Understanding the Importance of Pressure Dew Point Monitoring

Compressed air systems are utilized in many different processes in a variety of industries. Dew point monitoring is often essential with compressed air systems. This is what you need to know about the importance of monitoring dew point.

The dew point is the temperature at which condensation will form. This term is familiar to most people from weather forecasts. It is a useful measurement because it correlates to the amount of water vapor in the air or in a gas. Dew point is a term that refers to the dew point of a gas at a pressure that is higher than atmospheric pressure. The dew point temperature of a gas increases with pressure. The dew point is important when working with many compressed air systems.

The dew point is not important in some systems. Tire inflation compressors, for example, are not likely to be significantly affected by a variable dew point. In many applications, however, the dew point is important. Pipes with excessive condensate from a higher dew point freeze up if there is too much water. In many industrial applications, excess moisture in a compressed air system may lead to equipment problems. The header pipes made of carbon steel can rust, and pressure vessels can be compromised due to corrosion and rust. Actuators at a production line can rust and corrode due to excessive water making it through the compressed air system.

There are many applications that utilize compressed air to provide conveyance like food powders, plastics and even carbon black. These application require dew point be kept low to avoid product contamination. Consideration should also be given to controlling the dryer to the targeted dew point. The atmospheric moisture will change as the weather changes. Therefore, there may be energy savings possible by controlling the dew point.

Dew point monitoring can be achieved by installing high-quality dew point sensors and monitors in the compressed air system. The use of a pressure dew point monitoring system allows you to be sure that you are reliably maintaining the desired moisture level in a compressed air system. There are many factors that can affect the reliability of a dew point monitoring system, making it worthwhile to partner with experienced compressor control experts.

Case Controls provides high-quality control solutions for industrial compressed air systems. Our solutions have been proven over time with a variety of compressors. Contact us at 812-422-2422 to learn how our expertise and resources can improve the performance of your compressed air system.

Compressor KPIs: What Are They and How Can They Be Used?

If you own or operate an industrial operation that relies on compressed air systems, then you know exactly how important it is for these systems to run as efficiently as possible. Inefficient compressed air systems can cost companies thousands of dollars every year and take a toll on equipment over time. Therefore, it’s important for companies in the industrial sector to take a look at all of the Key Performance Indicators, or KPIs, associated with their compressed air systems. KPIs can be used to evaluate the performance of systems and to improve the overall compressed air efficiency in your facility.

There are a handful of KPIs that can be measured during routine inspections of compressed air systems.

For efficiency, power consumption is a KPI. There are many companies that don’t monitor their power consumption closely enough over time to see if they could reduce it, and again, it ends up costing them money. The basic measure could be CFM/HP or CFM/KW (the inverses KW/CFM is often used). It would be good to compare the CFM to standard SCFM conditions to adjust for temperature and other atmospheric conditions. It is important to measure the actual CFM going to the plant. If done properly this KPI will provide valuable information as to how well the supply of compressors online is matched to the demand.

One KPI that represents demand is to compare CFM to production measures. Examples of this are CFM/parts produced per week or month. It could also be CFM/tons produced. This KPI will provide a good indication of compressed air wasted at the process or an increase in leakage or artificial demand.

One other important KPI is system pressure. As the pressure increases in your system, so will the power consumption, which could end up costing you additional money. By keeping your system pressure within an acceptable range, you can cut costs and make your system more efficient. The KPI can be measured as an average pressure as well as a standard deviation around that average.

There are other KPIs that can also be monitored to evaluate how efficiently a compressed air system is running as well. Air flow, temperature and carbon footprint are all KPIs that you should be keeping an eye on. By keeping track of KPI data and crunching numbers based on your findings, you can make your operation running more efficiently in the future. As it is often stated, you cannot control what you do not measure.

At Case Engineering Inc., we’ve been designing, maintaining and servicing compressed air control systems for more than 30 years. Contact us at 812-422-2422 to learn more about how we can make your company’s compressed air system better and more efficient today.

 

Understanding Air System Artificial Demand

Companies that rely on compressed air systems are constantly looking for ways to make them run more efficiently. Many of these companies end up spending more money than they need to on an annual basis simply because their existing air systems are inefficient and wasting air. One of the many reasons that this can happen is due to something called artificial demand.

