Com­pressed air man­age­ment sys­tems

DEMM Engineering & Manufacturing - - PNEUMATICS & HYDRAULICS - Au­thors: Er­win Rup­pelt and Daniela Koehler of Kaeser Kom­pres­soren.

Since ap­pear­ing on the mar­ket, mas­ter con­trollers have helped en­hance the ef­fi­ciency of com­pressed air sta­tions.

The lat­est gen­er­a­tion of these in­tel­li­gent tech­ni­cal sys­tems pushes the bound­aries of com­pressed air ef­fi­ciency even fur­ther, and de­liv­ers added value that pays off in all sorts of ways.

Pro­vid­ing pre­ci­sion mon­i­tor­ing and con­trol, these multi-taskers not only keep an eye on the com­pressed air sys­tem as whole, but also sup­ply data for a range of ap­pli­ca­tions. In short, they pro­vide greater con­ve­nience, fur­ther en­hance re­li­a­bil­ity, min­imise costs and can be ap­plied to an even wider range of uses.

The drive to­ward ef­fi­ciency, re­li­a­bil­ity and – most im­por­tantly – sus­tain­able re­source us­age and en­ergy sav­ings, is in­creas­ingly com­pelling de­vel­op­ers and users to op­ti­mise ex­ist­ing so­lu­tions ever fur­ther.

Mod­ern in­stal­la­tions are com­pre­hen­sive sys­tems, in­clud­ing com­pres­sors, cool­ing sys­tems, dry­ers and fil­ters. Even the in­di­vid­ual com­po­nents have aux­il­iary sys­tems, such as ven­ti­la­tion or cool­ing wa­ter sys­tems.

More­over, mod­ern com­pressed air sta­tions are of­ten ben­e­fi­cially in­cor­po­rated into heat re­cov­ery pro­cesses to achieve best use of the avail­able en­ergy.

Com­plex sys­tems such as these re­quire an or­gan­is­ing prin­ci­ple of sorts – this is where mas­ter con­trol sys­tems come into play. By mon­i­tor­ing the in­di­vid­ual com­po­nents and op­ti­mally co-or­di­nat­ing the in­ter­ac­tion be­tween them, these con­trollers trans­form the in­di­vid­ual ‘play­ers’ into a truly co­he­sive team that op­er­ates re­li­ably and ef­fi­ciently.

Up un­til now, use of such sys­tems has yielded a cer­tain de­gree of op­ti­mi­sa­tion. For in­stance, mas­ter con­troller sys­tems such as the SAM with 3D-Con­trol have for some time been ca­pa­ble of co­or­di­nat­ing mul­ti­ple com­pres­sors with dif­fer­ent in­ter­nal con­trol sys­tems, en­sur­ing that they sup­ply the re­quired and set work­ing pres­sure with max­i­mum en­ergy ef­fi­ciency.

Bet­ter com­mu­ni­ca­tion Yet there were still cer­tain as­pects that har­boured sig­nif­i­cant po­ten­tial for im­prove­ment. For ex­am­ple, com­mu­ni­ca­tions be­tween the com­po­nents and con­trollers still pre­sented con­sid­er­able po­ten­tial for devel­op­ment and re­fine­ment.

Some com­pres­sors are equipped only with float­ing con­tacts that merely sig­nal the ba­sic sta­tus of the com­pres­sor (run­ning / not run­ning) and do not fea­ture in­te­grated con­trollers ca­pa­ble of de­tect­ing and com­mu­ni­cat­ing more de­tailed sta­tus in­for­ma­tion about the com­pres­sor.

Fur­ther­more, within the wide range of dif­fer­ent bus sys­tems avail­able on the mar­ket, many are not com­pat­i­ble with one another at all or can only be made com­pat­i­ble with dif­fi­culty. This makes it dif­fi­cult to com­mu­ni­cate all the nec­es­sary in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing a sys­tem’s sta­tus.

Con­tem­po­rary Eth­er­net­based bus sys­tems en­able more straight­for­ward in­te­gra­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tion of large data vol­umes. Sys­tems equipped with mod­ern in­ter­nal con­trollers there­fore al­ready rely on Eth­er­net tech­nol­ogy in order to com­mu­ni­cate with other net­worked sys­tems. true man­age­ment sys­tems, yet are ca­pa­ble of much more.

