Energy savings are out of this world for space technology company

CompAir case study, aerospace compressed air applicationRF2M Technologies, a manufacture of electronic components for the defence-aerospace sector, is saving more than £30,000 (approx. $47,000 AUD) in energy costs per year after switching to a CompAir L75 variable-speed compressor with heat-recovery system from Gardner Denver distributor, Rodwell Bayne.

The system has been so successful that the customer has recently invested in a second L75 RS compressor to achieve even greater energy savings.

Part of the global API Technologies group, the site at Great Yarmouth in the UK, has been manufacturing sensitive, high-tech electronics since the early 1980s. Operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week, RF2M has high-demand for a reliable source of instrument air which must also be highly efficient to ensure energy consumption remains as low as possible.

In 2007, the customer invested in its first CompAir L75 variable speed compressor, which was one of the first in the industry to have a heat recovery system fitted.

Recent analysis shows how significantly this investment has contributed to energy savings at the Great Yarmouth site, as Andrew Rodwell, director at Rodwell Bayne explains:

‘RF2M’s manufacturing processes require high volumes of air and, over the years, its existing compressors had become costly to operate, due to inefficient loading.

‘Following an air audit of the existing installation, including power cost calculations and data logging, we recommended a variable-speed compressor with heat-recovery, with an anticipated return on investment of just 14 months.

‘The regulated speed technology in the L75RS produces the correct amount of air to match RF2M’s demands, helping to reduce the risk and associated costs of offload running.

‘In the first year alone, the customer saved over 370,000 KWh of electricity on an average 35% compressor consumption rate, with a high percentage of this saving attributed to the efficient, variable-speed technology.’

Heat recovery
Typically, almost all of the energy that is used to power a compressor is converted to heat, which is released in to the atmosphere and wasted.

Using heat exchangers, Rodwell Bayne was able to develop a system to recover this energy as a source of factory heating, reducing the requirement on the site’s gas boiler.

RF2M’s site manager, David Yates adds, ‘Despite average colder winter temperatures over the past few years, the heat recovery system is still saving up to £3,000 per annum in gas consumption. Additional savings are also expected this year as we now supply our nitrogen generation plant directly from the factory-air supply, rather than using a separate, fixed-speed compressor.

‘Placing higher demand on the L75 in this way has the effect of raising the temperature of the heat recovery unit, which in turn is reducing the demands on the gas-fed boiler.

‘As a result, the boiler is working up to 66% less and at times, is not required at all, creating significant cost and carbon reduction savings.’

High reliability
The site operates round-the-clock, only shutting down for essential maintenance and therefore requiring the compressor installation to provide high reliability. The L75RS compressors have been proven in numerous applications across the globe for their high durability, longevity and ease of maintenance.