24 September, 2017

CompAir helps robot band take to the stage

01 February, 2015

A CompAir compressor supplied by BCAS Limited. has helped a band made up of three, 5ft tall robots take to the stage at a recent festival in London. The band’s members are all built out of scrap metal and are controlled by electro-pneumatics. Some of the most popular tracks performed by the band have been viewed more than 6.3 million times on YouTube. Constant flow of air The 11kW compressor supplied by BCAS Limited, a distributor of Gardner Denver products including the CompAir brand, provided a constant flow of compressed air to the band throughout their performance at the festival. Louisa O’Connor, senior project manager at creative production company, DesignScene, which designed and produced a bespoke structure for the London festival, commented: “Without compressed air none of the robots in the band can perform, so it was vital that the compressor we used could provide a constant flow of air. BCAS Limited supplied and installed the compressor on time, with the CompAir unit performing reliably throughout, ensuring the band could entertain the tens of thousands of fans who attended the three day festival.” The new design of the high efficiency air end in the CompAir L11 compressor operates at low rotational speeds, resulting in lower energy costs, whilst the unit’s IP55 motor provides operational reliability. Designed to pass through a standard doorway, the L11 is simple to install and low noise levels mean the compressor can be located close to the application. The L11’s integrated design, with oil separation, oil filter and thermostatic bypass valve also reduces the number of external hoses and components, resulting in increased reliability. www.compair.com