Essentially, artificial demand is, according to Compressed Air Challenge, “the excess volume of air that is required by unregulated end uses as a result of supplying higher pressure than necessary for applications.” Artificial demand in an air system is something that needs to be considered as part of the overall air system, and it should be monitored to make sure your air system is running properly.

In more lay terms, this artificial demand is the extra pressurized air in the system that is not being used or is being generated even though the attached components or end applications are not being used.  The higher pressure causes more CFM to flow through orifices, leaks or similar types of openings.  This means that the system is always running as though it needs to provide pressurized air throughout the system, even if the actual demand isn’t there. For example, a 20 PSI increase on a ¼ pipe will cause 10 more CFM to flow out the opening.

Many compressed air users don’t realize artificial demand exists and therefore don’t know how to reduce its effects. Companies can reduce the artificial demand by implementing an overall controls system to maintain the compressed air system at the actual pressure that is required. This minimizes extra strain on generation units, reduces pressure being held throughout the system unnecessarily, and can decrease utility costs while increasing the lifespan of the system overall.

Is your company currently using an air system where the supply and demand are out of whack and not conducting true load sharing? Are you operating your air system at a higher pressure because it is not under control?  Case Controls can help you with this problem by offering up real solutions. We can provide you with compressor management equipment that will bring your artificial demand down and see to it that your equipment doesn’t waste any energy or money when it’s running. Whether you want to install AirMaster load sharing solutions for centrifugal compressors or you want us to take a look at your current setup and give you our opinion on your best course of action, we are happy to help you get your facility under control.

Call us at 812-422-2422 today and find out how we can help you get the most from your compressed air equipment.

Safety Concerns with Compressed Air

Compressed air is something that’s often utilized in industrial, commercial and agricultural workplaces. It has a lot of practical applications, and it is so useful that it is often labeled the fifth utility, alongside other utilities like water, electricity and natural gas in terms of importance to an industrial facility. Compressed air, however, can be very dangerous if you don’t take all of the necessary safety precautions before using it. Let’s review some of the potential dangers associated with using compressed air on the job site.

Compressed Air GunWhat’s the Risk?

Compressed air is – as the name implied – pressurized and compressed to such a degree that blowing air directly at a person can actually end up causing injury. In serious instances, this air can penetrate the skin and even causing lead to a life-threatening air embolism. Likewise, compressed air can rupture ear drums and even displace eyeballs if you don’t pay attention and operate air-powered equipment as carefully as possible.  OHSA restricts the maximum of 35 psi of air be used for blowing applications or process that people can be directly exposed.

Tiny particles can also be blown by compressed air, and these small grains of dust, dirt or other materials can cause extensive damage to skin and various body parts. Even if compressed air doesn’t actually come into contact with someone, the noise that it creates can harm their hearing. These are just a few of the most common dangers linked to compressed air as reported by the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation.

Another concern results from the fact that compressed often contains some level of oil.  This can result in oil being injected into the body.  It can result in oil injection injuries, similar to high pressure hydraulic.  Loss of limbs or even death can be the consequence of this type of injury if immediate medical attention is not provided.

Staying Safe

To prevent these problems, you should never aim compressed air at another person. You should also avoid using compressed air for cleaning purposes as the blowing air could lead to unintended harm. It’s also important to always wear earplugs when you are working around compressed air to protect your hearing.  There are also OHSA approved nozzels and regulator that can be applied to help prevent the injuries.

Finally, if you use machinery that relies on compressed air, you should inspect it periodically to ensure that all air hoses and fittings are properly installed. Compressed air can put a lot of strain on the hoses and components attached to the system, which means that hoses can come loose from time to time. This can turn into real hazard if a hose comes loose, causing it to whip around wildly and blowing pressurized air in every direction.

If you use industrial compressed air utilities in your line of work, Case Controls can help you make sure it is being used in an optimal way. Contact us at 812-422-2422 today to speak with one of our representatives about the compressed air automation services we provide for our customers.

