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The other side of the compressed air story

Author : Tony Baldwin CEMI, Energy & Resource Specialist

02 November 2020

Compressed air, whilst utilising a ‘free’ working fluid, is one of the highest energy-consuming utilities found in today’s industrial premises. Having spent 30 years in the energy field reviewing many industrial applications, Tony Baldwin CEMI, Energy & Resource Specialist, SMC Pneumatics UK Ltd, says that his first step most commonly involves looking at the generation and distribution of compressed air.

(Image: Shutterstock)

More recently, I’ve been made aware of significant technological advances that are now available from manufacturers. These can have a significant impact on the use and costs attributable to this utility.

Vacuum ejectors

Vacuum ejectors are prevalent in many factories for picking and placing products whilst activities are carried out such as palletisers, jigs and component placement. The typical vacuum ejector uses compressed air through a venturi orifice to create and maintain the vacuum force. Modern vacuum ejectors employ a sensing vacuum switch that isolates the compressed air line at the same time as a valve closes the vacuum line to the cup. This stops compressed air usage when the correct vacuum level is sensed. Should the vacuum pressure deteriorate, the solenoid switches the compressed air line back on to create further vacuum until the pressure is re-established. Switching vacuum ejectors to the modern alternative can reduce compressed air usage by up to 90 percent.

Read the full article in the November issue of DPA

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