Air Compressors

10 Ways To Keep Your Air Compressor Working at a High Level

Everyone is always looking for ways to effectively cut costs to become more profitable. Air compression can be an expensive commodity of not properly maintained. Leaks and worn-down parts reduce the pressure your compressor can produce. Dilapidated seals and fractured piping can fail unexpectedly, creating blow outs. Unintended downtime costs money in lost production or emergency equipment hire. And then you run the risk of physical damage and personal injury claims will pile on the costs of a faulty air compressor.

Compressed air is one of the most widely used forms of energy throughout many industries, with approximately 70% of manufacturers using a compressed air system.

Compressed air can be one of the most expensive forms of energy for manufacturing plants, often using more energy than other equipment. One horsepower of compressed air requires eight horsepower of electricity. With many air compressors running at efficiencies as low as 10 percent, there’s often plenty of room for improvement. Fortunately, 50% of compressed air systems at small- to medium-sized industrial facilities have opportunities for low-cost energy conservation.

Learn how you can save money and keep your air compression working at a premium by downloading our "10 Ways You Can Optimize Your Air Compression and Save Money".

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10 Steps to Saving Compressed Air System Operating Costs (6-10)

Small adjustments can reduce your operating pressure and energy costs while improving flow rates and output. Learn the final steps you can take to optimize your compressed air system and save energy costs. make sure that you also know the first 5 things you can learn to "Save your Compressed Air System Operating Costs"

  1. Review Piping Infrastructure. Many systems aren't optimized.
    A piping system design should optimize transfer of compressed air at the desired flow and pressure to the point of use. Increasing the size of a pipe from two to three inches can reduce pressure drop up to 50 percent. Shortening the distance air has to travel can further reduce pressure drops by about 20-40 percent.

The more flow through a pipe the greater the pressure drop will be. Pressure drop in a pipe increases with the square of the increase in flow, which means if the flow is doubled, the pressure drop will increase four times. Air distribution piping should be large enough in diameter to minimize pressure drop.

How can FSC features and benefits help with this step? If your compressed air piping system was installed years ago when your compressor was much smaller, this might be an indication that the distribution pipes are too small.  A quick guide is to look at the air compressor outlet size. If your distribution piping is smaller than your air compressor outlet size, then it may be time to get your FS Curtis Distributor in to evaluate your piping system. If up-grades are needed, FS Curtis offers a modular, aluminum piping system that is easy to install and is a cost effective alternative to copper or steel piping.

 

  1. Change Filters Systematically. Not every once in a while.
    Inspect and replace filters systematically to ensure the quality of your air and prevent pressure drops. Go beyond the air compressor and compressor room. There are several air-line and point-of-use filters within the facility. Those are just as important to maintain as the air compressor and air compressor room filters.

How can FSC features and benefits help with this step?  Your FS Curtis Distributor will provide you with a complete Filter Package located on your compressed air system supply side.  Your process and type of equipment used will determine the level of air quality needed.  If you are not sure what you need, ask your FS Curtis Distributor who can guide your selection using an industry standard selection chart.

 

  1. Recover Heat. Compressing air generates heat - reuse it!
    It's simple physics that compressing air gives off heat, and as much as 90 percent of that heat can be recovered for use in your operation. For example, you can produce hot water for washrooms or direct warm air into a workspace, warehouse, loading dock, or entryway. The savings can really add up.

How can FSC features and benefits help with this step?  A simple heat recovery step can be making sure the hot air from your compressor room is directed into a nearby work space. If you have a larger rotary screw compressor with and e-COOL® Technology, you may find capturing the exhaust air from your air compressor and ducting into your facility during the heating season.  More aggressive heat recovery systems can be used to pre-heat water or process materials if you operate larger compressor systems.

  1. Emphasize Proper Maintenance. Ignoring maintenance costs more.
    As with most industrial machinery, a compressor runs more efficiently when properly maintained. Proper compressor maintenance cuts energy costs around one percent and helps prevent breakdowns that result in downtime and lost production. Protect your reputation and profits with proper maintenance.

How can FSC features and benefits help with this step? Your FS Curtis i-Command® Touch Control will help monitor your compressor for items needing maintenance as well as sending signals showing maintenance alerts.  Having your FS Curtis Distributor establish a scheduled service interval based on the number of hours your compressor runs per year will save you money in the long run.  Take advantage of your Extended Warranty by using correct parts and lubricants at the correct time. If you skip service and don’t do maintenance, then you can expect that future warranty claims if needed, may be rejected.  Just like you car, if you don’t take care of it, it won’t take care of you!

  1. Identify and Eliminate Inappropriate Uses of Compressed Air.
    Inappropriate uses of compressed air include any application that can be done more effectively or more efficiently by a method other than compressed air. For example, high pressure air often is used for cooling or applications where much lower air pressure is required.

How can FSC features and benefits help with this step? Your FS Curtis Distributor can help you with this. If you have a Compressed Air Leak Survey scheduled, the Auditor normally is looking for inappropriate uses of compressed air at the same time.  Common mis-uses are: blowing off a work station with an air gun instead of using a hand brush; using an air stream as a personal cooler instead of a fan; Plus many, many more ways…..

10 Steps to Saving Compressed Air System Operating Costs (1-5)

The first step to reduce compressed air energy costs is to measure and monitor your compressed air system's energy consumption, flow rates and operating air pressure. Your FS-Curtis Distributor can help you with your understanding of your compressed air system through an assessment or audit of your system.  The FS-Curtis Distributor will provide you with a report which will help you see how your air compressor(s) are being controlled, how much energy they are using, and how much air flow and pressure you system is using.  Recommendations can be made to help your reduce your operating costs and return those losses back into profit for your business.  Small adjustments can reduce your operating pressure and energy costs while improving flow rates and output. Here are 10 steps you can take to optimize your compressed air system and save energy costs.

  1. Turn It Off.
    There are 168 hours in a week, but most compressed air systems only run at or near full capacity between 60-100 hours. Depending on your shift pattern, turning your compressors off during the evenings and weekends could reduce your energy bills up to 20 percent.

