Since installing fixed and regulated speed compressors from CompAir at its plant in Sablé sur Sarthe, France, food processing company, Société Marie, is experiencing annual electricity savings of approximately €10,500 (approx. $14,000 AUD), with a payback on return on investment in less than two years.

Application Details
Part of the LDC Group and employing 12,000 people, Société Marie manufactures ready meals, both fresh and frozen, including a successful range of products aimed at the weight-conscious consumer.

At the company’s Sablé sur Sarthe plant, compressed air is used throughout the manufacturing process, from controlling hot water valves through to packaging the finished product, to help produce over 10,000 tonnes of food each year.

The existing units at the plant, which were 20 years old, were no longer providing an efficient source of air, so Marie opted to review its compressor system.

Air audit
An air audit carried out by CompAir identified that, by installing two new compressors, including a regulated speed unit, as well as a heat recovery system, Marie could benefit from considerable energy savings.

Stéphane Lemiale, maintenance manager at Société Marie, comments: “We have been working with CompAir for 20 years and trust its expertise. Based on the results of the air audit, we opted to install a fixed speed CompAir L50 and regulated speed L55RS compressor, in addition to heat exchangers.

‘The regulated speed technology in the L55RS means that the correct volume of air is produced to match our requirements at all times. This reduces offload running and its associated costs.

‘In addition, the L50 provides a reliable supply of high-quality air.’

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

Working closely with local distributor, R-Hydrau, CompAir was able to develop a system to recover the heat produced during the compression process.

Mr Lemiale adds: ‘Using heat exchangers, we can recover and transfer the heat generated during compression to our water supply. This hot water can then be used for a variety of factory processes, such as sanitation, in order to meet our strict hygiene requirements.’

Energy savings
Since installing the new compressors, Société Marie has lowered its annual electricity consumption for the production of compressed air by 25%, from 600,000 kWh to 450,000 kWh, saving approximately €10,500 (approx. $14,000 AUD) per year.

In addition, the new heat recovery system has reduced the company’s annual natural gas consumption by 15%, saving approximately €8,000 (approx. $10,720 AUD) per year.

Mr Lemiale concludes: ‘Encouraged by government incentives, we have been able to invest in new, more energy efficient equipment from CompAir.

‘Through the use of regulated speed technology and a heat recovery system, we have experienced a payback on return on investment in less than two years.’