Energy Efficient Direct Drive Air Compressor Systems Milk Extra Work from Utility Dollars

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The 3-8% improvement from efficient industrial air compressors saves as much as $4200 per year from one, 100-hp compressor.

By 2010, using more efficient electric motor systems in the industrial sector could... provide an industrial energy cost savings of $13 billion.

When it comes to wringing maximum utility out of every energy dollar, little things do mean a lot. In a report sponsored by the U.S. Dept. of Energy, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory concluded that, "Industrial electric motor systems account for more than 20% of all electricity used in the U.S.," and that, "using new technologies increases energy efficiency...improves profits." For this reason, many commercial and industrial users of compressed air are turning to direct-drive electric air compressor systems.

As an example, if an efficient air compressor only requires 100 hp to supply a given air flow rate at a given pressure, vs. one with more moving parts that requires 112 hp, the savings in electrical costs can quickly yield a positive benefit/cost ratio on the more efficient machine. Using the industry standard average of $.08 cents per kWh, the 12 hp difference in this example would reduce electricity costs by approximately $4200 per year per unit.

"We use compressed air to disassemble motors and to remove motor parts, wheels and tires," says Jim Cook, Construction Manager of California-based Pick Your Part, the nation’s leading self-service auto wrecker. "But we were frequently running out of air with our piston air compressors. However, now we use 25- and 30-HP direct drive units from Sullivan-Palatek to meet our demand for efficient air availability.”

Sullivan-Palatek of Michigan City, Indiana, manufacturers a line of direct-drive rotary-screw, industrial air compressor systems that allow users to profit from greater energy savings in their pressurized-air operations. The increased efficiency of this design stems from the use of larger air-end assemblies, which results in slower turning rotors that yield higher pressure using lower horsepower. Additional efficiency results from use of a direct-drive rotary screw that eliminates unnecessary moving parts -- thus reducing the parasitic losses attributed to belts and gears.

“The additional 30 HP we get from each new air compressor gives us added efficiency and economy,” says Cook.

"We have an air compressor on four separate production lines to supply the cylinders that position woodworking tools" says Cory Bayer, maintenance team leader for Bayer Built Woodworks, Inc. of Belgrade, Minnesota, a major manufacturer of millwork. "We used regular piston compressors when our volume was less, but as we grew we needed more. So we switched over to the Sullivan-Palatek screw-type air compressors because they are more efficient and reliable enough to run the long hours that we needed. I would definitely recommend the use of these direct drive air compressor systems."

The same U.S. DOE report concluded that: "By 2010, using more efficient electric motor systems in the industrial sector could... provide an industrial energy cost savings of $13 billion."

Established in 1984, Sullivan-Palatek manufactures industrial equipment such as electric and diesel driven high performance rotary screw air compressor systems, along with a complete line of accessory items that include air dryers, filters, remediation systems and construction air tools.

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Steve Van Loan
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