The terms “compressed air assessment” and “compressed air audit” are often used interchangeably when looking for ways to lower energy consumption. However, the reality is that while both are useful cost-saving opportunities, they have different purposes. To help you determine which service you need, we’ll explain what compressed air assessments and audits are and what to expect from them. First, let’s discuss why your compressed air system deserves a closer look.
Cost-Savings Through System Optimization
According to the Department of Energy (DoE), compressed air generation may consume as much as 30% of all the electricity used in a factory. This makes it an obvious target for cost reduction efforts. The two dimensions to consider are:
- Efficiency of compressed air production (the supply side)
- Opportunities to reduce consumption (the demand side)
Compressed air assessments and audits review both the supply and demand aspects of a system, but they can differ in depth and findings.
The Compressed Air Assessment
An assessment is a snapshot of the compressed air system at a particular moment. It involves visual inspection of the compressors and ancillary equipment to determine its type, age, condition and suitability to the facility needs. The system layout — including factory piping — is reviewed, and any problems or leaks are noted.
In all but the largest industrial facilities, a specialist can usually complete a compressed air assessment in a few hours. The outcome is a report on overall system condition along with suggestions for simple adjustments or changes to improve efficiency.
The Compressed Air Audit
In contrast to an assessment, a compressed air audit can take seven to 14 days. This is largely because auditors use datalogging equipment to quantify operating parameters such as airflows, pressure drops, humidity, temperatures and energy consumption over an extended period.
Monitoring system performance in this way typically yields a more complete picture of the supply side — the compressor’s efficacy. It can identify load profile problems that are causing inefficient operation; issues with air quality; pressure; and equipment performance.
A thorough audit also looks closely at the demand side of the system. Leaks may be found, usually by surveying the system with ultrasonic leak detection tools. Equipment and processes using significant volumes of air could be identified and remedial actions suggested.
Outputs from a compressed air audit should include:
- The cost of compressed air in kilowatts used per 100 cubic feet per minute (kW/cfm)
- Recommendations detailing how to reduce the kW/cfm number
- Suggestions to reduce compressed air demand
Compressed Air Assessment or Audit?
If a compressed air system has been in place a number of years — and especially if details of the equipment installed are limited — an assessment is a good place to start. This can document what is present and identify what needs doing.
An audit, for which there may be a charge, provides a detailed picture of how well a system meets facility needs. In particular, a first audit forms a baseline against which future improvements can be measured. Consider an audit if you need data to support purchasing or capital investment proposals.
Consult a Compressed Air Expert
Air compressors and the equipment associated with them have become more efficient and increasingly sophisticated in recent years. Kaishan USA produces high-quality compressed air products — including compressors, tanks, pumps, filters and more — for a variety of industries and has a network of distributors who can carry out assessments and audits.
If you’re interested in moving forward, contact us today. We’ll connect you with a distributor in your area who can help. On completion of your assessment or audit, we can help you determine the equipment most appropriate for your facility.