How can FSC features and benefits help with this step?  Here’s a suggestion to help you turn off your compressor effortlessly.   Look into the FS Curtis Nx Series of Air Compressors using the i-Command® Touch Control. This advanced compressor controller can be set to turn off your air compressor at the end of a shift or work day automatically.  Another energy-saving option i-Command® Touch Control is to allow the system to reduce the system pressure during non-production hours.  Let’s say you operate several CNC machines which need to keep 80 psi in order to maintain the tool settings. So your  i-Command® Touch Control can be set to reduce the system pressure down to the 80 psi range during your off shifts.  This saves you electric costs because for every 2 psi you can drop your system pressure, you reduce your electric costs by 1%.  So that 20 psi reduction just reduced your electric usage by 10% for the non-productive hours…

  1. Fix Existing Leaks.
    A quarter-inch air leak at 100 psi will cost you more than $2,500 a year. Pipe systems, hose connections, and filter/regulator housings older than five years can have leaks of up to 25 percent. Because it takes energy to generate compressed air, any air that leaks is money wasted. Approximately 80 percent of air leaks are not audible, so to minimize these problems, third-party help in detecting these leaks may be a necessity.

How can FSC features and benefits help with this step? Your local FS Curtis Distributor can help you with a leak survey using an ultra-sonic leak detector.  They can find leaks in your system and pneumatic equipment without shutting down your production. The survey will provide you with a list of items needing attention and repair. Your utility may offer a cost sharing program to help pay for the survey. You can have your maintenance team make the repairs or have your FS Curtis Distributor make the repairs.

  1. Prevent New Leaks.
    As Benjamin Franklin said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” So, be proactive and look inside your piping system. A clean, dry pipe indicates good quality air and no corrosion issues. Dust in the pipe is caused by particles in the compressed air. If compressed air is not filtered, or if the filter is clogged, pressure drops will occur and the risk of end product contamination will increase. Sludge in the pipe is bad news and must be fixed immediately. Dust and sludge in a compressed air piping system will cause corrosion very quickly and will greatly increase the number of leaks. Dried and filtered compressed air keeps piping clean.

How can FSC features and benefits help with this step? Your FS Curtis Distributor will often recommend installing a Flow Meter at the point where your compressed air leaves the compressor room and flows to the “Demand Side” of your air system.  Some Flow Meters can be tied into your building’s data logging equipment. If you don’t have a data logging system, just setting up a simple log sheet so when your maintenance staff make their daily check on the air compressor, they can write down the flow rate seen on the Flow Meter screen.  If you start to see an increase in the Flow numbers, it’s time to start to investigate.  Did you add new equipment that takes more air? Did a process change? If nothing changed, its time to look for air leaks again!

  1. Reduce Pressure. Run at required pressures, not beyond.
    Each two psi reduction cuts energy consumption one percent. Check the system pressure and resist the urge to turn up the pressure to compensate for leaks or drops in pressure due to piping problems or clogged filters. A central supply side controller can greatly reduce the operational pressure band and orchestrate air production much more efficiently and effectively.

How can FSC features and benefits help with this step? Your FS Curtis Distributor is a good resource to help you. They can help you establish a pressure profile of your facility. Let them help you find what process or equipment is needing the highest pressure.  Often we find air supply systems running at 15 to 50 psi higher than what is really needed.  A simple DemandSmart® Flow Controller may help you manage your demand side pressure and flow. Not only will you reduce your energy bill, but your facility may have less wear on air tools and improve your product quality due to a constant air pressure in our plant.  Have your FS Curtis Distributor include checking needed down-stream point of use filters for pressure drop and clogged filters.  Sometimes folks crank up the pressure to get more pressure to the equipment, when a change in the filter element is really needed.

  1. Check Drains. Are your condensate drains stuck open?
    Condensate drains on timers should be adjusted periodically to ensure they open as intended or aren't stuck open. Better yet, replace timer drains with zero-loss drains to stop wasting compressed air.

How can FSC features and benefits help with this step? First, when you purchasing a new air compressor select an energy saving zero-loss drain. While the zero-loss drain may have a higher investment price, you will not be losing compressed air every time the timer opens the drain valve. The opening of the timer drain can cause the compressor to come on for a short period of time causing an unneeded motor start and extra wear on the air compressor.  Always make sure your FS Curtis Distributor is checking your auto drains for correct operation when they are doing your scheduled maintenance.

See the Final Steps to Saving Compressed Air System Operating Costs

What To Consider When Purchasing a Rotary Air Compressor?

Let’s say you buy a Volvo, arguably considered one of the safest cars on the road, and you drive it 70 mph into a brick wall (by the way, don’t do this, it ruins the paint job), is it the car’s fault that it may no longer run?

The same scenario applies to equipment. If the OEMs installation recommendations are not adhered to, there will be a high degree of probability that the compressed air equipment will not be reliable, will not experience the stated longevity, may require above average maintenance, may consume more electrical energy than required and may not consistently provide the compressed air quality required by production.

While it’s impossible to cover all of the things you need to consider when installing a rotary air compress (and we hope it’s an FS-Curtis), this short article is intended to help avoid the equivalent of driving your car into a brick wall.

Electrical

1) Have your system voltage measured. The most common electrical utility voltages in the United States are 200 volt, 208 volt, 230 volt, 460 volt. Electrical utilities guarantee a voltage supply tolerance of + 10%.  For example, if the voltage stated supply is 230 volts it could measure at any given time from 207 up to 243 volts. Most electrical utilities attempt to hold the supply voltage to + 5%. Operating electrical motors off design or away from their nameplate voltage will generate additional heat leading to reduced motor life expectancy. The majority of induction motors, 5 hp through 600 hp supplied to the U.S. market, are 230 & 460 volts; however, 200 & 208 volt systems are becoming more popular. If a 230 volt name plated motor is operated on a 200 to 208 volt system it will operate in an elevated heated condition leading to extremely reduced motor life. This is not a recommended practice. There are motors specifically designed for 200 & 208 volt operation. For these applications motors name plated as such should be used.

