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If you are in the process of investing in a new compressor you will no doubt have obtained a number of quotes. Some may be cheaper than others but, should the initial investment cost be your only consideration in selecting the final compressor? In this blog we consider all of the lifetime costs of a compressed air system that should be evaluated in selecting a new compressor.
Did you realise, that on average the capital investment cost of a compressed air system is only 18% of its total lifetime costs? When comparing new compressor quotes it is therefore imperative that the costs that make up the further 82% should also be closely considered. What the other 82% amounts to will be discussed in this blog.
Accounting for up to three quarters of lifetime costs, energy is by far the largest cost attributed to running a compressed air system. Energy costs will vary depending on the kW size of the air compressor and the demand for compressed air (how often the compressor is run) and of course the price of energy itself – the electricity rate. Different types of air compressors will vary in efficiency (e.g. fixed speed versus variable speed) as well as different brands of compressors. In comparing quotes for new compressors it is therefore important to bear all these factors in mind and compare like with like e.g. the same kW sized compressor or the same compressor technology.
As energy costs account for such a significant percentage of the air compressor’s lifetime costs, it is therefore actually the most important thing to consider. In most cases it makes financial sense to spend more on the initial purchase of the equipment if it is more efficient as the lifetime costs are going to be less due to the lower running costs. A good analogy is a car that has a better MPG will cost more than a like for like car with a lower MPG but over the lifetime of the car it will be cheaper to run given the lower fuel costs.
Installing your air compressor amounts to about 2% of its total lifetime cost; this cost is likely to have been quoted in your initial purchase quotation. This cost may seem like a good place to save money, choosing ‘cheaper’ options, such as cheaper pipe work, or pipe work that is easier to install, therefore reducing installation time and costs. But going for the ‘cheaper’ option, may actually significantly increase the total lifetime cost of your air compressor system in the long run. The efficiency of piping should be taking into consideration, and also the quality. Having piping that is less prone to leaking, will keep running costs lower over time.
To ensure your air compressor runs as effectively and efficiently as it can you should always follow a prescribed maintenance schedule. Maintenance costs amount to about 7% of a compressed air system’s lifetime costs. Keeping both of these facts in mind, it is essential to investigate the recommended maintenance schedules and costs of servicing the new compressor, as well as the local availability of spare parts, qualified Service Technicians and the cost of breakdowns or emergency service. Following the manufactures recommended maintenance schedule will ensure that the air compressor system is running to its peak potential.