Clean Air America Helps Plant Pocket $700,000 in Utility Savings with new Air-Filtration Unit

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Kentucky metal-stamping plant's 330 welding stations utilize closed-system air filtration to reduce welding smoke and heating and air conditioning costs.

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Whether it's zero or 97 degrees outside, bringing in 'make-up' air at any volume above 50% is very costly while reducing the lifespan of the HVAC system through excessive use.

For any manager of a manufacturing installation, utility expenses must always remain a top priority. Complicating this challenge is the need to balance comfort cooling and heating against the need for smoke removal from metal fabricating processes.

Toyotetsu America's Somerset, Kentucky plant solved this dilemma by installing a point-of-source, closed, air filtration system for its 330 welding stations at the same time as a 2,500 ton heating and air conditioning system. By filtering welding smoke in a closed system that returns treated air back to the plant, management cut it usage of natural gas by up to 85% for a savings of close to $60,000 in one month (December) alone. This savings stems from not having to re-heat or re-cool air that is routinely lost when plants exhaust smoke to the atmosphere.

Toyotetsu's drive toward improved air:
Since the plant's inception in 1995, the 830 employees worked through hot and humid summers without the benefit of air conditioning. In a bid to improve working conditions, management decided to implement a plant-wide air conditioning system. At the same time, a new filtration system was needed to offset the exorbitant expense of cooling new air to make-up for plant air that was currently being ducted to the outside.

"It is essential that if you opt for air conditioning, that you must also have closed-system air filtration, otherwise you are wasting tremendous amounts of money," cautions Jorgen Brahm, senior vice president at Clean Air America, Inc. (Rome, GA), a provider of turnkey, point-of-source filtration systems for robotic integrators, and integrators of laser cutting and plasma cutting tables. "Whether it's zero or 97 degrees outside, bringing in 'make-up' air at any volume above 50% is very costly while reducing the lifespan of the HVAC system through excessive use."

Installation "according to plan"
The project started in the spring of 2008 and involved extensive use of a helicopter to install both the A/C and filtration units on the roof. By May, 17 air filtration units were placed into service, each possessing 48 cartridge filters within each collector, for a total filtering capacity of 340,000 cfm.

Installation was finished, within budget, by the fall of 2008. At the same time, installation of forty, 50-ton A/C units, along with several smaller pieces, also was completed.

Rapid return on investment
By not having to heat or cool "make up" air, the new system enabled immediate utility savings.

In December of 2007, the Toyotetsu plant consumed 3,921 cubic feet of natural gas, at a cost of $59,371.20, to heat the building. In December of 2008, after installation of the air filtration system, only 556 cubic feet were required, dropping the monthly gas utility cost to $8,407.15. Taking into account electric utility savings when running the A/C system during the summer of 2009, annual utility-cost savings are projected to approach $700,000.

Given the success at Somerset, Toyotetsu's sister plant in Owensboro, Kentucky subsequently chose to install closed-system air filtration units at its site.

For more information, contact Clean Air America, Inc., 7 Superior Blvd., Rome, GA 30161; Phone: 706-291-1700; Fax: 706-291-1747; web site:

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