What is vacuum as used in the manufacturing/industrial sector? The clearest answer is – a contained space with gaseous pressures much less than surrounding atmospheric pressure. Atmospheric pressure (ATM) is expressed in many units of measure. At room temperature a cubic foot of contained air at sea level – the random movement and molecular impact on the walls of the containment vessel equal a force of 14.7 psia for every square inch of the walls.
Operating the vacuum system at higher levels (then necessary) affects the needed volumetric flow to compensate for leaks. This required compensation of volume (ACFM) must be added to the nominal production flow demand. The ambient air leak into the system will expand to the highest vacuum level, which is known as the “Expansion Ratio.”
An envelope manufacturer is upgrading their vacuum system to include a new VSD controlled pump. As part of the preparation for the installation, an energy baseline was developed, and leakage survey conducted. The auditor used a newly developed acoustic imaging camera as well as a basic ultrasonic leak detector gun. This article describes what was found and some of the challenges faced in detecting leaks in a busy plant.
A paper machine carefully removes water from the paper sheet. Some of this water removal is done by passing air through the sheet, thus moving the water from the sheet to the wire. Air is moved by creating a pressure differential across the sheet. This is normally done by putting the sheet on a wire and then putting a box under the wire and then evacuating the air from the box. The resistance of the air movement through the sheet and wire causes the pressure drop from the machine room to the box.
Many of us are familiar with sizing vacuum pumps based on throughput, process pressure requirements, chamber size, pump down times, conductance and leakage. In a lot of cases, humidity becomes an afterthought and unexpected things happen. Some of these unexpected things we learn to live with, like emulsified oil. In other cases, the unexpected things prevent the pump from performing the job it was intended for.
Most electric utilities offer customer incentives for implementing energy conservation measures (ECMs) Incentive programs pay customers to use less energy. In some cases they are mandated by legislation and in others the incentives are driven by the utility’s desire to avoid building new generating capacity. Some incentives are based on reduced energy use (kWh) and some are based on lower peak demand (kW).
Aerobic digestion is a common treatment technology used at small-to medium-sized wastewater treatment plants for the treatment of waste activated sludge (WAS). The objective of aerobic digestion is to treat the sludge for disposal, and for those trying to meet Class B biosolids, further reduce volatile solids (VS) and pathogens to ensure the sludge is suitable for land application.
When the plant’s original aeration blowers became costly to operate and newer technology offered the promise of energy-savings, Fuqua took decisive action and replaced the older blowers with high-speed turbo blowers. As a result, the plant saves ratepayers approximately $30,000 per year in energy costs and bolsters the plant’s ability to maintain uptime and achieve extremely clean effluent.
Pneumatic conveying applications are critical to many facilities – when you can’t move material you can’t make or sell your product. Because of a historical lack of availability of specialized rental blowers and air compressors for pneumatic conveying, plants often either accepted the production outage or rented a more readily available two-stage, oil-free rotary screw air compressor designed for 90 to 150 psig plant air service that is very inefficient at the reduced pressures needed for pneumatic conveying.
Vacuum can be used in many ways for the meat processing and packaging industry. From mixing ingredients to evisceration (removing organs, excess fat, bones, etc.), to the washing/preparation of the meats or even in the packaging of the meat itself, vacuum is critical to the industry.
Leidos Engineering, LLC., is responsible for implementing the Wisconsin Focus on Energy® Large Energy Users (LEU) Program in Wisconsin. Blower & Vacuum Best Practices interviewed Leidos Engineering’s Joseph Cantwell, P.E., Senior Energy Management Professional, Focus on Energy – LEU Program, to learn how the firm works with Focus on Energy to help wastewater treatment facilities in the dairy state reduce energy consumption and save costs.