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Glaston had been managing the air compressor system for a large steel works factory in the Midlands for a number of years. It was during a routine test that we first noticed an issue that would affect performance and cost efficiency.
Following a routine test carried out on an Atlas Copco GA180 compressor for one of our valued customers, the inverter drive was found to be blown. Using a genuine OEM part would be an expensive repair, so Glaston was faced with the challenge of finding an alternative solution that would satisfy the needs of this company
When assessing the options for this customer, Glaston had a number of things to consider. Firstly, the performance of the new part had to be consistent with the demand of the business.
Glaston can retrofit any brand of fixed speed screw compressor with a suitable frequency drive unit, in order to turn any fixed speed compressor into a variable speed compressor. Consequently, the savings are usually significant on any compressor above 18kw. However, the demand on the compressor determines whether or not this is a suitable option.
If for example, the flow demand is varied during an average business day, then a variable speed compressor can make a good energy saving solution. However, if the demand is more or less at a fixed rate, then a fixed speed compressor can offer the same level of efficiency.
The only true way to determine this is to carry out a data logging exercise. Once this has been completed, a simulation can then be carried out to find the best energy efficient compressor for the demand.
Other factors to consider when sourcing replacement parts or new equipment, are the conditions in which the compressor runs. For example, dusty conditions are not suitable for an inverter as dust can ingress and blow into internal components. Moisture can be a problem for the same reason.
It is important to take these factors into consideration because sometimes a variable speed compressor can seem to be the correct option on paper, but may not meet all customer requirements.
In this instance, Glaston surveyed the options available and offered a brand new retrofit inverter on the compressor, which was carried out by our specialised team. The drive offered was a WEG drive – a drive intended for speed control of three-phase induction motors. This was predicted to suit the application and would perform well.
Before carrying out a retro inverter conversion, Glaston will always look at the compressor condition before proceeding. All major components need to be checked to ensure there will be no mechanical failures before proceeding with a costly conversion.
The drive was installed and commissioned on site and a full major service was completed in order to bring the compressor back to its full performance.The compressor was then piped into the compressed air system using 100mm alloy Transair pipe work and the compressor was commissioned by the team.
The customer was left with a restored compressed air system in full working order and was able to continue with production as normal. The new retrofit inverter drive proved to be cost-efficient, as well as smooth running. This ensured that the steel works factory was able to benefit from reduced energy costs over a long-term period.
If you are considering having a new compressed air system installed, or if you would like some advice on how to maximise your existing system, Glaston can audit your compressor and running demands to determine the most viable option for you. We offer a holistic approach to compressed air management, ensuring you get the most reliable and energy efficient compressor solution for your needs.
When financing a new compressed air system, we offer various finance packages on new and used equipment from brands such as HPC Kaeser and Atlas Copco. There are also government allowances available that can help you fund conversions as well as new energy efficient compressors and dryers.