Three Ancillary Technologies for PET Compressors that Could be Saving You Money

A high-pressure compressor is an important investment. Yet while many operators will take the time to ensure they’re purchasing an efficient and cost-effective compressed air system, they may overlook the opportunities available with the ancillary equipment. Correctly specified ancillary equipment can really reduce your bottom line, while also providing greater levels of monitoring, control and downstream air and gas quality.

Let’s take a look at some of the most effective ancillary technologies that could make a real difference to the day-to-day operations of your compressor.

Recovering air

First of all, there’s the opportunities available with an air recovery system. This is designed to accommodate returned pressure, which can be ‘recycled’ back through the compressor and re-used.

There are three stages of compression involved in a typical PET compressor, in a Belliss & Morcom machine each of these is double-acting; The load is shared equally so the first stage compresses the air up to 4 bar, the second up to 14 bar, and then the third stage up to 45 bar, depending on the customer’s process. However, in standard machines, once this process is complete the leftover compressed air would simply be discharged to the atmosphere. However, the latest technology ensures this compressed air is stored away for future use.

For example, we’re able to recycle and store 6 bar of compressed air. This then actually negates the first stage of compression – which would typically be up to 4 bar – and means the compressed air can immediately pass to the second stage. Essentially, the first stage of the compressor can be switched off. As you can imagine, this air recovery system then saves operators money while also improving the operational efficiency of the machine.

With a Belliss & Morcom ‘W’ design, air recovery systems can operate with an additional layer of control, efficiency and reliability – because the first stage cylinder can run at 0, 50 or 100 per cent load without impacting the compression ratio on the other stages. Meaning no change in output, operating temperature or rod loads.

In fact, when an air recovery system is running, you will save more than 15 per cent of the power required for your high-pressure machine.

Heating up?

Secondly, savings are possible with heat recovery. With the Carbon Trust stating that 90 per cent of the electrical input to a compressor is typically lost as heat, the opportunity to recover waste heat can help save a significant amount of money. In fact, Belliss & Morcom has developed a heat recovery system that enables operators to easily and quickly realise the benefits this process offers.

Heat recovery systems are particularly beneficial for sites with demands for hot water, space or water heating, and especially those that have long operating hours. PET units, for example, use cooling water to lower the temperature of the compressor during the compressed air process. Once heated via the compressor, the water is then transferred to a compressor’s cooling tower.

With a payback period of less than one year – and potentially as quick as three months, depending on your application – a Belliss & Morcom heat recovery system can capture this heat and use it to provide water at a temperature between 50 and 90oC. Indeed, it is possible for up to 36 per cent of the shaft power to be recovered in this way, which reduces the need for on-site heaters or boilers, further lowering potential operating costs.

In addition, the new system from Belliss & Morcom fits in the exact same space envelope, with the same fixing points too, which means the heat recovery system takes up no extra space and can be installed fast. So now that it’s possible to retrofit heat recovery systems to any PET compressor – as well as being able to supply this capability as part of a new piece of equipment – there’s no excuse for customers not to take advantage of cost-savings up to  £150,000 a year, every year!

Driving efficiencies

Finally, let’s consider variable-speed drive (VSD) technology, which can really help handle varying air demands. Compressors that take advantage of this technology use a special drive to control the speed of the unit, reducing energy consumption when compared with a fixed drive model. So, when less air is required, a VSD ensures that the compressor responds appropriately, reducing the compressor speed and saving energy. An added advantage is also the reduction in motor starting currents for sites with limited power supplies.

As you can imagine, this can save considerable money in the long run, dramatically cutting your energy costs while still delivering a stable air supply, at a constant pressure, when required.

Three out of three?

So, how many of these ancillary solutions are you taking advantage of? Just the one? All three? Or perhaps none at all? In which case, these solutions offer a fantastic way to help save money and enhance the operational efficiency of your high-pressure compressor.

For more information on Belliss & Morcom’s ancillary options, click here.