Energy efficiency top of the agenda

11th April 2017
Posted By : Anna Flockett
Energy efficiency top of the agenda

The cost of acquisition for industrial compressed-air plants, on average accounts for 30%. So what about the other 70%? Energy costs. However, the good news is: upgrading to the latest compressed-air technology can reduce those costs by a big margin. This is certainly one of the reasons that energy efficiency remains top of the agenda at ComVac, the flagship trade show for compressed air technology.

The latest edition of ComVac will soon take place under the umbrella HANNOVER MESSE, from 24th-28th April 2017 in Hannover.

All up, some 260 exhibitors will be there in halls 26 and 27 to showcase the current state of the art in industrial compressed-air and vacuum-air technology. As well as the perennially important theme of energy efficiency, the displays will have a strong focus on contracting, Industry 4.0 and predictive maintenance.

"ComVac profiles all areas of the compressed-air and vacuum-air technology industry. This gives our visitors a comprehensive overview of the technology landscape and positions the industry as a key enabler," explained Wedell-Castellano, Global Director ComVac, HANNOVER MESSE. "Moreover, from an exhibitor standpoint, ComVac offers valuable synergies with the other shows at HANNOVER MESSE. That is because the industrial companies who exhibit at those shows are very often also potential buyers of compressed-air and vacuum-air solutions. This synergy benefit is particularly strong with the Energy and MDA (Motion, Drive & Automation) shows, but it also applies to all the other shows at HANNOVER MESSE."

This year’s ComVac will feature an extensive array of new products and solutions. The following is a selection of highlights:
Atlas Copco Airpower (hall 26, stand B32) will be showcasing its GA 90+-160+/GA 110-160 VSD series of oil-injected rotary screw compressors. The series’ integrated Variable Speed Drive (VSD) technology and energy recovery systems yield significant energy savings and reductions in operating costs.

They also feature latest-generation oil-injected rotary screw elements for longer service life and trouble-free operation. What’s more, the ES central controller links all compressors and dryers and lowers the overall pressure band to achieve further energy savings.

Water condensation is the enemy of industrial compressed-air systems, so it is vital to have effective drying technologies to eliminate water vapour. BASF SE (hall 26, Stand E04) has such a technology – adsorption drying – which it will be unveiling at ComVac. As used in compressed-air systems, adsorption is where molecules of water (the adsorbate) accumulate on the surface of a solid adsorbent medium. Unlike absorption (where the water permeates into a medium like a sponge), the water is ‘trapped’ on the surface of the medium, leaving the air dry.

The DRYPOINT RA series of refrigeration dryers by BEKO Technologies (hall 26, stand C31) automatically adjust their output in accordance with compressed-air withdrawal (demand), thereby reducing partial-load operating costs by up to 70% compared with conventional refrigeration dryers.

The technology has applications wherever compressed-air systems and products require reliable protection from condensates and contamination. Drying is achieved by cooling the air, resulting in condensation which is then discharged with no loss of compressed air. The air is then reheated, reducing the relative humidity of the dried air to below 30%. The amount of energy used in this process varies according to the required drying performance, thereby further lowering energy costs and protecting the environment.

At stand B56 in hall 26, BOGE KOMPRESSOREN Otto Boge KG will be presenting a prototype of its S-4 Optimus rotary screw compressor. The purpose of the S-4 Optimus project is to demonstrate what a quiet, efficient and smart future might look like. When ready, the new series will be even more reliable, intelligent and energy efficient than other commercially available systems. BOGE KOMPRESSOREN will also be presenting an array of standalone devices and components, as well as intelligent machine and central control systems and remote monitoring solutions.

Bosch KWK System (Hall 27, Stand E17) is new to ComVac. It will be using the show to present its compressed-air-and-heat system – a variant of Combined Heat and Power (CHP) technology that involves compressed air instead of power. With this system, a gas motor drives an oil-injected screw compressor. Most of the heat in the compressor oil, engine cooling water and exhaust gas is captured by heat exchangers and transferred to the compressed-air heating circuit. This increases overall plant efficiency, cuts energy costs, reduces CO2 emissions and provides certainty in the face of increasingly stringent efficiency and emission regulations.

BRIGE will also be at ComVac. The startup will be showcasing its wet cleaning system for overhead conveyor chains. The system is an in-line solution that cleans and dries the chain as it moves through its normal cycle – no conveyor shut-downs required. The dryer uses regenerative blower technology, which reduces energy costs by up to 90% compared with the use of compressed air during the conveyor chain drying process. The system also prevents contamination rejects, minimises the risk of chain ripping and prolongs the overall chain service life. The cleaning system is suitable for both stationary and mobile applications.

Gardner Denver Deutschland (hall 26, stand B60) will be using ComVac to present its CompAir Quantima series of oil-free centrifugal air compressors. The CompAir Quantima series avoids oil contamination and offers outstanding energy efficiency, reliability and low environmental impact. And with noise levels of just 69dB(A), it is also very quiet. What’s more, it has a physical footprint around 25% smaller than comparable compressors on the market.

In today’s factories, system reliability is everything, which is why Ingersoll-Rand International (hall 26, stand C12) recently introduced its next-generation R-Series of rotary screw compressors. The airend comprises precision-engineered rotating, intermeshing helical rotors that deliver optimal reliability. The R-Series also offers overall energy efficiency improvements of up to 13% compared with legacy products.

Kaeser Kompressoren (hall 27, stand E18) will be showcasing its range of rotary screw compressors. All such units in the 30kW+ range are now equipped with Super Premium Efficiency IE4 motors. Kaeser has also further optimised the airend to increase specific power by up to 12%. The company has achieved yet another milestone with its frequency controlled ASD compressor series, which now have synchronous reluctance motors installed as standard. These offer significantly reduced rotor power losses in the all-important partial-load range compared with asynchronous motors.

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