Com­pressed air man­age­ment sys­tems, such as the SAM 2, are de­signed to pro­vide en­er­gy­op­ti­mised man­age­ment of the com­pressed air sta­tion as a whole. Easy to op­er­ate, they also sup­ply data for var­i­ous out­put and eval­u­a­tion forms, and en­sure op­ti­mal, pre­dic­tive main­te­nance and ef­fi­ciency of the en­tire com­pressed air sys­tem.

The new man­age­ment sys­tems gather in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing the con­nected com­po­nents and mea­sure­ment points via the net­work and are able to trans­fer this data rapidly with­out lim­i­ta­tion to a cen­tralised con­trol sys­tem for eval­u­a­tion. A closed, se­cure net­work en­sures that the data are se­cure and can­not be ac­cessed from out­side the sys­tem with­out ac­cess per­mis­sion.

Once in the sys­tem, the data are vis­ually dis­played for max­i­mum in­tel­li­gi­bil­ity and are easy to ac­cess. The com­po­nents of the com­pressed air sta­tion are rep­re­sented graph­i­cally and can be individually called up with just a few clicks.

Once con­fig­ured, the in­for­ma­tion can be dis­played on the con­troller it­self or – via web trans­fer – on a PC or a cen­tralised con­trol sys­tem. Users can se­lect which data they wish to trans­fer; for se­cu­rity rea­sons the func­tions can only be ac­cessed from the con­troller it­self.

The col­lected data then

opens up a range of mon­i­tor­ing, eval­u­a­tion and ap­pli­ca­tion op­tions.

En­ergy man­age­ment

The pri­mary uses of a man­age­ment sys­tem are to pro­vide com­pressed air pro­duc­tion mon­i­tor­ing and to au­to­mat­i­cally op­ti­mise com­pressed air sys­tem per­for­mance. For ex­am­ple, while also en­sur­ing max­i­mum op­er­a­tional re­li­a­bil­ity and ef­fi­ciency, the com­pres­sors and treat­ment com­po­nents are switched on and off as needed, or op­er­ate at par­tial load, so that com­pressed air quan­tity and qual­ity al­ways re­main in step with ac­tual de­mand.

The new com­pressed air man­age­ment sys­tems are avail­able for com­pres­sor sta­tions of vary­ing sizes. Cur­rently, up to 16 com­pres­sors can be in­te­grated for mon­i­tor­ing and con­trol, thanks

to spe­cial net­work tech­nol­ogy.

Sys­tem pa­ram­e­ters

The man­age­ment sys­tems ad­di­tion­ally mon­i­tor all other rel­e­vant sys­tem pa­ram­e­ters, such as the tem­per­a­ture and pres­sures in the com­pres­sor and com­pressed air treat­ment sys­tem, as well as am­bi­ent en­vi­ron­men­tal con­di­tions.

This means the con­trol sys­tem can also check whether com­pres­sor cool­ing func­tion­al­ity is per­form­ing as re­quired and whether en­vi­ron­men­tal con­di­tions (tem­per­a­ture, pres­sure) are con­sis­tent with the rel­e­vant re­quire­ments.

Where heat re­cov­ery sys­tems are used, all as­so­ci­ated pa­ram­e­ters are also in­te­grated in the man­age­ment sys­tem.

Us­ing an in­te­grated, freely pro­gram­mable con­trol logic mod­ule, pe­riph­eral de­vices nec­es­sary for com­pres­sor sta­tion op­er­a­tion can be flex­i­bly pro­grammed, to open in­let or cir­cu­lat­ing air lou­vers, for ex­am­ple.

Pre­dic­tive main­te­nance

How­ever, progress isn’t re­stricted to sys­tem op­er­a­tion alone. Main­te­nance rep­re­sents a key area to con­sider when it comes to max­imis­ing cost-ef­fec­tive com­pressed air pro­duc­tion.

It goes with­out say­ing that poorly main­tained sys­tems with con­tam­i­nated cool­ers or fil­ters, for ex­am­ple, also op­er­ate with im­paired spe­cific out­put val­ues.