HPC helps to turn the wind turbine into the finished article

04 January, 2015
Mabey Bridge is a specialist supplier of high quality steel bridging, tubular structures and heavy plated steelwork which has helped to shape infrastructure development in the UK and around the world. Based in Chepstow, Monmouthshire, just a ‘stone’s throw’ from the Severn Bridge, Mabey Bridge is proud of its 165 years of design and engineering tradition and enjoys a reputation for innovation in engineering and in particular, bridge building. Working in partnership with designers, engineers, contractors and clients in both the public and private sectors, it currently has a production capacity approaching 100,000 tonnes a year. Grand scale In recent years the company has brought its experience and skills to bear on the development of renewable energy projects and the manufacture of on-shore wind turbine towers or, as they are referred to in the industry, canisters. By any measure these manufactured tubular steel structures are big. Depending on the final size of the turbine, the largest produce up to 3.6 megawatts and the smaller turbines generate 235 kW. Each supporting canister is made in either three or four sections, measures up to 36 metres in height, weighs up to 100 tonnes, have a steel thickness of up to 100mm and an overall diameter up to 5 metres. As part of a strategy to further develop its specialist capability for renewable energy manufacturing, Mabey Bridge made a significant investment to add another 30,000 sq ft to its already significant Newhouse manufacturing plant, enabling the production of an additional 100 turbine towers per year. An important part of this expansion was a new, larger fabricating facility to provide surface treatment processes such as blast cleaning using recycled steel grit, through to the final paint finishing stage. A reliable source of quality compressed air is a vital factor in this large scale, industrial manufacturing and finishing process. Prior to the extension project, Mabey Bridge had been impressed with the performance of its original HPC compressed air system, supplied, installed and maintained by HPC Authorised Distributor, Compressor Systems (Wales) Ltd. Ongoing energy efficiency The expansion of the surface treatment facility and the associated scaling-up of the fabricating and finishing processes demanded increased air capacity. However, it was also very important to ensure the ongoing energy efficiency of the system while coping with the new, greater variable demand. A key requirement identified in the early stages of the consultation process was that the compressors for the blast cleaning, paint shop spraying facility and the fabrication area needed to be connected and able to work together. With each system supplying compressed air to the other and depending on the workflow, it needed to be possible to meet a combined varying demand of up to 84.9m³/min (3000cfm). It was also important that the two linked compressed air systems could provide redundancy, and it was essential that the new system ensured that the painting process could always operate uninterrupted. Complementary After carefully considering the options and proposals from several experienced compressed air specialists, Mabey Bridge invested in the knowhow of Compressor Systems (Wales) and HPC Compressed Air Systems. Having worked hard to establish a good working relationship with Mabey Bridge at the company’s other manufacturing sites, Compressor Systems (Wales) was able to demonstrate how the investment in a new variable speed compressor would complement the two existing HPC compressors working with them to optimise efficiency through periods of varying demand. In fact, they were the only supplier that identified and provided a solution to redundancy and for linking the two systems together through the latest HPC compressed air management, control and communication system. The Mabey Bridge compressed air system installed as part of the extension is: 1 off HPC ESD 442 SFC (250kW) rotary screw compressor with SIGMA Frequency Control; 1 off HPC SIGMA Air Manager (SAM) Compressor management, control and communication system; and a compressed air treatment package including refrigerant dryers, compressed air filtration and condensate management. The existing compressed air system at Mabey Bridge comprised: 1 off HPC ESD441 (250kW) rotary screw compressor; 1 off HPC DSD 238 (132kW) rotary screw compressor; and a package of compressed air treatment products. At the heart of the new installation is the HPC SIGMA Air Manager (SAM) management and control system, a powerful industrial PC featuring HPC’s adaptive 3-D control. This state-of-the-art compressed air management system brings together the individual components of the compressed air system to ensure that compressor delivery volume is precisely adjusted to match actual demand (from both the fabrication area and the paint shop) saving energy and reducing operating costs. Unlike other master control systems which are limited by relying on operating within a narrow pressure range and with the lowest possible switching pressure differential, HPC’s 3-D control paints a bigger picture. This ensures unrivalled performance by optimising energy efficiency throughout the entire compressed air system. This level of control and monitoring enables engineers’ at Mabey Bridge to generate and maintain the required levels of compressed air despite the widely varying demands from either the fabrication area or the paint shop, whilst also keeping their kW usage to a minimum. Benefits Commenting on how the new HPC compressed air system has performed, Alex Wilson, production engineer at Mabey Bridge, said: “The variable speed compressor has allowed us to save energy by closely matching the supply and demand of compressed air whilst maintaining an accurate and constant supply pressure.” Wilson continued: The SIGMA Air Manager controls the installation perfectly, switching the compressors in and out to meet the sometimes large variations in demand. We really appreciate the SIGMA Air Manager (SAM) main control feature as it enables our three compressors to work in conjunction providing us with maximum flexibility and directly matching the supply of compressed air with the demand of our processes, whilst maintaining a constant system pressure. It also means that we can add compressors into our system and consider some of the impressive, additional communication and control features of the system as our process needs grow.” The planning, consultation and installation process at Mabey Bridge’s Newhouse site has proved to be a great success and an excellent example of partnership project management and cooperation. The system designed between Compressor Systems (Wales), HPC Compressed Air Systems and Mabey Bridge has reportedly exceeded expectations both in its ability to meet the wide variations in demand for compressed air for the important fabricating and finishing processes and with regard to all-important energy savings. This is another example of HPC’s ability to supply the most energy-efficient compressed air solutions for all industrial markets, whether it is industrial electric, portable diesel units or high volume - low pressure rotary blower systems. www.hpccompressors.co.uk www.mabeybridge.com


APCO ASU combination air valve

12 December, 2014

DeZurik/APCO/Hilton has introduced the APCO ASU combination air valve, a new concept in air valve technology. This single body combination valve features a patented air release and air/vacuum mechanism that is specifically designed to deal with media containing grit, solids and grease.


Atlas Copco expands workshop to meet rising demand from oil and gas industry

07 November, 2014

Atlas Copco’s Systems Hemel Hempstead custom engineering workshop has unveiled a £680,000 expansion of its facilities to meet rising global demand from the oil and gas industry. The workshop, which provides bespoke compressed air and nitrogen generation packages directly to UK customers and fulfils international orders on behalf of Atlas Copco companies overseas, has more than doubled in size following the investment.


