Industrial Equipment Users Discover Energy Efficient Direct Drive Air Compressors

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Foregoing belts and gears, direct-drive air compressor systems yield electrical cost savings of up to 8%.

Other electric air compressors, particularly in the 5-100 hp range, are belt or gear driven. However, by omitting the unneeded gears and pulleys you can reduce drive-line friction and improve energy efficiency from 3-8%.

As upper management achieves increased productivity from its headcount by mandating 40-hour-plus workweeks, today's facility managers now stand equally responsible for upping an organization's bottom line by seeking increased energy efficiency from plant equipment. In a case of "doing more with less," plant engineers are increasingly turning to direct-drive electric air compressor systems that extract greater power out of every single watt, raising the bar for efficiency in industrial equipment.

Recent innovations by manufacturers such as Sullivan- Palatek, a manufacturer of direct drive rotary screw air compressors, allow an array of manufacturing and processing plants to profit from greater energy savings in their electric motor-driven pressurized-air operations.

The efficiency benefits of these new-technology air compressor systems stem from two important design improvements. Primarily, the Sullivan-Palatek compressors utilize a direct-drive rotary screw, which eliminates unnecessary moving parts such as belts, gears and pulleys, reducing the parasitic losses attributed to belts (4-8% loss) and gears (3-5%). Secondly, these compressors employ larger rotors in the air-end assemblies that, in effect, offer a "higher displacement" so they turn slower while producing an equivalent amount of cubic feet per minute of air than smaller units.

"You get more air, at higher pressure, using less horsepower, with the newer direct-drive compressors," says Steve Van Loan, President at Sullivan-Palatek. "Other electric air compressors, particularly in the 5-100 hp range, are belt or gear driven. However, by omitting the unneeded gears and pulleys you can reduce drive-line friction and improve energy efficiency from 3-8%."

As an example, manufacturers requiring a specific amount of air flow for a given process can use a direct drive rotary screw air compressor that only requires 100 hp, as opposed to needing a belt or gear-driven system that might require 112 HP to produce the same amount of air. For a compressor running 24/7, the savings can amount to over $7000 annually, figured at the DOE national average of 8.6 cents per kWh.

Sullivan-Palatek manufactures industrial equipment such as electric and diesel driven high performance rotary screw air compressors.

Steve Van Loan

svanloan@palatek.com

(800) 438-6203

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