Metrics Matter: In Your Compressed Air Project, Baselining Is Essential.



Do you know how much compressed air your system actually requires to meet production demands? More often than not, the building operations team simply cranks up the PSI if the system isn’t keeping up with demand. But that doesn’t really solve problems for you in the long run, which is why a compressed air project may be worth your time (and money).

In our last article, Effort & Reward: Is it worth taking on a compressed air project, now, we talked about the cost of underperforming compressed air systems and the massive opportunity for improvement in most cases. But what does it take to make that happen?

Documentation is everything. It all starts with thorough compressed air system assessment and baselining.

You need to map out your distribution so you can identify sources of air pressure drops. Every tight 90° turn in piping is equivalent to adding 10’ of pipe to your line. Worn out valves, fittings and hoses, loose connections and equipment bleed off can lead to costly air leaks. You want to record your compressed air system’s entire configuration with as much detail and specificity as possible. Note inefficient uses of compressed air, such as cooling, cleaning, drying and drilling and grinding applications. Identify stop-gap solutions and patch-work repairs. Save the supply side for last. Be sure to note HP and CAGI CFM output listed on the air compressors.

Plan to gather compressed air project data now and after adjustments are made.
If the system doesn’t have data-logging equipment, temporarily add it to record all relevant air compressor activity:

  • Air compressor amps
  • Air pressures in the compressor room
  • Air pressures at the end of the lines
  • Cubic Feet per Minute (CFMs)
  • Moisture if relevant

By synchronizing this data gathering with production, you’ll be able to determine how much compressed air is currently needed for production.

In our next article, Steps to Success: Assess System Improvements Before Considering Compressor Replacement, we’ll provide useful tips on how to improve compressed air system efficiency. Once those steps are taken, you’ll want to go back and conduct a follow-up study to determine just how much you were able to impact system efficiency. For a more in-depth look at compressed air systems, be sure to check our free ebook: How to Breathe New Life Into Aging Compressed Air Systems.

Learn how compressed air management can reduce your energy costs by contacting today.