2) Many air compressors operate into the motor service factor. As such, request the package full load operating amp draw from the manufacturer to properly size the electrical utility supply equipment (i.e., wire, electrical quick disconnect, overloads, transformers). Seek out a qualified electrical contractor in your area to assist in proper electrical utility modeling and sizing.

Placement

1) Proper placement and mounting is vital. Request a General Arrangement (GA) drawing from the OEM for each piece of compressed air equipment purchased. The GA drawing should illustrate the weight and recommended clearances to be maintained around the equipment. The floor will need to support the static weight of each piece of equipment. The equipment should be secured to the floor to prevent it from shifting around imparting stress on connected utilities such as piping, electrical and ducting. In addition, many states have adopted seismic codes mandating equipment be structurally secured to the floor. Many floors appear flat to the eye but are not flat enough to meet accepted equipment mounting practices. Many floors can be crowned (bowed) or have undulations. When securing equipment to a floor it is important to identify floor imperfections filling the air gaps with shims. When properly shimmed, the tightening of the mounting bolts will not bend or distort the equipment frame. Frame distortion will lead to excessive equipment vibration. Excessive vibration causes premature component failure which reduces machine reliability, increases cost of ownership and could potentially create an unsafe situation.

Proper clearances should be adhered to. These recommended clearances provide boundary area around the machine for safe, effective operation and servicing of the machine. This boundary area also allows adequate cooling airflow around the machine.

Piping

All piping should be properly supported as to not impart stress on the equipment. When connecting piping to the equipment pipe connector, it should be supported with proper tooling to prevent the equipment connector from turning during the piping tightening process. If the equipment receiving connector is allowed to turn (rotate) it very well could damage internal components to the equipment. Air piping should be properly sized and configured to prevent short cycling of the air compressor controls. A rule of thumb is to always use piping at least the size of the supply connection of the air compressor. If the dryer connections are larger don’t worry, the reason could be the dryer is oversized due to rerating or simply the fittings are larger to slow the compressed air velocity down through the dryer. The piping exiting the dryer can be the same size as the air compressor connection or the outlet piping size of the dryer can be used to establish the piping downstream of the dryer.

Ambient Air

If the ambient air conditions can drop below 32°F measures should be taken to prevent the compressed air equipment from being exposed to this as it will freeze up. During air compressor operation the most effective way to condition the room temperature is to use the heat generated by the operating air compressor(s). Excessive heat can be discharged from the room by way of a properly sized wall fan. The wall fan can be thermostatically controlled to keep the room at a constant temperature. If there are times when all of the compressed air equipment is not operating, an auxiliary heating system should be considered.

Air-cooled rotary screw air compressors gives off 2545 btus/hr per horsepower.

Example: A 50 horsepower air-cooled rotary screw air compressor discharges 127,250 btus/hr into its surrounding environment.

That is enough heat to keep a 1500 square foot home comfortable in the dead of winter with outdoor temperatures below 32°F.  Many of these air compressors are installed with little thought of eliminating heat build-up around the air compressor. The heat discharged into the ambient air surrounding the air compressor is continuously cycled through the heat exchangers elevating the temperature. Unchecked, the temperature will rise to an unacceptable level, eventually overheating the air compressor & shutting it down. Ducting can be attached to the air compressor to directly route the cooling air discharge outdoors or away from the air compressor. Wall or ceiling fans can also be strategically placed in the room to exhaust the hot cooling air outside. Either way, an adequate amount of replacement cooling air must be brought into the room.

All installations have contaminants in the ambient air. Contaminants can negatively impact an air compressor in many ways. Two critical ways are indigestion into the air compressor itself with the other being fouling of the air-cooled heat exchangers. The best way to determine if the air compressor is digesting an abnormally high amount of contaminants is to consistently perform oil analysis. The oil analysis should look for components not normally part of the oil make-up. The results need to be properly interpreted.

In the case of a lubricated rotary screw air compressor, all of the ambient air drawn into the machine for compression flows right past or through the airend bearings. Too much ingestion of particulate will damage the bearings. The oil not only cools the air during compression it also washes the contaminants out of the air. Over time these contaminants will build up continuing to be cycled through the bearings.

Example:  A 10 micron particle should be able to flow through an anti friction bearing suspended in the oil film without damaging the bearing surfaces.

This does not account for multiple particles clumping together, which will damage the bearing surfaces. Two solutions for reducing digestion of contaminants are to install an air filter with a lower micron rating and higher efficiency rating. The ratings should be adjusted until the oil analysis indicates the level of contaminants is satisfactory. Remember, as the rating of the inlet air filter is increased the surface area should also be increased or the air filter may have to be changed out too frequently from excessive fouling. The second solution is to relocate the inlet air filter to a remote environment which is cleaner than the immediate area around the air compressor. The piping used to remote mount the air filter should be non-ferrous. PVC works great as it is light, easy to assemble and inexpensive. Connect it to the air compressor air end with an easily removable joint in case machine repairs or troubleshooting is required. The piping i.d. should be no smaller than the i.d. opening in the OEM supplied inlet filter mounting assembly. For every 10 feet of inlet pipe run, the pipe diameter should increase one size or 1". If the inlet air filter is relocated outdoors it should be protected from digestion of rain or snow.

Relocation of the inlet air filter is a recommended solution when the surrounding ambient area around the air compressor contains hazardous vapors or fumes. There are air filters which can remove hazardous fumes or vapors; however, they are costly to purchase and maintain.

If you’d like more information about FS-Curtis rotary screw air compressors, please click on the icons below to download product literature. I you have questions or would like more information or pricing, please visit our Distributor Lookup page on our website to locate a distributor in your area.