New man­age­ment sys­tems there­fore also take main­te­nance pa­ram­e­ters into ac­count and in­clude them in over­all op­ti­mi­sa­tion strate­gies. Over the longterm, pre­ven­ta­tive main­te­nance not only re­duces both en­ergy con­sump­tion and costs, but also helps boost value-re­ten­tion of the sys­tem as a whole. More­over, the com­plex mon­i­tor­ing en­ables the cre­ation of pre­dic­tive main­te­nance sched­ules.

In ad­di­tion to con­trol of the com­pres­sor pack­age it­self, the lat­est gen­er­a­tion of man­age­ment sys­tems also en­ables the gath­er­ing, for­ward­ing and eval­u­a­tion of im­por­tant data to pro­duce doc­u­men­ta­tion in ac­cor­dance with ISO 50001.

The new man­age­ment sys­tems col­lect data re­gard­ing air con­sump­tion and, where ap­pli­ca­ble, heat re­cov­ery. Based on this data, costs are au­to­mat­i­cally cal­cu­lated and can be as­signed once again to the var­i­ous in­di­vid­ual com­po­nents within the sys­tem.

These func­tions, in­clud­ing visu­al­i­sa­tion, are ac­cessed via the web us­ing stan­dard browsers with­out the need for

any ad­di­tional soft­ware.

Com­pressed air man­age­ment sys­tems can there­fore de­ter­mine and col­late a range of key met­rics, in­clud­ing eval­u­a­tion and anal­y­sis of com­pres­sor sta­tus, time pe­riod com­par­isons, thresh­old value eval­u­a­tions, en­ergy ta­bles, cost ta­bles and ca­pac­ity.

In­te­gra­tion of older sys­tems

Of course, the ben­e­fits of mon­i­tor­ing and main­te­nance are most ef­fec­tive when the com­pressed air sta­tion com­po­nents (e.g. com­pres­sors, fil­ters, dry­ers, etc.) fea­ture the lat­est tech­nol­ogy.

But what if the ex­ist­ing sys­tem doesn’t cor­re­spond to the lat­est stan­dards? Well, com­pressed air man­age­ment sys­tems also al­low in­te­gra­tion of older, less ad­vanced sys­tems. Although any­one con­sid­er­ing retrofitting an ex­ist­ing com­pressed air in­stal­la­tion with a new com­pressed air man­age­ment sys­tem should be aware that this strat­egy doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily make sense for ev­ery sys­tem.

The ex­tent to which in­stal­la­tion of a new com­pressed air man­age­ment sys­tem yields en­ergy sav­ings de­pends on the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion of each in­di­vid­ual op­er­a­tor. In the past, com­pressed air sta­tions were rarely con­ceived with a com­pre­hen­sive en­ergy ef­fi­ciency con­cept in mind, and even to­day this ap­proach is not uni­ver­sal.

This be­ing the case, it is older sta­tions in par­tic­u­lar that present the great­est po­ten­tial for im­prove­ment. When such sta­tions are up­dated to the lat­est tech­nol­ogy, the po­ten­tial sav­ings are con­sid­er­ably higher than for sys­tems that are al­ready op­ti­mised.


New com­pressed air man­age­ment sys­tems min­imise in­ter­face prob­lems and re­quire no ad­di­tional soft­ware to pro­vide valu­able cost mon­i­tor­ing in­for­ma­tion.

Com­pres­sor sta­tion mas­ter con­trollers are in­creas­ingly evolv­ing into man­age­ment sys­tems that not only con­trol the com­pres­sors in ac­cor­dance with com­pressed air de­mand re­quire­ments, but which also mon­i­tor the com­pressed air sys­tem as a whole, as well as as­so­ci­ated aux­il­iary sys­tems.

This is per­formed with op­ti­mum ef­fi­ciency and max­i­mum eval­u­a­tion po­ten­tial in mind, which, in turn, de­liv­ers im­proved re­li­a­bil­ity with more de­tailed in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing the sys­tem and sig­nif­i­cantly re­duces op­er­at­ing costs.

Eth­er­net pro­vides the mod­ern ba­sis for com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween the user and com­pressed air sys­tem as well as the in­di­vid­ual com­po­nents that com­prise the com­pressed air sta­tion.

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