Chicago-area injection molding company Intec Group, LLC. is saving thousands on their annual energy bill by upgrading to a VSD compressor and VSD dryer from PneuTech. Thanks to energy incentives from ComEd, they saved thousands more on their purchase. Their new compressor allows them to ramp up production when needed while reducing energy consumption, maintenance costs, and compressor wear and tear.
Pete Bardgett, the Business Development Manager for Intec Group, says, “These cost savings helps Intec continue to be more competitive in the marketplace when quoting new opportunities; this directly offsets the continued increases of electricity. If our competition is not doing these kinds of things, then they will have to be raising prices to maintain margins where we can continue to maintain margins while being a lower-cost alternative for our customers.”
The Challenge: Improving Energy Efficiency and Reliability
Intec uses compressed air to run their injection molding machinery. Keeping up with customer demand requires a lot of air–and a lot of energy. The company maintained multiple fixed-speed compressors, including a 100 HP PneuTech rotary screw compressor, two 30 HP Sullair rotary screw compressors, and a 75 HP Sullair rotary screw which was seldom used.
The fixed-speed compressors drew maximum energy at all times while powered on, regardless of the actual demand for air. An audit of the compressed air system identified significant inefficiencies.
The Fluid-Aire Solution: Upgrading to VSD with a ComEd Energy Incentive
The Fluid-Aire team conducted a data logging study to determine the overall efficiency of the system. Amperage data loggers were attached to the main motor of each compressor. Converting amperage data to CFM enabled an analysis of total demand vs. CFM supply for each hour of plant operation over seven days. This analysis showed that replacing some of the fixed-speed capacity with a variable-speed compressor would result in substantial energy savings. “Working through the technical details and options available for our upgrade was made very easy based on Fluid Aire coming in and making the real-time analysis of actual demand,” Mr. Bardgett says. “This allowed us to make decisions based on actual results rather than engineering estimates.”
Based on this analysis, they decided to replace the two smaller Sullair rotary screws with a 125 HP PneuTech Water-Cooled VSD Rotary Screw Compressor. They also upgraded their non-cycling refrigerated dryer to an energy-saving VSD refrigerated dryer. Mr. Bardgett explains, “VSD was chosen based on continual variability of demand in our plant and this was the most cost-effective way to address the constantly changing demand.”
Energy incentives from ComEd, their energy provider, allowed them to reduce their capital costs, too. Prescriptive rebates on energy-saving VSD equipment gave them $10,625 back on the compressor and $3,750 back on the air dryer–a savings of nearly 20% on the new equipment cost.
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The Result: An Efficient System with Room for Future Growth
The new VSD equipment allows them to ramp CFM up and down to meet demand in real-time. They were also able to reduce overall plant pressure slightly. The combined annual savings from upgrading to the VSD equipment totaled more than $18,000.
- Unloaded cost: $ 14,827.75
- Inefficiency cost: $ 1,210.84
- Pressure reduction savings: $ 978.26
- Annual cost of sump blow-down: $ 1,102.51
- TOTAL ESTIMATED SAVINGS: $ 18,119.35
Upgrading to a newer, more efficient compressor provides other benefits, too, including less wear and tear on the compressor, lower maintenance and repair costs, and less heat and noise in the plant. The new compressor also provides more consistent output for production machines. The older compressors and dryer were retained for use as a backup system. They now have plenty of excess capacity to ensure that they are ready for growth in the future. As Mr. Bardgett says, “The ComEd component of this allowed us to spend a bit more up front so that we could save more on an annual basis, so it was a key component to choosing the actual equipment.”
Just the Facts
- 125 HP PneuTech Water-Cooled VSD Air Compressor, 148 – 635 CFM
- PneuTech Refrigerated VSD Air Dyer, 1250 CFM
ComEd Energy Incentives Applied:
- Compressor: $10,625
- Dryer: $3,750
Estimated Annual Energy Savings: $18,120