Case Controls: A History of Successes

Case Controls has been helping companies design and build world-class control solutions for all of their industrial compressed air systems for more than 30 years now. While the cutting-edge and innovative solutions that we have created have played a big role in our success over the years, we couldn’t possibly be as successful as we are today without our excellent state-of-the-art facility in Evansville, Indiana and, more importantly, the staff members who fill it and help us to be the best in the business.

The building that we use as our central location was built in 1916 and used to be the Illinois Central Freight Depot, a freight train station in that shipped and received merchandise to and from locations around the region, as Historic Evansville notes. With a design that was originally built to house freight for the railroad, this structure has handled the past century well, and still remains structurally sound and reliable for our needs today. Take a look at this video from YouTube user FeeltheHistory to see more of the history of the building.

When Case Controls took over the building in 1986, we refurbished it completely, and we have continued to update and make improvements to it every year since. As the sole occupant in the building, we have been able to convert the expansive space to meet all of our needs, and now have designated areas tailored to function for training, testing, engineering and manufacturing inside of the building. Each of these areas plays a pivotal role in our ability to deliver the best products and services to our customers.

While our building has evolved over the years, many of the long-time employees on our team have remained the same and continue to work hard to help Case Controls deliver our compressed air solutions.

Case ControlsJohn Craddock started Case in 1986 as a general automation house. We soon became one of the first authorized Allen Bradley distributors in the U.S., and for 25 of our 31 years, we have specialized in automated air compression systems, with it becoming our sole focus under Craddock’s leadership roughly 19 years ago.

Another one of our longtime employees is Jeff Small, who started at Case in 1998. As a member of our team for nearly two decades, Small has worked up in the company, Case Controlstaking on more responsibilities and duties, and now manages all aspects of panel fabrication. It’s employees like Small that make Case such a special place to work and allow us to continue offering reliable and purpose-built solutions for our clients.

Throughout our history, Case Controls has adapted to meet the needs of changing technologies and the demands of our clients, and we remain committed to continuing to grow and serve our customers well into the future. We welcome the opportunity to work with companies who need help with their compressed air automation and hope that you will consider working with us. Call us at 812-422-2422 today to learn more about how Case Controls can assist you and your facility.

New Master Controls Help Paper Company Save $560K

Like many other companies out there, a paper company in Eastover, North Carolina, hit a point recently where they felt as though their plant wasn’t as efficient as it should be. They were using two 800HP Joy centrifugal compressors with obsolete Quad III controllers and three Atlas Copco fixed speed rotary screw compressors with obsolete controls, and they felt as though they were wasting a significant amount of compressed air and energy every single day.

They were right. The company called on Case Controls to take a look at their system and help them decide whether or not new master controls would solve the problem they were facing. After surveying all of their equipment, we ultimately concluded that they could cut down on their wasted energy by installing a new AirLogix® control system and Quad III retrofit kits for their two Joy centrifugal compressors. Additionally, we provided the company with AirLogixPD™ rotary screw controls for their Atlas Copco machines.

We also installed an AirMaster™ load sharing system to manage demand across all compressors. There was no need to add a separate programmable logic controller (PLC) system to manage this load sharing since the rotary screw compressors were upgraded with CompactLogix PLCs™, which made the AirMaster™ floating master architecture a feasible solution.

During two, two-week outages, we made the upgrades to the centrifugal and rotary screw systems in sequence, and when the work was completed, the company found that our solutions helped the plant out immensely. The increased efficiency in operations has been documented as more than $560,000 annually – an incredible savings in operational costs. With compressors no longer running when there was no demand, excess air production dropped thanks to their new master controls, creating a vastly more efficient facility.

If you run a business that relies on air compressors and you think that you might be spending too much money every year on energy, you should consider doing what this paper company did and investing in new equipment. Case Controls can supply you with the products and services you need to increase your efficiency, often finding solutions that can save your company thousands of dollars per year, meaning your investment will frequently pay for itself. Contact us at 812-422-2422 today to see how we can help you.

Coffee Processor Perks Up Savings with New PLC System

Until recently, a major coffee processor was operating a plant that utilized a very inefficient system. The plant relied on a 350 Centac centrifugal compressor, a 500 Joy centrifugal compressor, two 500 HP Atlas Copco rotary screw compressors, and two 800HP Atlas Copco rotary screw compressors – all of which provided plenty of power, but inefficiently. The machinery was used to provide compressed air to convey coffee throughout the processing facility – a primary function of the plant – but to manage the large swings in airflow demand, plant employees had to manually control the different compressors throughout the day.

