Improving Pneumatics Bottom Line

Even though the largest single electrical appliance in a manufacturing plant is often the compressor motor, many industrial users of compressed air remain blissfully unaware of its true costs. Because compressed-air costs are typically hidden in the operating overhead of most companies, any cost reductions immediately fall to the bottom line as added profit. One benefit of rising energy costs is a growing interest in the costs of pneumatic systems. Cost reduction starts with the designers who are now closely investigating maximum operating pressures, sizing circuit components, and calculating more reasonable safety factors. After designing the pneumatic system, there are further ways to reduce cost with efficient operation. For example, if a 500-lb load only moves in the extend direction, lowering the return air pressure can produce substantial savings. Another opportunity for savings is by reducing leaks. Using pressure-differential indicators on filters and changing filter elements regularly avoids the escalating cost of pressure drop across the filter element.