19 July, 2024

Postponing compressed air maintenance is a false economy

06 April, 2023

As energy prices continue to soar across Europe, operators may be tempted to delay the recommended maintenance intervals and routine service on compressed air systems in order to save cost. However, this can be an expensive mistake says Gary Spence, Service Operations Leader from CompAir.

V-belts, separator cartridges, air filters, filter mats, coolants and lubricants as well as operating fluids are just a few examples where improper or deferred maintenance of components can have serious consequences. This can include decreasing separation rates, increasing lubricant consumption, damage to bearings or increased material wear or, in worst case scenarios, irreparable damage to the compressor block itself.

As part of its 10% Taskforce Campaign, the British Compressed Air Society – the UK’s trade association for the compressed air and vacuum industry - discusses the importance of maintenance in helping to reduce the electricity consumption of compressed air systems and avoiding unnecessary energy wastage.

It states that “where rising energy costs are a concern, it makes good sense to ensure (the) system is operating efficiently – and an effective compressed air maintenance regime can help to lower costs.

“Maintaining (the) system in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommended service intervals is essential; not only to ensure long life and reliable operation, but to help prioritise energy performance. Using genuine spare parts, fitted by an authorised service agent will lower repair costs, minimise downtime and improve energy efficiency.”1

Elsewhere in Europe, in its guideline ‘Compressed air systems - safe and economical operation’, the VDMA2 - the largest network organisation of German machine builders - highlights the responsibility of individual companies in the safe operation of compressed air systems.

Regarding stationary compressors, it states that part of this responsibility is, among other things, the selection of a reputable service company, which should make appropriate maintenance recommendations as soon as a compressed air system is delivered and commissioned.

Manufacturers such as CompAir highlight, that among other consideration, a dirty air filter increases the differential pressure, which in turn leads to increased power consumption - and ultimately has a direct impact on the site’s overall electricity bill. Both BCAS and the VDMA experts also point out that care must be taken to use high-quality spare parts and components that comply with the manufacturer’s specifications in order to mitigate the risks of equipment downtime.

Changes to work equipment or practices may require a revision of the risk assessment, making the case for adhering to the recommended maintenance cycles, even in economically volatile times stronger still.

[1] https://taskforce10.bcas.org.uk

[2] https://www.vdma.org/en/compressors-compressedair-vacuum-technology

CompAir - a leading global manufacturer of energyefficient compressed air systems - is working with its customers as they navigate the current geopolitical and economic challenges. Through its network of locally based, factory-trained service engineers, the company provides comprehensive proactive and predictive maintenance, helping manufacturers to keep equipment operating at peak performance, and avoiding unnecessary repair bills at a time of rising energy prices.

For further information, please visit www.compair.com



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