While there was plenty of capacity available at plant, the lack of an automation system to control the compressors meant fluctuating demand and difficult to manage. As you might guess, this, in turn, led to the company wasting a significant amount of compressed air every day, and over time, it cost the company hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. Plant management commissioned a study to find out how they could start saving money and brought in our team to help improve their operations.

Case Controls stepped in and made a number of improvements that helped the plant work more efficiently. While the company was already using AirLogix® controls on their centrifugal machines that were installed by Case Controls, however there was no network that connected the compressors. We installed a programmable logic controller (PLC) system that communicated with all of the rotary compressors along with the centrifugal compressors that allowed them to work together. We also helped with the plant’s demand-side integration. The system automatically calculated the projected demand based upon which conveyors were being used.

The results were astounding. They found in a study after Case Controls finished the upgrades that the improvements generated an overall savings of more than $111,000 in the first year. The company also found that, due to the improvements that were made, the operators who work in the plant are now more aware of how to manage the compressed air necessary for the conveyance systems, resulting in an overall increase in efficiency.

Case Controls can help your company save money and improve your operations, as well. We offer a wide range of control solutions to manage air compressors at industrial facilities and can help assess your operation and help you find increased efficiency. Learn more by calling us today at 812-422-2422.

Project Preview: Big Improvements Planned Nationwide in 2017

At Case Controls, we are currently celebrating our 31st year in business. While we’re based in Evansville, Indiana, we have helped a number of companies – both large and small – from all across the world to upgrade the controllers and systems that they use to operate their plants and factories. From Kimberley-Clark and Michelin to Kellogg’s and Caterpillar, companies have trusted us to help make their operations more efficient and to save them money.

In 2017, we are planning to do more of the same and hope this year will be our biggest one yet. Here are just a few of the projects we have on the calendar as of right now:

Refining a Refinery

We are going to be installing three new Allen Bradley-based AirLogix® systems on existing compressors at an east Texas refinery, in addition to AirMaster™ floating architecture that will provide the refinery with true load sharing. The floating master architecture will not require a separate programmable logic controller (PLC) as it will be installed in each of the local controllers, and the system will allow the compressors in the refinery to work together better. This entire system will be installed outdoors and will meet all of the API design and environmental requirements.

Power Plant Compressor Upgrades

We are going to be upgrading four old compressors at a power plant in Florida and installing a new Allen Bradley PLC-based AirLogix® system that will provide a dynamic throttle limit and air density compensation. This will allow the system to compensate controls based on the temperature of incoming air, while also balancing the overall load more effectively. This means compressors will be able to operate dynamically, eliminating the need for wasteful blow offs while improving efficiency and providing a comprehensive overview of the system status at all times.

Breaking Problems with Glass Manufacturing

We are going to be upgrading a Joy Quad III controller at a glass manufacturing facility located in the Chicago area in 2017, as well. This updating project comes a year after replacing several decades-old and obsolete Quad III controllers in the other plants across the country. The retrofit kit that we plan on using will allow us to perform a much more rapid installation than normal while providing the plant with a new, advanced Allen Bradley PLC control platform, AirLogix®.

Chemical Compress Control Upgrades

The final major project on our agenda is the continuation of a project at a chemical facility near Mobile, Alabama, where we work to finish updating three of five compressors with AirLogix® controls. The project will also include the implementation of a new AirMaster™ system that will provide load sharing capabilities on each header, in addition to a Case AirGate™ solution that will improve valve regulation and make sharing air between high-pressure and low-pressure headers a simpler process. In turn, this allows extra capacity from the high-pressure compressor to be more efficiently used rather than starting the low-pressure compressor when it isn’t required, providing improved overall operational flow and reducing energy costs.

Case Controls offers a wide and diverse range of solutions to meet the air flow and compression management needs of companies throughout the country in a wide range of industries and applications To learn more about what we can do for you and your operation, call us at 812-422-2422 today and speak with one of our experts about your needs.