Distributor of the Month- Pro Compressor

DISTRIBUTOR OF THE MONTH- PRO COMPRESSOR

Pro Compressor, Allentown, Pennsylvania has been in business since 1994. Bob Dietrick owns the successful independent compressor house and has built his loyal customer base by providing exceptional service at competitive prices. Pro Compressor as been an FS-Curtis  Distributor serving the Leigh Valley region of Eastern Pennsylvania since they opened for business.

Dietrick began his career in the air compressor industry in the late 70’s selling Joy compressors and Wilkerson air dryers and filters. In the mid 80’s he formed a business with a partner selling Champion and Grimmerschmidt compressors. Then in 1994, Bob started Pro Compressor in his garage at home, building on his loyal customer base and expertise in keeping his customers compressors in top working condition.  He selected Curtis Compressors to be his main brand and has been selling FS-Curtis products since that time. As the business grew, he moved operations to the present location on North New Street in Allentown.

The market served by Pro Compressor is the Leigh Valley region which includes Allentown, down to Philadelphia, and north to Pocono Mountain region. The focuses of Pro Compressor are industrial companies such as: metal processing, electronics, wood products, and food and beverage manufacturers.

Today, Pro Compressor has a staff of 4 full-time employees including 2 field service technicians, an inside Sales and Customer Service manager, an outside sales engineer (Bob’s main role) and a Part Time technician. Bob’s son Matt heads up the Service Division. All of Pro Compressor’s technicians are factory trained on all FS-Curtis  rotary and reciprocating compressors, as well as FS-Curtis  Variable Speed Drive and Electronic controls.  So confident in their technical abilities, FS-Curtis  regularly calls on Pro Compressor to support customers’ outside of their normal marketing area as needed. Pro Compressor is a valued member of the FS-Curtis  Platinum Distributor Council and works with other FS-Curtis  Platinum Distributors in advising both marketing and product development projects.

Pro Compressor Web site:  http://procompressor.net

 

 

When Should I Service My Oil Flooded Rotary Screw Air Compressor?

Each manufacturer’s make and model of rotary screw air compressor gives specific guidelines for preventative maintenance in the operations manual sent with the air compressor. You’ve invested a good deal of money in your new compressor, to protect your new investment it’s a wise idea to follow these preventative maintenance procedures. Keep in mind this is not a comprehensive list, but it’s a good start and will help give peace of mind knowing you are not neglecting your air compressor.

Every manufacturer of rotary screw air compressors provide an Operators Manual with specific guidelines for preventative maintenance. You’ve invested a good deal of money in your new compressor, to protect your new investment it’s a wise idea to follow the preventative maintenance procedures. Some compressor designs may require more steps and checks, but here is a good place to start to get the longest life out of your investment

Daily:   Check for abnormalities (unusual sound, vibration, leaks, warnings or alarms on the controller, etc.)

  • Check oil level
  • Monitor temperature and pressure
  • Check control panel for any alarms or maintenance lights

Monthly: Perform Daily checks

  • Clean inlet air filter and enclosure filters.
  • Check operation (load and unload, low and high pressure set-points, maintaining pressure, etc)

Quarterly: Check hour meter and check the maintenance schedule to determine if its time for maintenance to be scheduled. Your compressor may require lubrication change at 2,000, 4,000 or 8,000 hours depending on the manufacturer’s recommendations.

  • Take oil sample if needed
  • Check separator scavenger line flow (if applicable)
  • Check v-belts (if applicable)
  • Perform daily and monthly checks

Semi-Annual or 4000 hours:  Perform Quarterly Check list.

  • Change air/oil separator filters (spin on or drop in type)
  • Take oil sample and sent to compressor vendor

Annual or 8000 hours: Start by checking annual maintenance list for manufacturer’s recommendations:

  • Change lubricant
  • Change air / oil separator (drop in type)
  • Perform quarterly checks

 

Keep in mind; these are the basic maintenance items needed to keep an oil flooded rotary screw compressor in good operation. This preventative maintenance program is designed for a standard condition, but as we all know most installations for air compressors would be considered dirty and dusty environments.

Another factor that is critical to the life of a compressor is the actual run time. All rotary screw compressors underlying guideline for maintenance is hours of operation. Most installations never operate 24 hrs per day / 7 days a week. There are only 8760 hours in a year and anything less than 24 hours will result in lower hours, which affect the amount of maintenance needed for each installation.

So, with all of these factors to consider, what does an owner of an oil flooded rotary screw compressor do to properly maintain the air compressor to ensure long reliable operation?

To answer this question we need to look at several factors:

1)   Environment

First the environment is the one factor that governs all of the others. If your compressor is running in a dirty environment where you have to keep cleaning the coolers externally to keep the compressor cool and the air filter is continually dirty when you inspect it periodically; then you have a dirty environment. Use the monthly recommendations and not the hours of run time.

2) Hours of operation (less than 4000 hrs per year)

In this case the recommendation would be to follow the time frame set out for preventative maintenance as described in the operations manual. Use monthly intervals for filter changes and not the hours of operation as your guide. This means air and oil filters changed every quarter (or more frequently) as well as air/oil separators changed per instruction manual. Please note if you are running 24 hrs / 7 days then air and oil filters will need to be changed in accordance with OEM recommendations.

3) Costs

Costs of preventative maintenance should be only considered as a last resort as it has been proven in many studies that preventative maintenance saves money. A proper preventative maintenance program will translate into more reliable operation and less down times for the owner. This will create a more efficient production process for the owner which generates income on a consistent basis.

In all other instances the OEM manual should be used as a guideline for changing all filters for the proper maintenance your rotary screw compressor.

A properly maintained air compressor can be accomplished by following several practical guidelines and discussing your needs with an FS-Curtis compressed air professional. To learn more download the product information or contact your local FS Curtis distributor.

Air Receiving Sizing

When specifying a compressed air system for optimum operation and energy efficiency, proper selection of the compressed air receiver tank(s) is one of the most critical decisions one can make.  There are several different “rules of thumb” and formulas that will assist you, but finding straightforward guidance that says “use this size air receiver” is difficult if not non-existent.