Open end to atmosphere

20 June, 2014

At the recent Air-Tech exhibition at the NEC in Birmingham, Beko Technologies gave a presentation about the issues of having an air supply at, for example, 7 bar (g) venting down to atmosphere without doing any useful work or work that cannot be done more economically or safely by another medium… An example of this would be the use of blow guns to clean machinery down at the end of a production period i.e. could be three times per day. This practice was widespread and was wasteful in that the dirt/dust would resettle, the pressure was not often regulated and it is a potentially dangerous practice particularly if the operative has an open sore then compressed air can be potentially lethal. There is a simple answer, use a vacuum attachment to the airline or a ‘venturi’-assisted type which increases the flow at reduced pressure. The opportunities for saving were broken down into 3 key areas. The first was leaks and it is well-known that leaks from a compressed air system can be quite considerable. In fact, a system with 10 per cent leakage is regarded as a good one. Bearing in mind that 10 per cent of all power used in modern industrialised societies will be to compress air then we are wasting 1 per cent of all power even when we are good at housekeeping so it is clearly important that we make sure that the wastage is not significantly higher than this. Causes of leaks What causes leaks in a compressed air system? There are many opportunities for the compressed air network to develop leaks but the principle ones would be: • Corrosive condensate. The particulate material drawn into a compressor together with the small amount of oil carried over will become an acidic liquid when the compressed air cools and water vapour condenses out and mixes. • Poor installation. Pipe supports not adequately deigned causing stress on joints which become leaks. Cheap solutions such as hoses for temporary solutions which become permanent. • Impacts such as fork lift truck. • Poor maintenance. The maintenance engineer has to see the compressed air network as a part of his maintenance routine rather than a one-off occasional exercise to cull leaks. Also some machinery will be stopped at a point where a valve or orifice is open and will remain open until the machinery restarts. These may be small occurrences but the sum total of all these small leaks is normally in excess of 10 per cent and for example a 75kW compressor running on load for a year will cost more than £70,000. Therefore it is important to check leaks via an ultrasonic device, mark up the leaks in some kind of classification as to the severity of the problem then fix the worst ones. It is then important to realise that this is not ‘job done’. The leaks will in some cases come back because of poor installation or appear elsewhere as the corrosive condensate or an impact creates a new leakage. The second area is condensate draining and it is important to understand that the condensate has to be drained efficiently or can be re-entrained and cause moisture problems and as just indicated will create leaks in the distribution system. There are not too many old fashioned steam type traps used anymore because they were subject to blocking through debris falling onto the valve seat and also to hydraulic locking requiring the installation of a balance pipe. Solenoid drains became popular and are still widely used but are inefficient because of the number of variables involved such as compressed air flow, pressure, temperature and relative humidity. All of these combine to ensure that the condensate volumes are different from day to day, morning to evening, winter to summer, UK to China. Product of choice To be sure to get rid of the condensate then the blow down time will be set for the worst case, which will mean considerable wastage on every occasion that does not equate to this set time. The solution to this is the zero loss drain, which is becoming the product of choice because there are no losses of the expensive resource of compressed air. There is an investment cost but in nearly all cases the return on investment can be shown as being acceptable. There may be as many as 100 drain points in a large plant with outdoor piping so it is a simple but important area to consider for the maintenance routine. A customer in the Midlands recently asked Beko Technologiess to attend site because of a perceived drying problem. This problem existed and was being dealt with but as part of the routine checks the air receiver drain was checked. With no exaggeration 15 minutes was required to drain the large air storage vessel. If the condensate level had become much higher than serious amounts of the contaminated condensate would have been re-entrained into their system. The company are involved in an industry where it is vital to be ‘just in time’ and deliver direct to production lines. It is easy to imagine the large scale problems for this company and its customers if a large scale ingress of condensate had occurred. The installation of an efficient level sensing Bekomat solves a potentially disastrous situation at a small investment cost The other area where compressed air is wasted is in the drying process. There are many processes which require a dew point below the -3degC, which refrigeration dryers are capable of reaching. This could be for instrument air, for pneumatic conveying, food, beverage or medical grade compressed air to name a few processes. The lower dew point typically -40degC is achieved by use of a desiccant material which is unchanged by the process of attracting water vapour via molecular forces but will need to be regenerated in order to be used over multiple drying/regenerating cycles. One of the regeneration methods is heatless or cold regeneration which requires a part of the dried compressed air to be expanded to become super dry and then flowed through the wet desiccant bed. Nature does not like large gradients and the difference between the water content of the desiccant and the regeneration air will create the migration across to the compressed air which is then vented to atmosphere. In this method 15 per cent of the compressed air is used solely for drying which if we equate back to our 75kW compressor would mean a cost of £10,000 or more. The reason this genre of dryer was popular was because of low price and simplicity but it is clear that for systems above the 75kW level other methods should be applied. Controlling cost Zero Purge dryers are becoming the norm for larger installations. They use external heat to regenerate the desiccant and blown external air to cool meaning that the costs are kept to a sensible level for the drying process. An example given at Air-Tech was of a company in the automotive industry who had a part purge drying system so lost a smaller notionally 5 per cent of the compressed air but had heating costs and cooling costs. The offer of a zero purge system showed a payback of less than 2 years for the purchase, installation and commissioning of 4 large Beko FRA-V dryers. Ongoing annual savings of more than £250,000 where attractive but another important customer benefit was that they could abandon their plans to add another large compressor into their network. This would have been very costly because alongside the capital and running costs there would have to have been a large investment in creating a space suitable for a large compressor to add to their very large system. Users of oil free compressor should also the consider the use of ‘Heat of Compression’ types of dryer which take advantage of the higher temperatures generated in s dry compressor as opposed to an oil lubricated type, to use the heat for regeneration of a desiccant. The message is clear and simple. Compressed air is the 4th utility but it is expensive and should be used selectively. When looking at energy saving possibilities the factory engineer should be serious looking and thinking “Have I got these open ends to atmosphere?” If the answer is yes then an action plan to reduce or eliminate should be high on his agenda. www.beko-technologies.co.uk


