Variable speed drives
In a recent edition of Compressed Air Best Practices® Magazine they explored the benefits of variable speed drive (VSD) air compressors with the Compressed Air and Gas Institute (CAGI). Here are some of the key insights:
1. Matching supply with demand:

  • The economic model of aligning supply with demand is essential for productivity and cost control in manufacturing, including compressed air systems.
  • Poorly designed and maintained systems can result in significant energy losses, emphasizing the need for optimized solutions.
2. VSD as trim compressors:

  • VSD compressors, using adjustable-speed drives, provide a relatively linear output to efficiency curve.
  • Ideal as trim compressors, they efficiently meet variable demand on top of stable base compressed air demand without the need for frequent starts and stops.
3. Precise power consumption matching:

  • Properly sized VSD compressors offer precise control over output, adjusting to fluctuating compressed air demands.
  • Lowering air flow and electrical power consumption during times of varying demand contributes to significant energy savings.
4. Business case for VSD:

  • Statistics from compressed air system assessments reveal substantial power savings with VSD compressors compared to fixed speed drive compressors.
  • Rising energy costs and increased attention to energy reduction targets make the switch to VSD compressors a compelling financial decision.
5. Operational mechanism of VSD:

  • VSD compressors measure system pressure and maintain a constant delivery pressure within a narrow band.
  • Regulating motor speed through frequency conversion achieves varying air flow delivery, ensuring precise pressure control for increased energy savings and profitability.
6. Soft start operation:

  • The soft start operation of VSD compressors minimizes amperage draw peaks, reducing the risk of penalties from power companies and extending the lifespan of the equipment.
7. Compressed Air System Audit:

  •  Manufacturers are advised to conduct a compressed air system audit to match production equipment with plant demands.
  •  This ensures optimal efficiency and identifies potential areas for improvement in the compressed air system.
By incorporating properly sized VSD compressors into manufacturing infrastructure, businesses can achieve immediate energy savings that compound over time. The technology's ability to precisely match output to compressed air demands, coupled with its efficient operational mechanism, makes it a valuable investment for facilities seeking to enhance energy efficiency. Conducting a compressed air system audit is recommended to tailor solutions to specific production needs and maximize the benefits of VSD technology.

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