Air receivers can be used in several different ways in a compressed air system:

  • “Primary” receiver between the supply side (air compressor and ancillary equipment), and the demand side (your plant). Today’s air compressor controls (on/ off-line, modulation, and variable frequency) strive to maximize energy efficiency and smooth compressor operation by responding to demand side pressure changes sensed at the discharge of the  package.

A properly sized air receiver acts as a “buffer” and minimizes the effect of dynamic demand side pressure changes, allowing the compressor controls to operate smoothly and consistently.  The end result is less energy used, longer component life, and consistency in plant air pressure.

  • “Secondary” receiver typically on the demand side, at the point of use to minimize the effect large intermittent air demands have on the overall compressed air system.

 

Sizing a PRIMARY receiver for general FIXED SPEED APPLICATIONS:

  • The air compressor industry has widely accepted the general rule of thumb that a properly sized air receiver for a fixed speed compressor should be between 1-2 gallons per CFM output of the compressor.

Example: a 100 CFM fixed speed air compressor should have an air receiver between 100-200 gallons sitting next to it. Err on the high side if your budget permits.

Sizing a PRIMARY receiver for general VARIABLE SPEED APPLICATIONS:

  • When considering air receiver sizing on a variable speed drive application, the general rule of thumb is between 2-4 gallons per CFM output of the compressor.

Example: a 100 CFM variable speed air compressor should have an air receiver between 200-400 gallons sitting next to it. Err on the high side if your budget permits.

Useful Air Receiver Sizing Formulas (Primary and Secondary):

Use this formula when you have an existing air receiver

and need to know how long you can draw CFM greater than the output of the air compressor, from the receiver, while still maintaining system pressure:

  • T = R x P1 – P2 Qr – Qc      7

Use this formula to determine what receiver size to use to supply pressure for a given period of time, not allowing the system to drop below a minimum pressure. The demand of air is greater than the CFM output of the air compressor:

  • R = 7 x (Qr – Qc) x T

P1 – P2

Use this formula to determine how long it will take to recharge an air receiver to P1, after demand goes back to being below CFM output of the air compressor:

  • T = R x (P2 – P1)

Qr – Qc x 14.7

T = Time in minutes

R = Receiver in cubic feet Qr = CFM removed

Qc = Compressor output in CFM

P1 = Maximum air receiver pressure P2 = Minimum air receiver pressure

14.7 = Atmospheric pressure in PSI (sea level)

CUBIC FT to GALLON CONVERSION: 7.48 gallons in a cubic foot

This Compressor is a BEAST! – CA7.5 80 gal vertical

WOW! Look at this customer testimonial on our CA Series 7.5HP Vertical Unit!  Installed in 2002 and still going strong!  Now that's trusted, dependable and reliable!     See the full review here!

2002 CA Series

CA Series compressors aren't just built to handle harsh environments - they're also available in a wide range of configurations to meet your exact application.

Simplex compressors are well suited for common applications where only one compressor is needed.

All of our CA Simplex Compressors include:

  • Magnetic motor starter
  • Manual tank drain
  • Oil sight glass
  • Horizontal or vertical tank configurations available

 

For more information on our complete line of CA Series Air Compressor click here!

Want to own one of these industry workhorse?  Contact a distributor in your area!  Find a Distributor!

 

FS-CURTIS WINS PRODUCT OF THE YEAR FOR THE NX SERIES ROTARY AIR COMPRESSORS

Press Release:
St Louis, MO, May 4, 2016– FS-Curtis/Curtis-Toledo, Inc., a leading manufacturer of reciprocating and rotary air compressors since 1854 has announced that their Nx Series of Rotary Air Compressors has been awarded the prestigious Plant Engineering Product of the Year GOLD Award.
The Nx series rotary-screw air compressor features the iCommand-Touch controller—an intelligent technology that features touchscreen capabilities with bright, full-color graphics. At a glance, users can track pressure, temperature, and usage to easily diagnose and optimize their facility’s air system. The controller graphs information and trends that can be downloaded to an SD card, for troubleshooting and quality control measures. Customers have provided praise regarding the innovative Nx series intelligent package design, which easily allows simple maintenance tasks. The unique design of the motor and fan, coupled with airflow baffling and superior sound insulation, ensures extremely quiet operation. So quiet, the unit can be installed where you need it the most.
“Trusted and dependable reaches a whole new level with our Nx series rotary screw air compressors. The overwhelmingly positive response from customers highlights the quality of the air compressor, which is further reflected in the Nx being selected as the Gold Winner from Plant Engineering,” said Matt Smith, National Sales Director, FS-Curtis. “The entire FS-Curtis team continues to be focused on providing customers with trusted and dependable compressed air solutions that exceed their expectations.”
Plant Engineering's Product of the Year program is a premier award for new products in the manufacturing industry. The annual reader-choice program provides Plant Engineering's audience with information about the top new products in their fields.
About FS-Curtis/CURTIS-TOLEDO, Inc.
Since 1854, FS-Curtis/CURTIS-TOLEDO, Inc. has been designing and manufacturing solutions for industry. The FS-Curtis Air Compressors brand continues to be the symbol of quality and excellence in the design and manufacture of air compressors. Dedicated to customers and loyal distributors, our brand names are synonymous with Legendary Reliability since 1854. FS-Curtis/Curtis-Toledo, Inc. is proud to be ISO 9001:2008 and ISO 14001:2004 certified.
If you would like more information about this product, please visit www.fscurtis.com or contact Natalie Fontana at 314.383.1300 or email at Info@FSCURTIS.com.

The next generation evolution continues with the NxV 18-37kW!

On our path to becoming the most trusted and dependable compressed air equipment provider in Norther America, we at FS-Curtis have just taken another major step forward.

