, when one is needed, the other is off and not using electricity. These systems come in both reciprocating and rotary screw packages. They are great for applications that have a large air demand for a portion of the day and a smaller steady demand for the rest of the day. When the demand is large, both compressor packages can run in unison and keep the application going. When the demand dies down, only one compressor will run cutting your electrical usage in half. Another benefit is that you have two compressors instead of one so that if one compressor fails for any reason, you always have a backup. A downside to duplex compressors is that they are piped together to a common tank, so if a fitting or piece has to be replaced on the tank, both compressors packages are down. When you have two separate packages that are independent, a repair on the tank of one package will not affect the other.
Soft Starter or Wye Delta Starters
These are devices used to help with the first in rush of electricity to start the electric motor in motion. Typically those devices are used in areas where there is limited electricity available for the compressors. A soft start or WYE-DELTA helps by keeping the startup rush of electricity to a minimum. These systems work b starting the compressor and electric motor slowly and ramping up to max RPM over a period of a few seconds. Due to the cost increase for these devices, check and see if installing one of these devices is necessary for the application, and if it will pay for itself over the life of the compressor in electrical savings.