Atlas Copco launches new ‘Purge Saver’ online tool

30 April, 2014
Atlas Copco has launched a new online tool that enables users to calculate the energy costs they can save by using state-of-the-art purge control technology for Atlas Copco and BeaconMedæs medical air plant installations. The new ‘Purge-Saver’ calculator tool is available to use for free on both the Atlas Copco and BeaconMedæs websites. The purge saver feature is a state-of-the-art purge control function that makes medical air purifiers more efficient, which can lead to energy savings on purge losses of up to 90%; depending on installation and usage. As a benefit to end users, the feature is fitted as standard on all Atlas Copco and BeaconMedæs medical air plants. Now, with the new online purge saver calculator tool, users can quickly and easily check the monetary savings (In Sterling, Euros or U.S. dollars) that they can make by using this technology. When using the online purge-saver calculator tool most of the data is already preset, with users only required to insert the quantity of compressors and the average load of their medical air plant. As an example of how the calculator tool works, if a user specifies that they operate one 15kW compressor at an average load of 35%, the estimated saving they could expect to make is up to 2000 Euros every year. Kurt De Smet, Medical Competence Team Leader from Atlas Copco commented, “Many people are aware that purge air is quite expensive, but often don’t realise how much money they can save by using control technology. With this new calculator tool we are convinced that customers will now be better able to understand the added value of using purge control for their medical air plant installations.” The new purge saver calculator complements BeaconMedæs and Atlas Copco’s existing suite of online tools, which includes an advanced medical air plant calculation tool that assists the correct selection of a medical air plant according to different medical gas standards, including ISO7396-1, HTM02-01 and HTM2022. This calculation tool enables users to accurately size a medical air plant according to their specific needs, ensuring that it will not be over sized, which would result in potential cost savings. Moreover, the tool visualises the complete medical air plant and allows the user to request a quote or to export the results in a PDF, Word or Excel format. To access Atlas Copco’s full range of online calculator tools for medical air installations please visit: http://www.atlascopco.com/medicalus/tools/tools/ www.atlascopco.com


The Gast Group launches its latest series of oil-less rocking piston compressors and vacuum pumps

29 April, 2014

The Gast Group – designer and manufacturer of compressors and vacuum pumps and a member of IDEX Corporation’s health and sciences division– used its stand at the Analytica show in Munich this month (April) to launch its latest Gast 86/87R Series oil-less rocking piston compressors and vacuum pumps to the laboratory, medical and analytical sectors.


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