FS-Curtis is proud to announce the newest addition of our Nx Rotary Screw Air Compressor Series.  The Nx18-37 kW (25-50 hp), is now available in Variable Speed Drive! The NxV 18-37kW variable speed drive compressors are built on the same reliable platform as the fixed speed product introduced earlier this year.  There are, however, some notable differences. These compressors are controlled by a variable speed drive to match energy consumption to demand, they utilize a robust direct drive arrangement, and the iCommand Touch controller is now standard on the 18-37 kW Variable Speed Drive units at no additional charge. With the standard iCommand-Touch, a full-color screen displays graphs which capture and track factual, real-time air usage by the hour, day, week and month. Historical data can be retrieved at any time with a touch of the screen. The data trending keeps your finger on the pulse of your entire compressed air system.

Introducing this new addition to the FS-Curtis Rotary Screw lineup continues to show that through the dependability of our people and our quality-focused manufacturing, FS-Curtis will continue to be a trusted name serving even more markets through our ever-growing global presence.

In order to help us grow in our mission, we welcome your feedback to help us improve and exceed your expectation.

Thank you,

The FS-Curtis Sales and Marketing Teams

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In the Market for a Two-Stage Air Compressor?

 Here’s What You Need to Know

If you’ve been in an auto body shop recently (which is unfortunate because it probably means you’ve had fender bender) or a small manufacturing operation, you may have heard the not-so-inconspicuous hum and rattle of an air compressor. More than likely it was a two-stage compressor. Why not a single-stage? ML10_DuplexGenerally, single-stage units are for less demanding operations like home garages or construction job sites where the distinctive pop, pop, pop sound of nail guns pierce the air like firecrackers on the 4th of July. Nail guns or the occasional use of a rachet gun only require single-stage compressors.

So, why would you need a two-stage air compressor? There are three main reasons:

  • Redundancy – If one pump/motor fails or needs service or repair, the other pump/motor can continue to operate, avoiding downtime. Important for any business. Your air flow may be cut in half, but it's better than shutting down your business while the compressor is service.
  • Electrical Limitations – What if you absolutely need a 10-15HP compressor but three-phase electrical service is either not available or too expensive run? A duplex compressor with single-phase pump/motors would be your solution.
  • Varying Air Usage – If you’re air needs, CFM, fluctuates throughout the work day, where one minute you’re using a small hand tool and the next a sand blaster, a two-stage compressor is perfect to help regulate air flow. When air consumption needs are low, only one pump/motor will operate on your two-stage compressor, but both pumps kick in when demand increases. Smart little boogers, aren't they.

If you’re in the market for a new two-stage compressor, here’s what to look for before you commit.

HP (Horsepower)

Definition: One HP is the force needed to lift 550 lbs. one foot in one second.

With all the hubbub made over HP, the CFM (cubic feet per minute) your compressor can generate is actually a more critical factor. But, it’s true that generally speaking, the more HP you have, the more CFM it can produce, so there is a direct correlation that can’t be overlooked. That said, it’s more prudent to shop by CFM, not HP.

CFM (cubic feet per minute)

Every air tool in your shop has a specific CFM requirement—the higher the CFM, the more air volume the tool uses. Keep in mind that if you’re a furniture shop then your sanders will require more air than nail guns.

Take an inventory of CFM requirements for each tool, and the number of everyday tools, and then calculate your necessary CFM, regardless of whether they will all be operating at the same time or not.

Voltage

Single-phase? Three-phase? What’s the diff?

Generally speaking, single-phase electrical is found in residential settings. Three-phase in commercial buildings, manufacturing operations, etc. So, obviously your first consideration whether to choose a single-phase or three-phase compressor is based on where you will be using it.

Sidenote: Three-phase electricity is considered to be more efficient and therefore could result in less wear and tear on your compressor’s motor.

Keep in mind that electrical codes, voltage and phase vary widely geographically so be sure to check your local building codes and with an electrician before laying out that credit card.

Gallons

So, now how big of a tank do you need for your compressor? How many gallons?

With two-stage compressors tank sizes range from 60 – 200 gallons. The size of your tank should be basedon how often the compressor will be in use.

This should give you enough to go when choosing your next, or first, two-stage compressor and enough ammunition to ask intelligent questions.

If you should have questions regarding purchasing a two-stage compressor, call our customer service department and we will be happy to assist you: 800-925-5431. Or, visit us online at: us.fscurtis.com

Click on the icons below to download product information about FS-Curtis reciprocating compressors.

Food Processing Plants Losing Profits Due to Inefficient Compressed Air Systems

How One Food Processing Plant Saved $150.000 Annually

The majority of processing food plants use air compressors for various operations, including cylinder activation, cleanup operations, hoists, agitator drives, pump drives, enclosure cooling, dewatering and de-ionizing. But too often these daily operations are typically ignored as a source of waste.

According to the Advanced Manufacturing Office in the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), American industries spend $5 billion annually on compressed air. In the case of food plants, costs are not documented, leaving compressed air systems principal candidates for waste and abuse.food_plant

Follow these 5 steps to save your food processing plant enough money by the end of the year that you'll be glad you took five minutes to read this article.

  1. Examine and analyze your compressed air system
    Note all the uses of compressed air in the plant and all the air compressors available by enlisting the help of engineers and technicians, and then:
- Record all useage points, volumes and     pressures, applying known values or best estimates. Make sure you are using the correct air compressor for your operation.
- Understand and master your air compressor system and controllers. Find out how much it costs to operate and maintain your system per year based on current expenses or estimations.
- Diagram your compressed air system, including piping, so everyone will be able to see it and help to identify and correct the deficiencies.
  1. Conduct a self-audit of your compressed air system

    There are 10 most important targets to evaluate in a compressed air system audit:

- Leak problems
- Over-pressurization
- Matched supply and demand
- Inappropriate use of piping tees
- Improperly sized piping
- Flow restrictions
- Inadequate air storage
- Inappropriate use of compressed air
- The use of electrical drives instead of air
- Maintenance of filters and separators.
  1. Estimate actions to repair deficienciesCorrect the problems that are the least expensive to repair. Using a Pareto diagram can be useful to help separate the “critical few” deficiencies from the “trivial many” possibilities that are available. For example, the Pareto diagram is shown in figure 1, where the solution for the problem is listed on the X-axis (Improvement). The Y-axis (Savings) shows the estimated savings (less costs) that would result from repairing the problem. Projects shown in the tallest bars should be choosen for implementation.
    graphic_2
    Figure 1: Pareto diagram helps to select the most effective actions.
  2. Implement the best solutionsAfter identifying the best alternatives in step three, it is time to execute. Beware that some processors postpone taking action because of time constrains, but it may be worthy to hire extra help to carry out recommended solutions right away. Every action should be measurable in terms of cost and savings.
  1. Track resultsAll solutions that were implemented should be reviewed regularly to ensure that the results are as expected, or to find out if something has changed or requires additional attention. Once recommnded changes are made, then the five-step process can be repeated to double check yourself.

