6 compressed air innovations poised to disrupt system design and management

6 compressed air innovations poised to disrupt system design and management

July 8, 2024
Sheila Kennedy says recent developments target reliability and performance with an emphasis on sustainability.

Purposeful innovations are changing how compressed air systems are designed and managed. From integrated, intelligent performance monitoring solutions to advanced system engineering, today’s compressed air technologies are better equipped to support reliability, efficiency, performance, and sustainability goals. 

System optimization

Using industrial sensors to track key metrics in compressed air systems facilitates performance optimization. The new Kaeser Measurement Technology (KMT) suite of intelligent sensors from Kaeser Compressors is designed to deliver real-time insights on a range of metrics including pressure, flow, energy, and air quality. 

“You can set alarms for specific ‘do-not-cross’ pressure or dewpoint levels to protect production or control room ventilation in real time to prevent overheating. You can also use KMT to allocate compressed air costs to specific production lines according to their usage. These are just a few examples. The big point is to get actionable information – not just streams of data,” explains Neil Mehltretter, technical director at Kaeser Compressors.

CO2 and centrifugal solutions

For industrial refrigeration and large-capacity heat pumps, modern systems ease the transition to natural refrigerants. The transcritical HGX56 CO2 T from Danfoss BOCK is a 6-cylinder, semi-hermetic compressor designed for demanding conditions with natural refrigerant R744. 

The HGX56 CO2 T “is ideal for use in high process applications like in the Food & Beverage industry as it helps produce water up to 90°C (194°F),” says Manuel Froschle, head of product management at Danfoss BOCK. “With a wide operating envelope and frequency range, one compressor is suitable for industrial heat pumps, commercial refrigeration, and district heating systems, and offers an efficient alternative to ammonia and synthetic refrigerants.”

A new oil-free centrifugal compressor with frictionless Aero-lift bearing technology from Copeland serves large chiller and heat recovery applications. It offers efficient, reliable performance, and is compatible with lower global warming potential (GWP) refrigerants. 

Unlike other oil-free compressor solutions that rely on electromagnetic levitation bearings, Copeland’s Aero-lift bearing technology delivers oil-free simplicity without sensor and controls complexities, observes Mike Oakley, director of centrifugal solutions at Copeland. “The results are increased reliability and efficiency in full- and part-load conditions, robust performance in high-ambient environments, and increased operational continuity during power outages,” he adds.

For high-pressure applications where air quality is paramount, the P400HPR centrifugal air compressor from FS-Elliott provides an “economical and eco-conscious” solution. It is designed with more aero stages to achieve discharge pressures up to 250 psig and delivers ISO 8573-1 oil-free compressed air.

"The launch of the P400HPR shows our continued commitment to innovation, efficiency, and reliability,” says Michael Wik, director of product management at FS-Elliott. “The P400HPR was developed to optimize compressor performance in high-pressure applications, allowing us to set a new industry standard for aerodynamic design at high-discharge pressures.”

Rotary screw advancements

Efficiency and reliability, the two biggest demands of Hitachi Global Air Power’s big air customers, were answered with its Sullair TS Series rotary screw air compressors. “By re-imagining how air flows between the two compression chambers in our two-stage air end, we were able to achieve higher efficiency – actually best-in-class efficiency – with our patent-pending interstage cooler design,” explains Abram Valencic, senior manager air end engineering.

The TS Series and new two-stage air end are designed to be remanufactured for second and third lives, enhancing sustainability. The compressors’ over/under design enables a smaller footprint and uses fewer parts, improving serviceability.

The new EQ Series of oil-lubricated, direct-drive rotary screw air compressors from ELGi Compressors USA is available in multiple capacities from 25 to 30 hp. It comes in fixed or variable speed drive configurations with a totally enclosed, fan-cooled (TEFC) electric motor.

According to Robert Horneman, product manager at ELGi USA, “The new EQ Series air compressors are ideal for small to medium-sized operations that require high reliability. With a direct-drive design, they provide superior efficiency and a more compact form than traditional belt-driven models, all at a lower initial cost.”

About the Author

Sheila Kennedy | CMRP

Sheila Kennedy, CMRP, is a professional freelance writer specializing in industrial and technical topics. She established Additive Communications in 2003 to serve software, technology, and service providers in industries such as manufacturing and utilities, and became a contributing editor and Technology Toolbox columnist for Plant Services in 2004. Prior to Additive Communications, she had 11 years of experience implementing industrial information systems. Kennedy earned her B.S. at Purdue University and her MBA at the University of Phoenix. She can be reached at [email protected] or www.linkedin.com/in/kennedysheila.

Sponsored Recommendations

Arc Flash Prevention: What You Need to Know

March 28, 2024
Download to learn: how an arc flash forms and common causes, safety recommendations to help prevent arc flash exposure (including the use of lockout tagout and energy isolating...

Reduce engineering time by 50%

March 28, 2024
Learn how smart value chain applications are made possible by moving from manually-intensive CAD-based drafting packages to modern CAE software.

Filter Monitoring with Rittal's Blue e Air Conditioner

March 28, 2024
Steve Sullivan, Training Supervisor for Rittal North America, provides an overview of the filter monitoring capabilities of the Blue e line of industrial air conditioners.

Limitations of MERV Ratings for Dust Collector Filters

Feb. 23, 2024
It can be complicated and confusing to select the safest and most efficient dust collector filters for your facility. For the HVAC industry, MERV ratings are king. But MERV ratings...