The cost of compressed air in South Africa ha escalating at an alarming rate over the last 2 years. The need for compressed (c/air) air treatment has also escalating as global manufacturing and quality standards are applied in our country allowing us to compete on the world’s markets.
Plant managers agree that polluted compressed air escalates the leak rates, as well as increasing downtime within a plant.
A 10% leak rate on a 160 kW compressor will cost a company around R160,000-00 p.a.
Dirty c/air also increases pneumatically driven failure rates, let alone the issue of air standards of c/air in contact with food or pharmaceutical products.
Providing that your compressed air supply partner is competent and knowledgeable, treating compressed air should be relatively straight forward. It revolves around identifying the standard of compressed air treatment that is required for your plant / process. Then providing the compressed air treatment chain that will provide air at the standard required, with minimal energy wastage, the lowest system pressure drop and with acceptable secondary after care costs.
Your supply partner should at least be capable of;
- Assisting & advising in identifying your required standard of c/air according to ISO 8573
- Specifying the equipment required.
- Supplying the c/air treatment package if required
- Designing the c/air piping system.
- Verifying the end result at commissioning stage.
- Monitoring the system for consistent performance.
- Providing after care support 24/7
The process is not overly complicated, but surprisingly the procedure is rarely followed in South Africa. Constant loss of skilled staff to far off lands, lack of supplier training and lack of planning often leads to less than satisfactory air treatment results. The selection criteria of your supply chain partner is critical. Review the company, its capabilities and its involvement in the c/air treatment industry, and gain references from its client base. Package deals may offer a solution, however many air compressor suppliers offer little in the way of aftercare support.
Buying simple dryers from compressor companies may be an option, however the bigger and more complicated sets should be sourced from specialist air treatment companies. The more the cost of failure increases, the more effort should be emplyed to select your specialist supply chain
A 160 kW air compressor with only a simple maintenance plan will cost +/- R1.6 million a year if operated 24/7/360 and this is only based on R0.84 /kWhr. This cost ignores the cost of installation and purchase costs. On average, raw untreated compressed air costs around R0.10 to R0.12 / m³
Once past the installation process it’s vital that the compressed air is permanently monitored. Any air treatment equipment malfunction will quickly affect compressed air quality. If and when a plant is infected with water and oil from a faulty air drying system it takes weeks to dry down to the correct dew point again. Filter element failure, due to lack of system monitoring , or use of look-alike products may have the effect of contaminating the compressed air pipe distribution system for life with compressor oils and pollutants. Oils do not evaporate from piping systems, only water does. Therefore when oils infect a system the spillage can lay in the pipe network for years.
A CSM2G is an Air System Monitoring Solution that is a WiFi system that utilises ZigBee data transmission system and allows plant engineers to monitor the following on the c/air system;
- C/Air flow & pressure
- C/air dew point
- Oil carry over & particle counts
- Power consumption & water flow
- Air leak losses
With the ability to expand the CSM2G system as needs grow or budgets allow, this cloud based system is user friendly. Cloud based software upgrades are undertaken seamlessly and the cloud data storage ensures security & continuity. Data can be fed to the SCADA system as well as the engineers desk top or laptop simultaneously. The visual layout on the home page is tailored to mimic the clients own system. Alarm set points are adjustable by the user. The CSM2G system is manufactured by CS-iTEC and distributed by Artic Driers International, It ensures that compressed air standards are monitored and met continuously, giving plant engineers the assurance that his air system is meeting the required international standards and plant needs.
Alternatively, there are simpler, lower cost systems. For example an S331 display c/w data logger can accept multiple probes. Flow, Pressure, Temperature, Power, and dew point. It can log data and transmit it to a local computer system via 4 – 20 mA outputs or via Modbus or Profibus.
There are now locally mountable low cost S305 dew point plug and play systems that allows for dryer performance monitoring at a glance and still gives a 4 – 20 mA output it also has volt free contacts! Particle counting and oil carry over monitoring is now available with data downloadable to graphic formats, perfect for users that demand total control of c/air quality.
Go to www.articdriers.co.za To download ISO8573 standards and other interesting c/air related materials
Advertorial submitted by Artic Driers International
Contact Allen Cockfield ph 011 420 0270