If you think your company could benefit from having a compressed air system audit performed, viist this link to find a distributor in your area to inquire about scheduling an audit. You can also call our toll free number to talk with a customer service rep about locating an FS-Curtis distributor in your area: 800-925-5431.

 

Click Here To Download             Click Here To Download 

Click icons to download product literature for compressors used in the food processing industry.

Check out this article: Food industry factory saves $154.000 in annual energy costs, to see how one plant was able to save over $150.000 annually in energy costs.

Source: Oklahoma State University. Food technology fact sheet.

Important Considerations When Installing a Rotary Air Compressor

Let’s say you buy a Volvo, arguably considered one of the safest cars on the road, and you drive it 70mph into a brick wall (by the way, don’t do this, it ruins the paint job), is it the car’s fault that it may no longer run?

The same scenario applies to equipment. If the OEMs installation recommendations are not adhered to, there will be a high degree of probability that the compressed air equipment will not be reliable, will not experience the stated longevity, may require above average maintenance, may consume more electrical energy thanNx_CD_with_tank required and may not consistently provide the compressed air quality required by production.

While it’s impossible to cover all of the things you need to consider when installing a Rotary compressor (and we hope it’s an FS-Curtis), this short article is intended to help avoid the equivalent of driving your car into a brick wall.

Electrical

1) Have your system voltage measured. The most common electrical utility voltages in the United States are 200 volt, 208 volt, 230 volt, 460 volt. Electrical utilities guarantee a voltage supply tolerance of  + 10%.  For example, if the voltage stated supply is 230 volts it could measure at any given time from 207 up to 243 volts. Most electrical utilities attempt to hold the supply voltage to + 5%. Operating electrical motors off design or away from their nameplate voltage will generate additional heat leading to reduced motor life expectancy. The majority of induction motors, 5 hp through 600 hp supplied to the U.S. market, are 230 & 460 volts; however, 200 & 208 volt systems are becoming more popular. If a 230 volt nameplated motor is operated on a 200 to 208 volt system it will operate in an elevated heated condition leading to extremely reduced motor life. This is not a recommended practice. There are motors specifically designed for 200 & 208 volt operation. For these applications motors nameplated as such should be used.

2) Many air compressors operate into the motor service factor. As such, request the package full load operating amp draw from the manufacturer to properly size the electrical utility supply equipment (i.e., wire, electrical quick disconnect, overloads, transformers). Seek out a qualified electrical contractor in your area to assist in proper electrical utility modeling and sizing.

Placement

1) Proper placement and mounting is vital. Request a General Arrangement (GA) drawing from the OEM for each piece of compressed air equipment purchased. The GA drawing should illustrate the weight and recommended clearances to be maintained around the equipment. The floor will need to support the static weight of each piece of equipment. The equipment should be secured to the floor to prevent it from shifting around imparting stress on connected utilities such as piping, electrical and ducting. In addition, many states have adopted seismic codes mandating equipment be structurally secured to the floor. Many floors appear flat to the eye but are not flat enough to meet accepted equipment mounting practices. Many floors can be crowned (bowed) or have undulations. When securing equipment to a floor it is important to identify floor imperfections filling the air gaps with shims. When properly shimmed, the tightening of the mounting bolts will not bend or distort the equipment frame. Frame distortion will lead to excessive equipment vibration. Excessive vibration causes premature component failure which reduces machine reliability, increases cost of ownership and could potentially create an unsafe situation.

Proper clearances should be adhered to. These recommended clearances provide boundary area around the machine for safe, effective operation and servicing of the machine. This boundary area also allows adequate cooling airflow around the machine.

Piping

All piping should be properly supported as to not impart stress on the equipment. When connecting piping to the equipment pipe connector, it should be supported with proper tooling to prevent the equipment connector from turning during the piping tightening process. If the equipment receiving connector is allowed to turn (rotate) it very well could damage internal components to the equipment. Air piping should be properly sized and configured to prevent short cycling of the air compressor controls. A rule of thumb is to always use piping at least the size of the supply connection of the air compressor. If the dryer connections are larger don’t worry, the reason could be the dryer is oversized due to rerating or simply the fittings are larger to slow the compressed air velocity down through the dryer. The piping exiting the dryer can be the same size as the air compressor connection or the outlet piping size of the dryer can be used to establish the piping downstream of the dryer.

Ambient Air

If the ambient air conditions can drop below 32°F measures should be taken to prevent the compressed air equipment from being exposed to this as it will freeze up. During air compressor operation the most effective way to condition the room temperature is to use the heat generated by the operating air compressor(s). Excessive heat can be discharged from the room by way of a properly sized wall fan. The wall fan can be thermostatically controlled to keep the room at a constant temperature. If there are times when all of the compressed air equipment is not operating, an auxiliary heating system should be considered.

