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Compressed-air usage.

Compressed air is very expensive to produce. It is not free despite the fact that we treat it as such in the plastics-processing industry.

Compressed air is the most expensive form of motive, drying, and cooling power available. At the point of application, compressed air costs approximately 10 times (per kWh) more than using direct electric power. Compressed air is used wastefully for product movement, drying, assembly, and blow guns at most plastics-processing sites.

Actions:

* Make a "compressed-air map" for the site. This is a list of all areas where compressed air is used. Do not concentrate on areas where compressed air operates closed cylinders, but look very carefully for areas where compressed air is discharged to atmosphere. The com pressed-air map is the basis for targeting of efforts to reduce usage of compressed air.

* Carry out an engineering evaluation of the cost of each of these applications by estimating usage and cost. Usage should be reduced where possible and other methods of motive power or process should be devised by re-engineering the process. This is particularly relevant in assembly areas.

* Investigate the costs of re-engineering the process to reduce the use of compressed air.

* Replace all open-flow air guns with energy-efficient low-pressure guns.

* Investigate any bowl feeders using compressed air and minimize the use.

Dr. Robin Kent--[c] Tangram Technology Ltd. (www.tangram.co.uk)

Note: Dr. Robin Kent is the author of Energy Management in Plastics Processing, published by Plastics Information Direct, and managing director of Tangram Technology Ltd., consulting engineers specializing in energy management in plastics processing, rkent@tangram.co.uk.
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Title Annotation:Energy-Saving Tip of the Month #19
Author:Kent, Robin
Publication:Plastics Engineering
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2011
Words:264
Previous Article:Ken Braney's monthly look at SPE's activities.
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