When you build a custom garage it’s understandable to keep your eye on the prize.
From car enthusiasts to intermediate repair shop owners, focusing on your end results can seem like a natural attitude to take toward the equipment you buy. Your revenue, however, will do much better when paired with a cost-effective approach. Saving a few dollars here and a few cents there will add up by the end of the month and mean the difference between a nice investment and a lot of regret. Compressed air distribution systems are one area you can focus on this year, particularly if you’ve noticed you’re not getting the output you expect.
Keep these tips on hand and your air fittings will be working with you on your goal to save money and work well.
Compressed Air Systems Are Widespread
The compressed air distribution system is a standard piece of equipment in any garage shop, custom garage, or auto body repair shop. Today around 70% of all manufacturers have at least one compressed air system in place. Actually saving money while using compressed air piping materials is another matter entirely. The U.S. Department Of Energy (or DOE) recently released a statement suggesting over 50% of compressed air systems at small to medium sized facilities have low-cost opportunities just waiting to be taken advantage of.
Pressure Loss Affects Your Performance
Not only do you run the risk of losing money when failing to analyze your compressed air distribution systems, you can affect your end result. Pressure loss in a properly designed system should be less than 10% of the compressor’s discharge pressure, normally found on a gauge on the outlet of the compressor. Pressure loss greater than 10% should have you evaluating your distribution system and identifying the areas causing those unusual pressure drops. Each two pounds-per-square inch in pressure, for example, can reduce your operating costs by nearly 2%.
Heat Conversion Should Be Prioritized
Pressure is a good place to start with your compressed air fittings. Heat conversion only naturally follows suit. The estimates you should know about concerning electrical energy is 80% to 90% of the charge being converted to heat. A well-designed and well-maintained heat recovery unit can recover between 50% to 90% of this heat for either heating air or warming water. For those that want to get a little more technical, around 50,000 British thermal units (or Btus) are available per 100 cfm of compressor capacity when running at a full load.
Saving Energy Happens In Small Chunks
As you can see, it’s the little things that create big results. Compressed air distribution systems that fail to moderate pressure or leak will compromise your entire shop and leave you frustrated more often than not. Compressed air system leaks are notoriously costly and can even force you to replace your equipment outright. A mere one-eighth of an inch diameter hole in a 100 psi system can cost you over $1,000 per year in wasted energy. Your day-to-day maintenance will make all the difference in supporting the efficiency of your shop.
Replace Equipment That Isn’t Up To Par
Sometimes you have no choice but to make a wise investment. A compressed air piping system that fails to deliver no matter how much maintenance you finish is one that needs to be switched as soon as possible. Artificial demand is a term used to describe the end use supplying air pressure higher than required for the application. If an application requires 50 psi but is supplied 90 psi, for example, excess compressed air will be used. Pressure regulators are then relied upon to minimize this artificial demand and prevent waste.
It’s good to keep your eye on the prize. Actually getting there, however, means patching up all the little things that add up in the long run. Keep an eye on your compressed air distribution systems and watch everything else fall into place.