Air-cooled rotary screw air compressors reject 2545 btus/hr per horsepower. Example: A 50 horsepower air cooled rotary screw air compressor rejects 127,250 btus/hr into its surrounding environment. That is enough heat to keep a 1500 square foot home comfortable in the dead of winter with outdoor temperatures below 32°F.  Many of these air compressors are installed with little thought of eliminating heat build-up around the air compressor. The heat rejected into the ambient air surrounding the air compressor is continuously cycled through the heat exchangers elevating the temperature. Unchecked, the temperature will rise to an unacceptable level, eventually overheating the air compressor & shutting it down. Ducting can be attached to the air compressor to directly route the cooling air discharge outdoors or away from the air compressor. Wall or ceiling fans can also be strategically placed in the room to exhaust the hot cooling air outside. Either way, an adequate amount of replacement cooling air must be brought into the room.

All installations have contaminants in the ambient air. Contaminants can negatively impact an air compressor in many ways. Two critical ways are indigestion into the air compressor itself with the other being fouling of the air cooled heat exchangers. The best way to determine if the air compressor is digesting an abnormally high amount of contaminants is to consistently perform oil analysis. The oil analysis should look for components not normally part of the oil make-up. The results need to be properly interpreted.

In the case of a lubricated rotary screw air compressor, all of the ambient air drawn into the machine for compression flows right past or through the airend bearings. Too much ingestion of particulate will damage the bearings. The oil not only cools the air during compression it also washes the contaminants out of the air. Over time these contaminants will build up continuing to be cycled through the bearings. For example, a 10 micron particle should be able to flow through an anti friction bearing suspended in the oil film without damaging the bearing surfaces. This does not account for multiple particles clumping together, which will damage the bearing surfaces. Two solutions for reducing digestion of contaminants are to install an air filter with a lower micron rating and higher efficiency rating. The ratings should be adjusted until the oil analysis indicates the level of contaminants is satisfactory. Remember, as the rating of the inlet air filter is increased the surface area should also be increased or the air filter may have to be changed out too frequently from excessive fouling. The second solution is to relocate the inlet air filter to a remote environment which is cleaner than the immediate area around the air compressor. The piping used to remote mount the air filter should be non-ferrous. PVC works great as it is light, easy to assemble and inexpensive. Connect it to the air compressor air end with an easily removable joint in case machine repairs or troubleshooting is required. The piping i.d. should be no smaller than the i.d. opening in the OEM supplied inlet filter mounting assembly. For every 10 feet of inlet pipe run, the pipe diameter should increase one size or 1". If the inlet air filter is relocated outdoors it should be protected from digestion of rain or snow.

Relocation of the inlet air filter is a recommended solution when the surrounding ambient area around the air compressor contains hazardous vapors or fumes. There are air filters which can remove hazardous fumes or vapors; however, they are costly to purchase and maintain.

If you’d like more information about FS-Curtis rotary screw air compressors please follow this link FS-Curtis Rotary Screw Air Compressors. I you have questions or would like more information or pricing, please visit our Distributor Lookup page on our website to locate a distributor in you area.

                          

 

Auto Care Shop Compressors – Don’t Rotate from Recip & Don’t Vary from Fixed Speed

A Variable Speed Drive compressor sounds like a smart idea, but is it really?

Earlier we posted a blog on why rotary machines are often not ideal applications in auto care shops – CLICK HERE TO GO TO THAT POST. Now let’s address another rotary compressor question that auto care facilities ask us on a regular basis: Should I spend the extra money to put an energy-saving VariableCT10_(1) Speed Drive (aka: Variable Frequency Drive) rotary screw compressor in my facility? The short answer to this question is: probably not.

The folks asking this question have heard that VSD/VFD machines may cost more up front but that they cost less to run and thus pay for themselves in the long run. In addition, many utility companies offer rebates for VSD/VFD machines that can help offset the larger up-front cost. Just like everyone else, automotive care facilities want to save money and energy, so this supposed value proposition sounds attractive. Right?

So why then is VSD/VFD probably not a good idea for most automotive care facilities?  The short answer is that most automotive care facilities typically have severe peaks and valleys in their compressed air usage due to the intermittent use of tools and equipment in the shop. This in itself does not rule out VSD/VFD. In fact, VSD/VFD is ideal for customers whose demand fluctuates, provided that it does not fluctuate too much. The problem with auto care facilities is that their valleys are too deep. Too much downtime. The rule of thumb is that when the valleys are 30% or less of the peaks, the compressor will have to shut down, essentially forcing it to run as a start/stop machine. There are several issues with running a VSD/VFD machine in this type of application:

  • More expensive – First of all, the customer is paying a 30% or more premium for a VSD/VFD machine to run just like a cheaper start/stop fixed speed machine. Perhaps the more important comparison is that the customer would be paying a whopping 70% premium compared to a fully-loaded UltraPack recip, which is probably the best application in most auto care shops.
  • Phantom Energy Savings – VSD/VFD machines are ideal for loads somewhere between 30 and 80 percent of full load. There are little to no energy savings otherwise. Even though very short payback periods are often cited, these are for machines in ideal scenarios with exactly the right load profile. Auto care facilities very seldom have an appropriate load profile. If one isn’t going to get the benefit of the VSD/VFD, why pay extra for it, and risk some of the potential headaches outlined below?
  • Increased Maintenance - 

o   VSD/VFD’s require minimal incremental maintenance on the drive compared to standard fixed speed machines. These increased costs should be considered in any decision to go with a variable speed machine.

o   VSD/VFD’s require a cleaner environment for the sensitive electronics of the drive. This can lead to increased maintenance costs and possibly drive replacement, which is very expensive. If the machine is going to be placed in a shop with dust and other contaminants floating in the air, then the cost of protecting the drive from these contaminants, or paying extra for maintenance and/or replacement, must be considered.

The bottom line is that most auto care applications are not ideal for VSD/VFD machines.  The severe valleys in demand profiles mean there probably won’t be energy savings to offset the increased acquisition and maintenance/replacement costs. In addition, most shops are too dirty to install a VSD/VFD without increased risk and cost.

If you would like more information on fixed speed compressor options, click here to compare different options. If you still think a VSD/VFD makes sense, or if you have further questions about our machines (e.g. What is UltraPack? Duplex?) visit our YouTube Library, our distributor portal, our website, or simply call us at 800.925.5431.