When auditing an installation, we look for solutions or alternatives to help our clients with 3 different aspects: Safety - Efficiency - Performance
In the case of Group Regitex, our advice and changes were mainly focused on the energy efficiency aspect.
CONTEXT OF THE CASE STUDY
Leading-edge yarn manufacturing
For more than 35 years, Group Regitex specializes in the manufacturing of cutting-edge yarns for end-users in the protective, industrial, apparel, high performance, and home furnishing markets.
“We were aware that our air network had a lot of air leaks and that it affected the performance of machines and tools. We contacted Topring to come audit our system and evaluate the extent of the problem.
The leaks were multiple and our compressors were continuously solicited, even when the production was not running at full capacity. We even added a compressor in anticipation of future expansion. Despite this, the problems persisted.
The impact was significant: our energy costs were high and the performance of our equipment was declining. Because our machines noisy, the leaks were not audible, making it difficult to identify where they came from.
We called upon Topring’s expertise to evaluate the efficiency of our compressed air system. Several observations emerged from the analysis:
- More than 212 reparable leaks have been identified.
- We had basic quality fittings that wore out prematurely because of machine vibrations.
- The pneumatic tubes were poorly adapted for our applications; they were drying and cracking because of the heat of the machines.
- PVC pipes with collars were also drying and crackling.
We felt the urgency to act; we had to make our compressed air system as airtight as possible, our profits were flying away!”
Research Coordinator and Development, Group Regitex
CHALLENGES AND SOLUTIONS
The Financial Impact of Excessive Leaks
An average plant loses 20% or more of its compressor capacity due to air leaks. Every time a pressure increases by 2 PSI, it requires the compressor 1% more energy; every PSI lost due to leaks is therefore very costly!
Given the cost of energy, this loss has a considerable impact on operating costs. Since air leaks are not dangerous, they are often overlooked or “tolerated”.
They usually appear through a multitude of small holes in the compressed air system. Unfortunately, none of them are important enough to attract attention; although each leak is minor, the accumulation has a negative impact on operations.
With compressed air costs around $0.25 / 1000 ft3 ($0.08 / KW / hr), an average plant can potentially save large sums of money simply by establishing a program of leak detection and repair.
The table below illustrates the cost* of air leaks :
|Leak diameter (inches)||Pressure|
|90 PSIG||100 PSIG||120 PSIG||150 PSIG|
|1/8||$2 970||$3 260||$3 820||$4 670|
|3/16||$6 680||$7 320||$8 600||$10 500|
|1/4||$11 900||$13 000||$15 300||$18 700|
|3/8||$26 700||$29 200||$34 300||$42 000|
|1/2||$47 500||$52 000||$61 200||$74 800|
*Calculations are based on 8760 hours of operation with a 100% efficient compressor.
Leak Detection Program
Any leak detection and repair program starts with a complete audit of the compressed air system which allows us to:
- Make an overall assessment of air losses
- Evaluate critical locations related to these air losses
- Estimate the financial losses associated with these leaks
- Recommend actions according to the priorities
“We knew we had air leaks in our compressed air system, but we had no idea how big the problem was! Through a leak detection program, we identified that our leaks represented an annual cost of $ 22 251.” - G. Demers
|Total number of serviceable leaks||212|
|Total repairable leaks||255 CFM|
|Annual cost of repairable leaks||$22 251|
*Calculations are based on the number of compressor hours used annually and a KW / hr cost of $0.08
“We were offered a turnkey project (components and labor) to repair leaks and replace certain components to make our network better suited to our needs. In just 8 months, we had recuperated our investment. We also went back to using a single compressor. In total, this has saved us more than $44 000 annually.” - G. Demers
OUR EXPERIENCE WITH TOPRING
“We are very satisfied with Topring’s response time and expertise. The technical sales representative had a global view of the situation, focusing on the general efficiency including plant equipment without singling out the performance of air compressors. The savings generated by servicing our equipment and the sealing of leaks will allow us to allocate budgets for other plant efficiency improvement projects.” - G. Demers
Group Regitex has chosen to use the following Topring products:
Series 33 - Super flexible Longlife™ Nylon.Polyurethane tubings
Series 77 - TOPFLEX® “Lock-on” hoses
Series 44-46 - MAXFIT® push-to-connect fittings polymer
Series 80 - Air control valves
Series 20 - QUIKSILVER quick couplers