Tandus Finds Consistent Pressure with Updated Equipment

Prior to working with Case Controls, Tandus found itself dealing with a problem that has become all too common among those that specialize in manufacturing. The company was using three Sullair TS32/25 compressors with limited modulation capability along with two 700HP Cameron Cooper centrifugal compressors that included obsolete Quad 2000 controllers. However, each compressor was working independently, which forced operators to start and stop the compressors based on the needs of the Tandus plant. The compressors were installed in two different parts of the plant, meaning the operators were constantly on the move and fighting to keep the pressure generated by the compressors consistent.

The operators found this task to be almost impossible, and the pressure swing within the plant often had a range of 10 psi. Staggered pressure setpoints at the different compressors were also used to attempt load sharing, but this actually led to compressors “fighting” one another, further contributing to the pressure variations. Most of the parts within the compressors were also outdated, which made repairing them very difficult.

Case Controls fixed these issues by upgrading the Sullair compressors to AirStarPD-SAS™ controllers with spiral valve modulation and upgrading the Cameron Cooper centrifugal compressors to AirLogix® controllers. These compressors were installed in the same area of the Tandus plant, and a 3PX AirMaster™ load-sharing system was also installed to turn the compressors on and off as needed to meet the demands of the facility. A common air pressure sensor and one central control panel were installed.  This new setup allowed for operators of the compressors to access everything they needed in one place.

We made the upgrades and installations during the Tandus plant’s Christmas shutdown, allowing us to make improvements without requiring any drop in normal operations. Following the updates, Tandus reported staggering results and drastic improvements in efficiency. The AirMaster™ system was able to help the company manage their air header better, which eliminated most of the wasted air that was costing them a significant amount of money in energy costs – not to mention throwing the pressure of the entire plant off. Tandus no longer has to worry about the compressors working against one another, and if repairs are ever needed, the company will be able to find parts and complete the repairs without any major problems.

The improvements have also provided an ability to more quickly respond to increases or decreases in demand, allowing compressors to operate when and as needed automatically. This improved pressure regulation has also made operations smoother and more consistent, delivering even air flow to all areas of the plant and making operations easier than ever.

If you are running a company that is wasting compressed air and dealing with pressure issues, Case Controls can help you get your situation under control. We offer a wide range of products, like centrifugal controllers, rotary screw controllers and more, that can improve your operations and help you be more efficient. We can also provide a comprehensive assessment of your operations and create a plan to upgrade your operation. Call us at 812-422-2422 today and find out more about the full range of products and services we can provide for you.

Upgraded Controls, Upgraded Energy Efficiency

A Kellogg’s plant in Lancaster, Pennsylvania realized that it was wasting a lot of energy every year to operate four air compressors. An energy audit revealed that the company was wasting at least $46,000 – if not more – due to this problem. The issue seemed to be that without effective controls for the compressors in place, the plant was creating more compressed air than was needed. This excessive generation was costing the plant thousands of dollars, and Kellogg’s took some steps on its own to try and correct the problem. The company reached out to Case Controls for help, and our team went to work to make the facility significantly more energy efficient by upgrading the compressor controls.

We recommended installing Case AirLogix® systems on each the four compressors used at the plant and adding a Case AirMaster™ to manage the activity of the four compressors. The system we set up was designed to allow the company to fully control each compressor and reduce the amount of wasted compressed air. We estimated that it could save Kellogg’s about $106,000 annually, but according to Michael Thomas, the controls engineer for Kellogg’s Lancaster facility, the total savings was even greater than originally anticipated.

Thomas thanked Case Controls for upgrading the Joy Turbo Air Compressors that were used in the facility with new controls and reported that Kellogg’s has saved more than $135,000 per year since they were installed – nearly $30,000 annually more than estimated. Thomas also appreciated the dedication and support we put behind our product, saying that the technical support and engineering team provided by Case Controls was “absolutely outstanding.”

Kellogg’s is just one of the companies that Case Controls has helped by providing centrifugal controllers, rotary screw controllers, air dryer controllers and more. We have also received glowing endorsements from companies like Caterpillar and Michelin Tire, and we take pride in our ability to provide system solutions and support services to companies looking to achieve better energy efficiency. To discover more about our unique products and services and to see how we could help save your company money, call us at 812-422-2422 today.