Managing Multiple Compressors for Reliability and Energy Efficiency

Multiple Compressors air management system

Compressed air utility systems are a vital component of industrial facilities. These systems often fly under the radar because they are ever-present throughout a facility. The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Industrial Technologies estimates compressed air systems use between 10% and 30% of the electricity consumed in an industrial facility. Despite the ubiquity of compressed air systems, a well-managed air utility is critical to a facility for energy efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

In multiple compressor systems, one of the greatest sources of inefficiency occurs because of improper load sharing, where a facility’s demand profile is not well-matched to its supply-side capacity. These mismatches arise because OEM local compressor controllers or “one-size-fits-all” control systems are often used to attempt load sharing, load shedding, or load balancing.  Neither solution adequately accomplishes load sharing, load shedding, or load balancing. As a result, compressors operate outside of their most efficient duty cycles. 

To operate at peak efficiency, varying types of compressors must be managed differently. This is especially true when it comes to the load profiles of centrifugal compressors. OEM local controllers are not designed to coordinate with multiple compressors. The best way to accomplish true load sharing is with an open local controller, such as an AirLogix™ local control system. Open logic controllers designed to dovetail with a master controller offer a centralized control system to realize true load sharing.

AirLogix™ local control system replaces a compressors OEM controller. They utilize an Allen-Bradley CompactLogix PLC that completely automates the compressor’s operation by continuously adjusting to real-world conditions in-situ. The AirLogix™ local control systems are the foundation for automating a group of compressors, centrifugal, or non-centrifugal.  Maximum efficiency gains can be realized when the AirLogix™ systems are combined with the AirMaster™ PLC for complete load sharing management.

To inquire further about managing multiple compressors for optimal reliability and energy efficiency, contact Case Engineering at 812-422-2422 today.