A new DOE initiative promoting sustainability in manufacturing offers an opportunity to improve the sector’s overall energy efficiency through better air compressor maintenance practices.

shutterstock_234167311On April 10, the Department of Energy (DOE) announced the Sustainability in Manufacturing partnership. A collaboration with the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), the new initiative mobilizes manufacturers to integrate new solutions and offers opportunities to cash in on some basic efficiency tips.

The Sustainability in Manufacturing partnership aims to bolster energy efficiency by encouraging American manufacturers to embrace energy efficient solutions. The DOE will publicly recognize companies that spread awareness of the resources available to manufacturers through their own adoption of energy efficient technologies, a step that the DOE hopes will stimulate competition in the sector. The efficiency targets of the partnership will be voluntary, but most participating manufacturers hope to lift energy efficiency by 25% within a decade.

An outgrowth of the DOE’s Better Plants Program, the Sustainability in Manufacturing project reflects the DOE and NAM’s shared commitment to researching and developing new energy saving technologies.

"Manufacturers accept the responsibility to better the future of our environment,” NAM CEO Jay Timmons said.

Optimizing Air Compressor Efficiency

As a ubiquitous presence in factories across the countries, compressed air systems will likely  play a leading role in the Sustainability in Manufacturing partnership. The DOE’s 2014 Compressed Air Market Assessment noted that compressed air systems account for 10% of all electrical consumption and approximately 16% of total motor system energy use in U.S. manufacturing, but it also stressed that “over 50% of industrial plant air systems harbor opportunities for large energy savings with relatively low project costs.”

Many manufacturers can dramatically reduce energy consumption and generate significant savings by closely tracking their air compressor’s performance and adjusting usage as needed. Keeping an updated data log, for example, enables users to track their compressor’s maintenance needs, monitor system control, and ensure that airflow and pressure don’t exceed necessary levels. Similarly, operators can use the compressor’s storage and automatic controls to anticipate demand and switch off air supply when a system isn’t actively in use.

Frequent maintenance can also make all the difference in achieving efficiency standards. As obvious as it may sound, operators should regularly check their systems for leaks — the DOE affirms that a poorly maintained facility will likely see its compressor leak 20% of its total compressed air production capacity. By proactively checking for leaks, however, users can reduce leaks to 10% of the compressor’s output.

Picking the Most Efficient Compressor

To further their commitment to energy efficiency, manufacturers can also consider investing in a rotary vane compressor, which promise higher volumetric efficiency and reduced leakage than a standard rotary screw compressor.

At Mattei, we’ve developed a line of rotary vane compressors that offer users unmatched durability and efficiency. Backed by our zero-wear Meehanite treating process, which prevents corrosion of the stator wall and cast iron blades, our compressors require less maintenance and consume less electricity than rotary screw alternatives while providing higher pressure and exceptional volumetric efficiency.

For six decades, Mattei has outfitted some of the world’s leading manufacturers with the finest compressed air systems available. As proud supporters of the Sustainability in Manufacturing partnership, we stand ready to help any company enjoy the highest energy savings without sacrificing performance.

Topics: Air Compressor, air compressor industry, energy

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