Blower efficiency is a justifiable concern during the design and selection of aeration equipment. However, efficiency may not be the most important consideration in aeration blower applications. In many cases the blower with the highest efficiency will not provide the lowest energy consumption! Blower turndown is a parameter that is generally more important than efficiency in optimizing energy use.
The 2019 WEFTEC Technical Exhibition and Conference was held September 23-25 at McCormick Place in Chicago. The event featured 148 technical sessions, 27 workshops, 16 mobile sessions, seven local facility tours and 1,000+ exhibitors. Both Blower & Vacuum Best Practices and Compressed Air Best Practices® Magazines were pleased to be in the literature bins at the 2019 WEFTEC!
Aeration blowers receive a lot of attention from design engineers, suppliers, and end users. That is understandable since blowers account for more than 50 percent of the energy used in a typical wastewater treatment plant (WWTP). They represent “low hanging fruit” for energy conservation measures in wastewater treatment!
Vacuum chucks and holding devices have been used in many industries for a variety of purposes, from lifting packages to holding items for machining. With the introduction of CNC routing machine-tools for mass production (of wood furniture, plastics and other non-magnetic materials), there was a need to clamp-down large work pieces on the flat router tables. Mechanical clamping was not an option as it caused damage to the work pieces and didn’t satisfy the need to quickly place items on the table and clamp instantly.
Multiple vacuum pumps can be running mostly “dead-headed” in the many production systems that don’t require constant flow. Any system that evacuates a small volume and then holds a product down while it is being machined, or sucks a bag shut to seal will spend the majority of its time not moving much mass of air. This type of operation is found everywhere in secondary wood processing, machining, food packaging, and many other industries. Anywhere vacuum is used as a motive force or to evacuate a small volume repeatedly. This article will apply to any of these types of systems- and not apply to constant-flow vacuum applications in the process industries.
ADA Möbelfabrik, headquartered in Anger, Austria, is one of Europe’s largest manufacturers of furniture. Upholstered furniture, beds, mattresses and slatted frames are produced for the Austrian market and for many other European countries in two shifts, using modern manufacturing techniques. The vacuum supply required for securing items to the CNC machining centers is provided via a central vacuum plant produced by Busch. By opting for this vacuum system, ADA has integrated an extremely economical and reliable vacuum supply into the production process.
Yeast fermentation is a vital process in the production of many food and beverage products. It is a common application within breweries, bakeries, and wineries, along with other facilities where biogas and ethanol are produced. In these facilities, fermentation tanks filled with a reaction liquid are often supplied with air from blowers. Recently, there has been a trend in the adoption of high-speed turbo blowers for yeast fermentation applications, as the blower technology can yield large energy savings if properly installed and controlled.
The Ilmajoki sewage treatment plant (STP) located in southern Finland was built in the mid-1970s during a boom of infrastructure construction. Over time, industrial presence in the Ilmajoki area grew, and the plant saw an increase in flow of industrial effluent—or liquid waste and sewage. As the amount of influent increased, the plant was no longer able to meet required performance criteria suffered from a severe lack of oxygen—particularly during peak loading times.
Compressed air audits are valuable exercises on significant energy users in a plant. Often done on main compressed air systems, these studies are also valuable on secondary systems, like dedicated low pressure circuits that feed production machinery. An audit of such a system turned up some surprising results on a process that was initially thought to be very efficient.
When it comes to industrial vacuum pumping applications, whatever material is involved in the process generally gets ingested into the vacuum pump. It’s an inherent issue with any industrial vacuum application, whether it’s simply moisture from inlet air, or something more tangible (i.e. dust, debris, etc.). Harsh vacuum applications — such as those that involve corrosive acids, excessive moisture, or dust particles — can wreak havoc on a vacuum pump’s reliability. This holds especially true for oil-sealed vacuum pumps, rotary vane pumps and piston vacuum pumps.
Air-driven Venturi vacuum generators have long been a viable option for fast-response, localized, vacuum-powered systems. Through the last decade, they were considered convenient and flexible solutions with quick response time. However, they were not regarded as energy efficient, probably due to their use of compressed air. Extensive product development with this equipment — particularly the crucial system accessories — often makes the selection of the most energy-efficient items difficult for many localized operations.