Connell Announces An Air Recycling System For Compressors

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By retrofitting existing blowmolding systems with an Air Recovery System (ARS), PET packaging manufacturers are conserving on energy, slashing their electric bills and reducing the need for investing in new air compressors.

Connell Industries has announced an air recovery system for compressors that offers huge savings in energy bills.

In the PET industry, it is now possible do something about electric power usage through conservation of electricity and reuse of output that can significantly cut power usage while increasing productivity and lowering overhead. It is being done with the recovery and reuse of compressed air. Known as an air recycling system, compressed air recovery and reuse is a method of extending the use of air compressors and/or reducing the demand on air compressors.

In PET blowmolding applications, air compressors produce excess air, which is usually exhausted into the atmosphere. Even though it is at a lower pressure than primary compressed air, if that excess air can be recovered and recycled to the plant's low-pressure system, it can be used anywhere needed within your facility. An air recycling system allows some compressors to rest, resulting in significant savings in energy and maintenance expenses.

Some ARS, such as the Technoplan Engineering System from Connell Industries (Rahway, NJ) can be installed onto virtually all blowmolding machines currently on the market, including older models. During the molds exhaust phase, residual low-pressure compressed air is directed to a recovery tank. Although at a lower pressure (typically 120-170 psi), the residual compressed air is available for secondary applications such as conveyors and injection molding machines.

One PET bottle fabricating plant of a leading global packaging manufacturer has recently installed ARS units on PET bottle lines. The packaging firm has installed air recycling units on three lines, so far, two of which are Technoplan Engineering Systems from Connell Industries.

That horsepower savings translates directly into cost savings, and in the process saves on emissions of greenhouse gases. In addition, the plant receives incentives from the local electric power utility, Southern California Edison.

Counting the Edison the incentive, the cost for each Technoplan ARS was $30,000. Estimating a minimum annual savings of $60,000 on energy costs, the payback on each ARS is about six months. However, that period could be even shorter on lines producing smaller bottles.

Many other PET packaging producers and utilities are aggressively pursuing initiatives to reduce energy consumption via ARS installations. To date, approximately 350 systems have been installed in PET bottling plants worldwide. Also, the ARS concept has been engineered into some new blow-molding equipment.

Southeastern Container (SEC) produces PET bottles for Coca-Cola, its parent, at 10 U.S. plants. With the help of electric power utility Public Service Company of New Hampshire, SEC set a multi-year goal of conserving energy while at the same time improving the output of its blowmolders at its Hudson, NH plant, so that more bottles could be produced using less energy. The Hudson facility produces 1.5 million PET bottles during every shift.

Since installing the ARS, the Hudson SEC location is considered to be the company's most efficient plant.

SEC first considered the potential for ARS savings four years ago, when Connell Industries presented the concept to the Hudson plant.

Craig Trottier, an account executive with Public Service Company of New Hampshire, the state's major electric power utility, says an air recycling system is one of the ways customers can take some of the load off the electric power system.

Uniquely suited to retrofitting existing blowmolding systems, the Technoplan ARS from Connell Industries can be installed in a relatively short time, hence not creating prolonged downtime. The cycle time of blowmolding machines is not affected after the ARS is installed. In addition to energy savings, the ARS also decreases noise and potentially saves on space due to improved compressor efficiencies.

Connell Industries is a control system integration company that can provide total control systems engineering, with expertise ranging from the design of Programmable Logic Control systems and operator interfaces as well as overall control management of facility compressed air systems.

For more information, contact Vincent DiGangi at Connell Industries, Inc., 1949 Montgomery Street. Rahway, NJ 07065; Phone 877-926-6635; Fax (305) 675-2612; Email: vrdigangi @ connell-ind.com; or visit the web site http://www.connell-ind.com/recycling.html.

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