How Is Air Compressor Efficiency Calculated?

Posted by OCPneunmatics on Jul 6th 2020

Do you know if your compressed air systems are wasting more power than they need to? You’ve probably heard that pneumatic solutions are among the most effective and efficient on the market. While this is true in many use cases, whether or not it is for you depends entirely on how your equipment is getting deployed. If you’re not doing in the right way, then you can’t trust that the gear you’re working with won’t be operating in a relatively wasteful manner.

As a result, you’ll want to keep an eye on efficiency metrics. Should you find some older components that aren’t holding up any longer, then you’ll want to swap those out with new parts from SMC Pneumatics. By simply replacing some older components, you’ll be able to drastically improve the efficiency of your system.

At the same time, you’ll want to take a few moments to learn more about how you calculate the efficiency of an individual air compressor that’s attached to your installation.

Air Compressor Efficiency Metrics & Analytics

There are several main metrics that air compressors are generally judged by. You’ll want to take a look at how they operate under variable displacement and modulation. This is a simple way to tell how well they can work when functioning in rotary or reciprocating control mode.

Measuring the number of valves that open up when testing centrifugal compressor blow-off tends to be an important measurement as well. Perhaps the most pervasive measurement, however, is the level of supply side storage that happens when you’re ramping a compressor up. Some compressors generate far too much pressure, which is just being wasted because it isn’t stored. The compressor has to essentially generate air on a just in time basis, which starts to hurt efficiency even more as time goes on.

As a rule of thumb, you want to use the minimum amount of pressure necessary to properly manipulate every actuator that’s attached to your system. Any more than this and you’re just hurting the efficiency of your compressor by using more power than you need to.

Over time, this can also cause tubing pieces to rupture, which in turn creates leaks. Even the most efficient air compressor isn’t going to be able to do much when it’s working against pressure losses at different points along your pneumatic layout, so you’ll want to keep a close eye out for any leaks that might occur during your normal operating day.

Compressor room conditions are often measured by those who are trying to judge whether or not a compressor is operating efficiently. Elevated temperatures and dusty air are certainly going to count against it. You’re also going to want to see that the compressor is relying on the right kind of energy controls.

Those who have to deploy multiple compressors will save a great deal of power by installing a smart energy control system. Auditors who give compressors a rating based on a scoring rubric will generate rate systems that employ this technology more highly than those that don’t.

Engineers haven’t agreed on a single overarching system to measure air compressor efficiency. In fact, you’ll probably find several different styles in use depending on which technicians you speak with and who trained them. That being said, they should all give you a base number to work with so you can be sure that you at least have a ballpark figure and know where to make improvements.

Fortunately, there are some tools that can help you make these decisions as well.

Online Pneumatic Calculation Tools For Energy Consumption

Using a simple online pneumatic calculator can make it much easier to figure out how much air you’re using in a particular compressed air-driven circuit. Just like you would use a traditional graphing calculator to figure out sine waves and the like, you’ll want to make use of a tool like this so you don’t have to worry about the possibility of making a mathematical error.

An airflow unit conversion calculator allows you to enter the volume of airflow that you know or the total air velocity and convert it to other units. You could measure LFM in terms of feet per minute or measure air velocity in MPH if you prefer. As far as volume airflow goes, you may be interested in finding cubic feet per minute in order to get a better look into the level of efficiency put out by the equipment that you’re looking at.

Metric and customary measurements both have their proponents. Pneumatic installations in North America have a tendency to use either system as it fits at the time. Those who tailor themselves to Canadian businesses will often prefer metric. Individuals working primarily with those in the United States tend to use customary instead, but this isn’t a hard and fast rule. You’ll often find air compressors sold in the US that provide you with all of the specs written out in metric.

If that’s the case, then you need a measurement converter that will make the job much easier by simply switching between the two types of measures with a high degree of accuracy. You’ll be able to take down the efficiency of an air compressor that has specifications recorded in a different type of measurement than you’re used in that case.

Standard cubic feet per minute is quite possibly the measurement you’re going to run into the most, perhaps because it’s a great way to figure out how many moles of air pass through a system regardless of actual flow conditions. Using SCFM as a metric allows you to play out what-if scenarios and test how your system might respond to certain situations.

By using the SCFM conversion calculator, you’ll be able to figure out these numbers with as high a level of accuracy as you might with any of these other tools. That means you shouldn’t have any trouble spotting potential areas of inefficiency.

Upgrade Air Compressors & Pneumatic Parts With SMC Pneumatics

If you do come across any problems, then The SMC Pneumatics experts will be here to help. Depending on your specific situation and how much you’re losing in your current installation, these solutions may actually eventually pay for themselves through reduced energy usage. In fact, they might be seen as a necessity by those who have to make sure that they’re in the process of greening their operations.

Take a few moments to jot down all of the pieces of equipment in your installation that you wanted to replace. Then make sure to contact us online so we can get you efficient replacements that will last a long time.

facebook twitter instagram linkedin