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Atlas Copco cuts own energy use by 70%

11 July 2013

Atlas Copco Compressors’ newly re-furbished compressor room at its GB headquarters in Hemel Hempstead is using the company’s own energy-efficient technology and monitoring services to improve performance, make savings and reduce its carbon footprint

An energy audit of the original installation, which supplied air for operating tools, cranes and sandblasting equipment in the workshop of Atlas Copco’s Systems Hemel Hempstead division, found the workshop to be consuming an average of 53,250kwh per year, at an estimated cost of £4792. It was considered high time to undertake a more energy-efficient upgrade of the facility which handles the design, assembly and test of non-standard machines and compressor skid packages.

Practising what it preaches, the company decided to refit a dedicated compressor room with state-of-the-art equipment that included among other new items an energy recovery unit and the company’s latest data monitoring programme, SmartLink.

The end result is a 36,850kwh reduction in energy consumption to 16,400kwh, which equates to annual savings of £3316, plus a carbon footprint saving in the order of 20 tonnes per year.

As well as showcasing Atlas Copco’s ability to provide compressor solutions purpose designed to improve operators’ productivity, the equipment installed serves a variety of purposes. Two rotary screw, oil-injected stationary compressors, a fixed-speed GA18 and a variable speed companion machine, provide air for the custom engineering and repair activities of the workshop as well as supplying source air for an N2 unit which extracts nitrogen gas via a membrane separator to fill the tyres of company vehicles.

An Atlas Copco, Plug and Play ER energy recovery unit was installed to re-use the heat generated by the two compressors’ oil cooler circuits via a heat exchanger which boosts hot water supply to the workshop and offices. Additionally, the compressor room features an OSC oil/water separator, PD120 and DD120 in-line filters, plus two ES control units, (which is unusual as in a normal installation only one is required.

Two have been installed in this instance in order to demonstrate to visiting customers alternative configurations). The entire area is fitted throughout with AIRnet modular alloy pipework.

The new facility also features the latest data monitoring programme innovation, SmartLink. The programme intelligently gathers, compares and analyses performance data 24/7 to help compressed air users increase maintenance and service efficiency. SmartLink provides an insight of their compressed air production, helps predict potential problems and shows where performance can be optimised and energy can be saved.

The whole installation project was carried out by members of the company’s Technical Support team. Katarzyna Banas was responsible for designing the layout and the transfer of plant from the original boiler room site, and carried out an audit of the output of the original installation, calculated the requirements for its replacement and continues to monitor the savings potential of the new equipment.

Katarzyna commented: “The new compressor installation represents a win/win situation for Atlas Copco. The company benefits from the improved performance and impressive savings that are possible and it allows us to demonstrate the benefits of the company’s innovations in a very practical way.”

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