Compressed air that doesn’t blow your budget

Atlas Copco Compressors’ GA VSD+ range of air compressors combine a compact design and in-house developed motor and drive systems to create maximum energy efficiency. 

Energy costs are a major concern for all manufacturers in their struggle to keep operations profitable and to be able to compete globally. Selecting the right equipment can help plant- owners drive down energy costs considerably.

Traditionally, air compressors were given little attention to when it came to energy savings. However, today manufacturers can’t afford to be negligent with any of the equipment in their space. A poorly- chosen air compressor could cost the manufacturer thousands of dollars in wasted energy costs per year.

Atlas Copco Compressors has been championing a compact and efficient industrial air compressor – the VSD+ – which is proven to cut a company’s power bill by 50 per cent on average.

“There are two main ways by which the VSD+ family of compressors save energy costs,” Delfin Perozo, Atlas Copco’s product manager – oil injected screw compressors and low pressure, told Manufacturers’ Monthly.

“The first one comes from a combination of a highly efficient iPM (Permanent Magnet) motor, a patented compression element and the direct drive technology. All three technologies have been designed in- house by Atlas Copco Compressors to ensure maximum efficiency.

“While the typical energy rating for electrical motors in the market IE2 and the premium efficiency IE3, Atlas Copco’s Plus series fixed speed compressors have high efficiency IE4 motors. In the variable speed (VSD) compressors, the combination of the motor and the in-house developed drive produces an efficiency level of IE5. That is two steps higher than the typical premium compressors,” Perozo said.

Being more efficient also means that the compressors can deliver more air for the same quantity of power.

“The second way by which they save cost is that the user can purchase smaller compressors to carry out the same tasks they did with a bigger compressor,” Perozo said.

A VSD compressor automatically adjusts its motor and element speed to the air demand, considerably cutting energy use and costs.

While rotary screw compressors are available both in the oil-free and oil-injected formats, Perozo said the oil-injected rotary screw compressors – identified by the suffix GA in the Atlas Copco family of products – are the more common products on the market.

Atlas Copco Compressors offers GA VSD+ oil-injected rotary screw compressors in three different capacity ranges: 7-15 kW, 15-37kW, and 75-110 kW. The company is expanding the GA VSD+ product range up to 160 kW later this year.

Compact size, small footprint

A big advantage with the VSD+ compressor range is the compact size, according to Perozo.

“We have been able to reduce the size of these compressors by about 30 per cent. That means that the plants need to allocate smaller spaces to the compressor. It also means that the compressors have
a smaller carbon footprint, as they are made using less material and transported using less fuel,” he said.

This is particularly beneficial when an existing industrial plant expands its operations.

“If a plant decides to expand the operational capacity and requires more compressed air, there is no need to increase the compressor space as similar results can now be achieved with more compact compressors,” Perozo explained.

Fewer services: more uptime

While the typical oil-injected rotary-screw compressors require maintenance at least twice per year, and some of them four times per year, Perozo said the VSD+ series reduces the maintenance frequency to once a year.

This means considerable saving in replacing the oil for oil-injected compressors. “For example a 90 kW compressor uses about 25 to 30 litres of oil, which is replaced in each service cycle and goes to waste. In the VSD+, the oil needs to be replaced only once a year,” Perozo said.

The service time is further reduced as the compressors provide easy access to all components. “Easy access means less hours spent doing servicing and more uptime for the compressor,” he said.

Atlas Copco Compressors prides itself on offering the customer the complete solution, including the service. The company offers different service packages, where the customer can choose from a basic maintenance package to a premium, life-time warranty at an annual cost.

The user can also request some optional add-ons as in built refrigerant dryers, including an energy recovery system, which recovers the heat from the compressor in the form of warm water or hot water without any adverse influence on the compressor performance.

“Our customers use this option to reduce their energy and gas bills. Some of our customer is using the energy recovery system to pre-heat water for their boilers. This has lowered heir gas consumption by nearly 25 per cent,” Perozo said.

Atlas Copco Compressors uses the same philosophy of energy efficiency in all of their product range, Perozo said.

“Be it the oil-free compressors, the vacuum pump or low-pressure compressors, we do not only design the compression element. We also design and manufacture the main components as the variable speed drivers, the premium electric motors, unloader valves, etc. – which helps us make them more efficient.

“Reducing the size, increasing efficiencies and increasing uptime with less demanding services. That’s the philosophy for every single Atlas Copco product,” he said.

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