Optimised performance with new air compressor technology

Most industries use some form of air or gas compression to generate power to run equipment, tools and plant processes. Yet, in many cases, only 10 to 20 per cent of the energy input to a compressed air system reaches the point of end use. The rest is converted to heat, or is lost through leaks.

To lower energy use and costs, the Ingersoll Rand R-Series air compressor, offered by Caps Australia, has been engineered to require less energy input and more capacity for typical applications, regardless of load.

At the core of this model is an innovative airend, which is the most vital component of every air compressor. The high-capacity next generation R-series 200-250kW models are available with the new, single-stage airend, or the two-stage airend, which increases airflow by up to 21 per cent.

Rotary screw compressors use rotating, meshing male and female helical rotors to compress air. These rotors and their housing contain the airend, which requires complex engineering to improve, because a change to one factor can have a major impact on another. For example, changing the pressure ratio can increase internal air leakage, desired rotor speed and exhaust temperature. This is where expert engineering is critical and Ingersoll Rand accomplished this by applying sophisticated modelling to re-design the convex and concave rotor profiles for optimised airflow.

The Ingersoll Rand next generation R-series with variable speed drive (VSD)  can save up to 35 per cent in energy use over a fixed-speed compressor. Operating a machine as variable speed allows the compressor to deliver compressed air at constant pressure over a wide range of capacities, up to 75 per cent turn down depending on model and pressure rating. With a fixed-speed air compressor, starting up the drive motor creates an energy draw that can be as much as 800 per cent of the full load running current. The company’s motor and drive system limits the in-rush current to less than 100 per cent. This decrease in the starting load minimises peak power charges – therefore lowering energy use.

Advanced air compressors provide additional opportunities to enhance energy efficiencies via remote monitoring. This allows users to control, manage and identify maintenance needs on air compressor systems through their desktop or laptop computers. Users can adjust compressor settings and program compressors according to specific events through real-time schedules. With remote monitoring, users can make better decisions, in a timely manner, so that downtime can be minimised or eliminated.